Earlier in the month, a British F-35B ended up crashing into the sea after taking off from HMS Queen Elizabeth. Here’s the footage.

One of the carrier’s F-35B fighters, from 617 Squadron, crashed during operations in the Mediterranean last week. The pilot was able to eject safely.

Britain and America are currently engaged in operations to salvage an F-35B which ditched into the ocean after taking off from HMS Queen Elizabeth.

It is understood that while the point at which the jet entered the sea is known, the aircraft’s wings would have made it glide underwater for a reasonable distance before settling to the bottom of the sea bed.

Operation to recover sunken British F-35 jet ongoing

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“There is an ongoing operation to recover the F-35 jet. I am pleased that our pilot is safe and well. We will investigate what happened.”

According to a report in The Times, Britain has asked the United States to help due to the close proximity of American salvage equipment based in Spain.

F-35 operations are now continuing onboard British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth after one of the jets crashed into the sea after taking off from the ship last week.

The Ministry of Defence said on the day of the crash:

“A British F35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning. The pilot has been safely returned to the ship and an investigation has begun, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

The aircraft carrier and her strike group are on the return leg of a global deployment.

 

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Bob
Bob
1 month ago

That pilot was lucky, could have easily gone under the ship.

Donaldson
Donaldson
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

Did he get snagged on those safety nets then? Report he was picked up by Merlin helicopter so surely he went under the ship?

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Donaldson

Distance from the ship is probably greater than it looks from this perspective.

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
1 month ago

That’s one lucky pilot. Looks like the aircraft was run over or could’ve been by the ship…

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
1 month ago

It looks like the footage has been sped up slightly, look how fast the people on the deck are moving.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

I’m not sure if I am more annoyed that someone though that it was OK to film this or film it and then leak it. Really that should not have happened and everyone on board should know that it is not acceptable. Unless it is an official leak? To soften us all up for the enquiry output? Leak is, of course, an irregular verb. I leak; You give confidential press briefings; He has been charged under section 3a of the Official Secrets Act. It is all very odd. The F35 is moving very slowly onto the bottom of the ski… Read more »

Expat
Expat
1 month ago

It’s reported that the video was captured from video screen or monitor when the incident was played back using a mobile and not filmed directly. What it tells us is the jet is largely intact due to the low impact speed which is great info to supply our adversaries. They now know large parts of the jet are salvageable so this was not an intended leak.

Last edited 1 month ago by Expat
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

Clearly filmed from a monitor and not onboard either. Hence the awful quality.

I’m still not so sure this isn’t deliberate official leaking. In a funny way the awful resolution speaks to that: you can’t really see anything detailed.

If the MOD don’t deny it then it can be inferred it was an official leak….

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago

To prevent disinformation I expect.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Precisely – a little real information to nix some of the silly rumours.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Looking at the MOD press statements today there is nothing at all to suggest displeasure with the leak.

“Too early to comment” is pretty anodyne stuff.

Steve M
Steve M
1 month ago

Probably some MP given playback access as part of a ‘committee’ and one of their dogooder staff decided to prove how important they are, not having a clue as what security means or entails. I thought i read on earlier article that pilot had said new was not enough thrust and tried to abort the takeoff which explains the deceleration at jump, just ran out of deck and had oh f*ck monment. Find it hard with all the walkarounds etc that an engine cover could be missed ‘they are red for a reason’ but also how did pilot not notice… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve M

It has to be something obvious otherwise the fleet would have been grounded?

Humphrey Appleby
Humphrey Appleby
20 days ago

Excellent points. Good use of the Yes Prime Minister quote too by the way.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
15 days ago

Sir Humphrey, I am pleased that you are pleased that I quoted young Bernard accurately.

Although, with the passage of time and an arrest, some of my comments might appear wide of the mark?

Tim Brown
Tim Brown
1 month ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

I suggest they’re running… you don’t stroll under such circumstances!

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

How the pilot got away with that ,more then Lucky 😊

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
1 month ago

Rain cover left on. Result. No thrust slow take off speed etc. Thats an expensive and embarrasing mistake.

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

The quality of the video is poor, how can you tell?

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Which rain cover?

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago

Can’t say I agree with this footage being made available, or it being shared while investigations are on-going. And no I haven’t watched it.

