An F-35A Lightning assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron has crashed upon landing, say the U.S. Air Force.

The crash occurred on May the 19th and the pilot successfully ejected. The pilot was then transported to the 96th Medical Group Hospital for evaluation and monitoring.

“The pilot is in stable condition. At the time of the accident, the pilot was participating in a routine night training sortie. First responders from the 96th Test Wing were on the scene and the site has been secured. The accident is under investigation. There was no loss of life or damage to civilian property. The name of the pilot is not being released this time.”

There have been 520 F-35 jets built and the type first took flight 13 years ago. This is the third crash of an F-35 aircraft.

The first crash occurred in September 2018 involving a USMC F-35B 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 the 11th of October pending a fleet-wide inspection of the tubes. The next day, most F-35s returned to flight status following the inspection.

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Its not an unusual thing for fighter aircraft to crash, it’s why they have ejector seats. In their design there is a trade off between risk and performance in the understanding that if it goes wrong then the pilot can get out. That’s why testing for civilian aircraft is far more extensive and intrusive than it is on military aircraft, there is no plan B if it goes wrong.


The US has seemingly lost a F-22 a few days early on a training exercise as well… Thankfully both pilots appear to have ejected safely.

Nigel Collins

That’s the main thing. Aircraft can be replaced, but not in the case of the F-22 unfortunately.


Was the f22 lost or could it be patched up? It wasn’t that badly damaged was it.


Bit late with this!!!


I don’t know if it’s changed but the rule of thumb was 1/3rd of a purchase of a combat aircraft was to cover for accidents & attrition.

Steve R

Accidents, battle attrition and general rotation of planes to ensure that the wear and tear on airframes is spread out. Thats part of the problem with such small RAF fast jet numbers; we have around 140 Typhoons and out of that 40-50 will be in either storage or maintenance, leaving 90-100 for active duty. Out of those come 12 for the OCU and a similar number for the OEU, so in terms of frontline aircraft we have maybe 70-80. And out of those, 2 are QRA permanently posted in the UK, so only 5 squadrons/60 planes available for operations. Not… Read more »


Not one typhoon has ever crashed according to forces dot net.
Against this apparently 51% attrition rate for Scimitars.

Paul T

In RAF service one Typhoon was written off due to a Wheels up Landing, Saudi, Spanish and Italian Typhoons have been lost due to crashes over its service life.


The joy of having two engines!


The UK mishap aside. What where the others running away from?


Thank you, but the point of comparison is the high attrition rate of older model of aircraft. New planes are very expensive but more reliable, as a result they are rotated round and serviced and maintained and updated.


Aircraft have a calculated service life when purchased, something like 40,000 flying hours for example, before the stress on the airframe is such that it will need refurbishing or replacing. You then try and rotate the aircraft assigned to missions to keep the overall flying age of a particular aircraft close to the average.


Thanks Watcher & Steve. Just an interested and supportive amateur – your knowledge and expertise, along with others like Dan, is always helpful. I should say, though, that my grandad was a farrier sargent in Flashman’s regiment !

Nigel Collins

Does anyone know if a replacement airframe to test the F-35B full three lifetimes has been given the go-ahead?. “The Marines’ F-35B structural test airframe proved unable to complete the three lifetimes of testing. According to the 2018 report, Joint Program Office officials suspended tests on that airframe in 2017 after its second lifetime when they found the necessary patches and modifications were so extensive that the airframe was “no longer representative of the wing-carry-through structure” of the aircraft coming off the assembly line. Shockingly, there are no plans to procure a replacement airframe to test the F-35B to the… Read more »

Robert Blay

Yet another F35 bashing website with a 14 month old article, only repating what you want to hear. Concentrate on what capabilities this aircraft will bring to the UK, because it’s going to be around for a very long time like it or not. The RAF 2020 official Annual Review magazine has a very informative article about what this aircraft means to the future of Britain’s combat air capabilitys, explained by the pilots who fly it.

Nigel Collins

In answer to my question, does anyone know if a replacement airframe to test the F-35B full three lifetimes has been given the go-ahead?


Certainly the Lockheed test pilot (Billie Flynn) says that the criticisms that were made in 2019 about the B and C over its alleged limitations over its use of supersonic speeds and stealth coverings (?) was totally wrong.
Continuing he says … in precis –
They were tests, as one would expect, to test the extremes. Tests from 2011. It involved special sensitive testing of internal impacts and “imperceptible damage”.
Not reflective of the real world.

This is on “Defense News” May22 (presumably this year)

Nigel Collins

In relation to capabilities, start thinking seven years from now before it will be of any real use. And that’s if the Block 4 software is fully functional by then. Meteor, the new version of ASRAAM and Spear 3 all require Block 4 software to operate from the F-35B. 13 May 2020 “The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II’s modernisation is two years behind schedule and its cost has risen by $1.5 billion. The Block 4 upgrade – a modernisation of the relatively new stealth fighter’s software and hardware – was initially to be delivered by 2024, but now will not… Read more »

Robert Blay

It’s capabilities go much further then the ordnance types it carries today. So to say it isn’t of any real use until block 4, is a tad short sighted. That’s like saying the Typhoon wasn’t of any use until project centurion. Regardless, Hope you are keeping well Nigel, it’s been abit short on interesting defence news lately with COVID dominating everything. 👍

Nigel Collins

Likewise, Robert, I hope this finds you well too. The biggest mistake we made was to design a carrier-based around one type of aircraft the F-35B. Installing EMALS will end up being more expensive than the cost of the carriers no doubt so we will have to wait and see how this all pans out. On a personal note, limiting the amount of F-35s we purchase until 20206 would be a wise decision and spending the money in the meantime on additional Typhoons with useful upgrade packages along with some decent anti-ship missiles for the fleet. We will have a… Read more »

Robert Blay

One thing we can agree on, more Typhoons. Even a relatively small tranche 3B order would help our mass until the F35 fleet builds up, and we have a clear number of how many F35’s we eventually order beyond the 48 already purchased. And a clear road map for Tempest. Of course, everything is now up in the air, and the economic impact of COVID will effect everything for many years i feel. We may decide cyder defence, and global pandemics are a far greater threat then any warship, or fleets of fast jets. who knows 🤷‍♂️


Another member of the Martin Baker Ejector Seat survival club will be getting their commemorative tie, soon.

Simon Lees

They also get a special Bremont watch.

Steve Taylor

Modern aircraft are so complex it is wonder they fly. Old aircraft use to be so simple it was a wonder they flew.

Pilot got out that’s all that matters.

Personally I blame gravity.


I blame the EU Steve 🤪


My understanding is that older types were in fact unreliable.


I wonder how hard it would be to make the f35 fly itself, it’s not far off it and isn’t human error a huge factor in allot of crashes anyway, drone f35s would be great.

Nigel Collins

Tempest will have a pilot commanding a small fleet of drones.

It’s interesting to see how the cockpit of the future might look.

Nigel Collins

Posted the wrong way round sorry!

Lockheed’s Palmdale, California-based Advanced Development Programmes organisation – better known as the Skunk Works – has developed concepts for both optionally piloted and dedicated unmanned versions of the F-35. The unmanned version has extra fuel in place of the cockpit.

Steve H

And here comes all the haters….. all the “we said it was a crap aircraft”. These people don’t have a Scooby, the F-35… is a fantastic multirole aircraft and to be honest, nobody should be speculating about the cause of the crash until we have the evidence.
The other thing is…….. its not been operational for that long, with only around 500 built and its constantly being upgraded so some things are are new and relatively untested.