It has been nearly two weeks since a British F-35B crashed while operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth in the eastern Mediterranean.
From the UK’s official team, there is little information about any findings made in the investigation into the crash, which fortunately the pilot did well.
However, the fact that the F-35 aircraft continued to fly as normal from the carrier shortly after the crash, suggests that critical factors have been identified and almost no inherent weakness of the aircraft type has been identified.
On Monday afternoon, the public also became more aware of the circumstances around when the UK lost their first F-35B, in live image form:
It looks like someone has used a cell phone camera to record a PC screen showing footage from one of the ship’s surveillance cameras.
From the video image, it appears the F-35B’s engine first accelerates and then loses speed as it reaches an incline. The plane was never airborne, and the pilot fired when the plane was on the “edge of the jump”.
Below is a comparison video of the F-35B operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth a few days after the crash.
F-35Bs from the US VMFA-211 and UK 617 Squadron operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth days after the crash in the Mediterranean. Photo: CSG21
A spokesman for the UK Ministry of Defence said late Monday they were aware that the video was circulating online, but it was too early to say anything about the causes that contributed to the crash.
According to UK MOD on Monday, the wreck has still not been lifted from the sea, and rescue operations are still ongoing.
In response to a video showing the F-35 crash after launch from HMS Queen Elizabeth earlier this month, a Ministry of Defense spokesman said:
“We are aware of the video circulating online. It is too early to comment on the potential causes of this incident.”
—Henry Jones (@hthjones) November 29, 2021
Fifth F-35 missing
This is the fifth copy of the F-35 that crashed:
USMC F-35B crashed on September 28 2018, Japanese F-35A crashed into the sea on April 9 2019, a US Air Force F-35A crashed on landing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida on May 19, 2020, and USMC F- 35B crashed on September 29, 2020 after coming into contact with the tanker KC-130J in connection with aerial refueling over California.
Shortly after the first total crash, it became clear that the trigger was a manufacturing fault in the fuel pipe. A US Marine Corps F-35B plane crashed about 50 kilometers southwest of Charleston in South Carolina. Even then, the pilots did well.
Not so with the experienced Japanese pilot who crashed 135 kilometers east of Misawa airport in 2019. Here, the investigation later concluded that a phenomenon called “spatial disorientation”, or sensory illusion in Norwegian, may have been a factor in his loss. .control and fly straight to the sea.
This is the only fatal crash with the F-35. The pilot at Eglin in May 2020 managed to shoot himself. Pilots aboard an F-35B over California did the same in October 2020, while the crew of the Hercules burped on board their plane unharmed.
The F-35B is the STOVL (“short takeoff/vertical landing”) version of a fighter that can land vertically, but with weapons and full fuel tanks initially having to take off conventionally.
The aircraft is also capable of taking off vertically with a limited amount of fuel. The so-called VTO capacity is required for short-haul transport where the nature of the terrain is such that the aircraft cannot perform short takeoffs.
While US carriers have a flat deck, where they use the F-35C, the UK and Italy have ramps at the end of the runway on their ships. The purpose of the “jump jump” is to provide a fighter aircraft takeoff assistance and help it carry more payload on the available runway than if it were flat.
Japan is also in the process of building ramps on two multi-role fighters “Izumu” and “Kaga”, so they are ready to take on the first of 42 F-35B orders planned for 2024.
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