Knight7572
Knight7572
1 month ago

Apparently this footage is ‘classified’

Challenger
Challenger
1 month ago

That pilot is seriously lucky to escape in one piece. Could have so easily been hit by the vessel. Looks like the aircraft itself could well have been run-over as it hit the surface.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

It’s never ceased to amaze me the line between life and death, how one person ends up dead from the most mundane thing ( death by getting off a dental chair or walking through a door, choking on a custard cream etc) vs the person who somehow lives or comes out with minor injuries through the most insanely deadly situations ( sometimes while actually trying to kill themselves: the person who jumped off a bridge and is then run over by an 8 carriage commuter train without a scratch, the biker who somehow walks into ED with only a bruise… Read more »

Sean
Sean
1 month ago

That pilot had a very lucky escape, although it proves the automatic ejection system, if the aircraft isn’t going to achieve flight, works.
As for the blame for the rain-cover being left on, I’m sure the RN enquiry will identify what went wrong; individual or systemic failure or both in not ensuring it was removed.
(Though I’m sure the conspiracy theorists will disagree – we seem to have a glut of them at the moment 🤦‍♂️)

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago

Is the engine not run up to full power prior to any take off movement? How was the obvious lack of thrust not detected? The aircraft barely makes it up the ramp before virtually tipping over the edge…..I’m really surprised it easn’t struck by the ship?

Chris rebel
Chris rebel
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

It looks like taking off with the brakes on.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris rebel

It certainly looks like an attempted abort which means a sudden loss of power in the early moments of the run I presume. The fact that the aircraft were not grounded does suggest a human error be it cover or otherwise, or at least something non mechanical that was recognised almost immediately, so someone I’m sure is in a lot of bother.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

As I understand it the F35 is mostly automatic on take off. So limited scope for pilot error.

BB85
BB85
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Yeah it seems bizarre the aircraft is barely picking up speed at all so for all the sensors and monitoring systems on the aircraft why was it not flashing warning signs everywhere before attempting the launch.
Also shouldn’t the aircraft take a longer run up to the sky jump so that if an issue is spotted they have the opportunity to abort.

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

The pilot recognised the problem and tried to stop the aircraft launching but ran out of runway. Hence the slow motion tip over the flightdeck.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

They do perform power checks before takeoff. So if somthing was wrong, the take-off would have been aborted. So everything would have been fine when the pilot released the brakes. Then somthing has gone badly wrong. Maybe injested fod from a parked aircraft? These aircraft accelerate extremely quickly, so it’s a lot of momentum to try and stop if they try to aborted the take-off moments after brake release and full power has been applied.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Will there be a courts martial for who left the covers on?

Expat
Expat
1 month ago

Could have been a cover from another jet detached and was injested.

Richard B
Richard B
1 month ago

Doubtful. At the moment it seems unlikely that an officer has potentially broken Queen’s Regulations Royal Navy or committed some other wrongdoing / negligence that led to the loss of a ship (rather than an aircraft). Although, given the value of the F-35B, maybe the rules need to be changed. But it is safe to assume that the careers of several rating/senior rates/ junior officers are not going to be helped by this accident. I love to know the views of the US Marines of VMFA-211 – were the Brits still too inexperienced, was training inadequate, were corners being cut,… Read more »

Chris rebel
Chris rebel
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard B

Sortie rate is probably too high. Scrambling for Russian jets half a dozen times a day wears the crews down.

Solution is more airplanes and more crew.

Richard B
Richard B
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris rebel

Yes. I was actually slightly concerned when Commodore Steve Moorhouse said that during the deployment QE had demonstrated that she was able to sustain flying ops around the clock (with 75% a/c serviceability), whilst a US carrier can only manage 16-18 hours a day. QE is lean manned with a small airgroup, and even when off duty the constant background noise can lead to poor sleep and exhaustion after a few days.

BB85
BB85
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris rebel

Heathrow manages 100s of flights a day without catastrophic errors, the sortie rate is not too high when there is only 18 aircraft. If the high number of sorties per aircraft was placing too much strain on them and the jet was responsible for the failure the F35B’s would have been grounded. If the rain covers where not removed then the flight crew responsible and pilot are guilty of gross negligence and can’t be trusted again.

