Details are limited at the moment, but a Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II crashed in the overnight hours on Tuesday near Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The pilot was able to eject and is safe. The stealth fighter was flying a routine training mission at the time of the incident.
NEWS RELEASE: An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 58th Fighter Sq crashed upon landing around 9:30 p.m. today @TeamEglin. The pilot successfully ejected and was transported to the 96th Medical Group for evaluation and monitoring. The pilot is in stable condition. Cont.— Eglin Air Force Base (@TeamEglin) May 20, 2020
NEWS RELEASE cont. At the time of the accident, the pilot was participating in a routine night training sortie. First responders from the 96th Test Wing are on the scene and the site is secured. The accident is under investigation. There was no loss of life or damage to civilian— Eglin Air Force Base (@TeamEglin) May 20, 2020
NEWS RELEASE cont. property. The name of the pilot is not being released at this time. Please contact the 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs office @ (850)226-3876 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.— Eglin Air Force Base (@TeamEglin) May 20, 2020
This is the second crash of a stealth aircraft operating out of Eglin Air Force Base in less than a week. A Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor crashed on May 15 at a test and training range 12 miles northeast of the base. The exact cause is still unknown, and the pilot was able to eject safely.
The F-35 crash is the third incident involving the fifth-generation stealth fighter, which has been in production since the mid-2000s.
In 2018, an F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) crashed in South Caroline after a "manufacturing defect caused an engine fuel tube to rupture, resulting in a loss of power to the engine," military reports showed. The $115 million jet was a complete loss, but the pilot managed to eject and survived.
About a year ago, a Japanese F-35A crashed into the Pacific Ocean after the pilot experienced "spatial disorientation" -- government reports showed the pilot made no attempts to eject as the plane slammed into the ocean at 683 mph.