On June 8th, an F-35A’s fighter jet’s landing gear collapsed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
The aircraft was returning from a routine training flight when the incident took place.
The pilot, part of the 388th Fighter Wing, was able to exit the aircraft and is undergoing a medical evaluation.
Safety investigators will look into the incident, Hill Public Affairs Director Thomas Mullican said in an email.
“In response to the incident, the runway is currently closed and aircraft from Hill AFB in flight at the time of the incident have been diverted to other airports,” Mullican said. “Additional training flights have been paused until the runway reopens.”
This is yet another issue with the F-35 fighter jet, the offspring of the most expensive military program of all time.
This crash is the third time such a fighter jet crashes, following a US Air Force’s F-35A crashing at Eglin Air Force Base back in May 2020.
At the same airbase, a F-35A suffered a nose landing gear failure upon landing at Eglin AFB on August 22nd, 2018 with only sustaining minor damage.
There’s several other, older, issues on F-35s dating back to 2014 such as other nose landings, as well as engine fires at Eglin AFB.
In 2019, a Japanese F-35A crashed into the Pacific Ocean off northern Japan.
An investigative report published by the JASDF concluded that “spatial disorientation” on the part of the pilot and not any mechanical failure caused the accident on April 9th.
The August 9th report didn’t not elaborate on how JASDF investigators and outside experts reached their conclusion. The interim report published in June relied exclusively on pilots’ testimonies and data and communication received by ground controllers.
A Japanese search team managed to recover parts of the F-35A’s flight data; however, it was reportedly too heavily damaged to yield any data about the cause of the accident.
The first ever F-35 crash, but it happened on a F-35B took place on September 28th, 2018, near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina; the pilot ejected safely.
The cause of the crash was attributed to a faulty fuel tube; all F-35s were grounded on October 11th pending a fleet-wide inspection of the tubes. They were returned to duty on the next day.
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