Knight7572
Knight7572
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard B

yeah when the British screw-up, they do it in such a way that people notice as this is the 1st F-35 loss on a deployment

The US Navy and F-35 operators will take notice

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Knight7572

I recall that several US F35s have been lost already. Currently the cause of the loss is speculation not fact. Also people loose planes to accidents thats just a face. If the US had more F35s at sea they may loose planes too.

Knight7572
Knight7572
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

yeah but those weren’t on a deployment

Hermes
Hermes
1 month ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Deployment or training, you can lose a plane everywhere.

Just be happy about the pilot and everyone being safe.

As for the US, they are not really the first to come when I think about security and quality of maintenance.

Esteban
Esteban
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

The RN must have immediately known what caused the crash as they never paused flight ops. They naturally wanted to disclose the cause after the big deployment to avoid more bad publicity. Interestingly enough the US has deployed 35B’s at sea for several years now. Including a bigger component than the RN on the British flagship. Yes, more will be lost. It is dangerous work.

Sonik
Sonik
1 month ago
Reply to  Esteban

Agree, it’s better to ‘disclose’ it, with video ‘evidence’ to show it’s an obvious FU (i.e. human error, which happens always) than let people guess and speculate what technical deficiency might otherwise be responsible.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard B

The range of people dragged into the investigation of the Bonhomme Richard has been quite something.

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard B

I suspect the problem is one of process. The F-35 was on QRA as they were entering the Eastern Med with lots of Russian air activity. The pilot will have taken off at short notice. However there will have been a number of points in the process of preparing the flight where this could have been averted. Given the length of CSG21 deployment they should have been pretty exeprienced by now, however the danger zone in any deployment is when you are nearing home towards the end and the team psychology relaxes. There will be a review and probably siginificant… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
DRS
DRS
1 month ago

Don’t think we should link directly to the video here even if it is published. Read somewhere that the covers are perfect something soft to perch on when you are inspecting further into the engine. In which case it may have been left in one of the intakes flat and thus not seen when doing a visual inspection. Not sure if this is true and if the intakes are wide enough to take. A smallish person for inspection? if it was left flat than perhaps until going at full pelt it didn’t get dislodged and then impacted the engine performance.… Read more »

Hermes
Hermes
1 month ago
Reply to  DRS

“F35B crash” on youtube and you have already a lot of video of it.

So, link here the video is not really a problem…

We dont see anything really important on the video except the fact the pilot is fucking lucky and the F35 has a lack of speed.

JohnH
JohnH
1 month ago
Reply to  DRS

I’d have a question as to where the covers are put when the aircraft is prepared for deployment & what is the process for checking all the covers have been removed. If as you suggest there is a possibility the cover can be left in the intake unseen, then the answer would surely be that the covers are placed in a storage jig of some description where the absence of a cover is obvious (say a yellow “socket” vs red cover in “socket”). This could be something that is brought onto the flight deck during prep and moved off after… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

There are plenty of examples from WW2 and later of aircraft failing to take off, going under the ship and the pilot recued after his passage under the ship. Brave fellows.

Obviously there is no thrust in the engine so it either mechanically broke or it ingested something off the flight deck or a bird.

Knight7572
Knight7572
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Yeah and the most famous is the crash on 13th October 1954 a Westland Wyvern TF.2 VZ783 crashed on takeoff from HMS Albion

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
1 month ago
Reply to  Knight7572

http://plane-crazy.k-hosting.co.uk/Aircraft/Props/Wyvern/westland_wyvern.html

This page details that ditching, also that Albion cut the aircraft in 2.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

I seem to remember veteran pilots saying that they would angle slightly off the bore line asap to avoid any ditching directly in front of a carrier. Whether that’s possible these days with fast jets I don’t know though one thing is for sure this guy didn’t have much opportunity in that regard.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

You have to take off square on a ski jump – if you hit it at an angle you create a rotational moment.

Max Jones
Max Jones
1 month ago

Must have been a pretty horrifying experience for the pilot, particularly if he went under the ship first.

Shame about the jet – it was moving so slowly as well, almost avoided.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago

Woah the pilot was lucky. It’ll be interesting to know what happenned after he hit the sea. I remember one story from the run up to Suez that a Sea Hawk Pilot ditched on take off and was struck by the ship. They knew this because there was a big old dent in his helmet ! He went on to fly in the Suez campaign and survived.

Knight7572
Knight7572
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

that was a Westland Wyvern TF.2

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Have tried to find where I read it but can’t find it. Feel sure it happened much closer to war than 1954 but i’ll agree with you. 

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

It definitely happened with Sea Hawks on Eagle in ’56 or thereabouts. I recall the same bloke being run over twice by the carrier (or near enough) – on the first occasion, he was almost hit by a destroyer as well. He was involved in three crashes in the space of a few months.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Thanks. LOL sounds like the same bloke. It would help if I could remember in which book I read about it but gonna let it go.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Was it “Bit of a Tiff”?

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

No haven’t got that one. At the minute big fan of David Hobbs so I assume I read it in his British Aircraft Carriers but tried to find where and gave up. Loved Sharkey Wards about flying SHARS in S. Atlantic. Both spiky characters !

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Agreed!

TabYomper
TabYomper
1 month ago

If its rain covers left on then the staff involved need sacking with no pensions.Carrier crew or pilot who are both supposed to do the checks they need to go.Millions of pounds down the drain if thats what it is.Knowing the MOD to us that have experienced cover ups will not admit to that.And its good for the military for people to leak this to stop cover ups.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  TabYomper

Bit harsh. Would also leave us short of highly trained people

Martin
Martin
1 month ago

I follow this site daily and find it excellent. Have to say though, it’s a wrong call publishing this. I know it’s doing the rounds anyway but even so……..

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

If the video was only being posted on Twitter or fringe news sites I might agree, but this is on mainstream news websites and apps (BBC and Sky News). That being the case there is no reason why UKDJ shouldn’t publish it too.

Marius
Marius
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Seconded.

Hermes
Hermes
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

You are right, it’s already everywhere.

Marius
Marius
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin

UKDJ right to publish this. It’s all over social and other media sites. The truth must out and justice must follow this appalling lack of basic oversight by whomever – single and collective.

Angus
Angus
1 month ago

His life saved but his career could be out the window. Flight Deck team, missed it and so did he when he did is walk around. Double fault.
Air OPs at sea are always intense and the CVS’s could generate a full days flying with limited assets that but the US to shame many a time. It is the way the RN does business.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

I keep wondering if Jeremy Quinn, the minister for defence procurement is regretting his wording on F-35s to the select committee: “We have committed to have 48 in service by 2025”.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

It is no surprise with limited jets facing far too many Russian jets the crew was put at risk for being overstretched. The Russians would now know what puts British carriers under pressure and take advantage of weakness. I think they already knew that hence why they sent more aircraft towards HMS Queen Elizabeth. The ministry of defence and government are responsible for the lack of jets and tiny destroyers availability. Many forget how HMS diamond in the Pacific had to leave the carrier group due to mechanical problems and now this .

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  James

We shall see if he has the stones to simply order a replacement.

Tony
Tony
1 month ago

Serious question: is there insurance for this kind of thing?

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony

Simple answer is no.

Hermes
Hermes
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony

Yes of course.
The state itself.

George
George
1 month ago

Hi folks hope all is well.
Very strange, why was it so slow at the start of take off? Hopefully we will see the end product of the investigation. Do any of you consider deliberate sabotage by a crew member?
Cheers
George

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  George

Ha! I’ve just shown my old dad the footage and he said the same thing.

Surely not.

Whlgrubber
Whlgrubber
1 month ago

That was £100M incompetence by both the ground crew and the pilot. My God, may as well have left the intake blanks in. Bet there’s a few badges leaving uniforms.!!!!

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Whlgrubber

They’ve just shown this here on the news here in Sydney last night. Probably gone around the world. It all seemed to be in pretty slow motion. Not sure why the brakes couldn’t have been applied while crawling on the ramp. You’d know that you don’t have enough thrust to get up and off prior wouldn’t you? Maybe not easy as we might think.
When is the CSG due back in the UK? It must be quite soon.

Poul Bjerrum
Poul Bjerrum
1 month ago

Lack of thrust.