F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

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F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#1 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Sep 18, 2023 3:13 am

F-35 Pilot Ejects Over Charleston, Ends Up at a House for Help

https://avgeekery.com/f-35-pilot-ejects ... -for-help/

A Marine Corps F-35B pilot safely ejected from his stealth fighter jet this afternoon next to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. Details are few as of now, but base PA has confirmed the incident.

Radio chatter said the pilot ejected at just a few thousand feet above the ground, with last radar contact a few miles northeast of Lake Moultrie. The pilot made it out safely, and then showed up a few miles away in a backyard of a residential neighborhood in North Charleston. The weather was horrible at the time of the accident, but unclear if that played any part.

The pilot was sent to a local hospital to be checked out. His wingman landed in another F-35 back to Joint Base Charleston.

The pilot and jet are based out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina. Operating with VMFAT-501 with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

No smoke has been reported, which would be an obvious sign that a jet went down. There are no reports of property damage either, so the jet may be at the bottom of the lake. As of now, the jet has not been located.

We will update as more details come out

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#2 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Sep 18, 2023 3:29 am

US Air Force asks if anyone has seen missing F-35 fighter jet after pilot ejects
Officials have asked the public for help in a hunt for a missing F-35 fighter jet after the Marine pilot ejected while flying over South Carolina

Maybe they should put its picture on a milk carton. :ymdevil:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/h ... r-30964857

Military officials have asked the public to help in the search for a missing fighter jet after its pilot was forced to eject.

US Air Force investigators are attempting to locate the F-35 jet, which was flying over South Carolina at the time the Marine pilot made his swift exit.

The airman, based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, was found alive and transported to a nearby medical centre. After the ejection, he parachuted to the ground - but the location of his $150million warplane remains a mystery.

It was last seen in the skies above North Charleston. The pilot of an accompanying fighter jet safely landed at Joint Base Charelston.

"If you have any information on the whereabouts of the F-35, please call our Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600," Joint Base Charleston said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Additionally, the joint base states that it is collaborating with the Marine Corps and the Federal Aviation Administration to locate the concerned F-35. The area around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, to the north of the joint base, is said to be the focus.

The incident was the sixth class-A accident this fiscal year, which amounts to a fatality or damage over £1,721,060 in damages
Based on the jet’s last-known position and in coordination with the FAA, we are focusing our attention north of JB Charleston, around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion,"

Several units of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing are housed at the Marine Corps Air Station at Beaufort, which is located about 35 miles to the southwest of Charleston.

This includes the F-35B Lightning II-flying Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501. The 6,900 acre site has 4,700 military personnel and uses a massive combat area to test its air defense.

It also contains a ground-to-air combat area, which is located in Georgia's McIntosh County. A highly decorated Marine Corps pilot who lived there died last month when his combat aircraft crashed during a training mission close to a base in San Diego.
.

According to Task & Purpose, that incident was the first to involve a Marine Corps plane and the sixth Class-A aviation accident in the current fiscal year—defined as damage over $2 million or a fatality.

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#3 Post by Karearea » Mon Sep 18, 2023 3:33 am

PHXPhlyer wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2023 3:29 am

Maybe they should put its picture on a milk carton. :ymdevil:
My first thought was of them maybe peeping over people's hedges asking "please may we have our aircraft back?" :))
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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#4 Post by OneHungLow » Mon Sep 18, 2023 5:44 am

I assume that the jet was not equipped with a an ELT so as not to make the aircraft too easy to locate by unfriendly powers. No doubt every Russian and Chinese spy in the USA has been booked into motels in around the search area.
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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#5 Post by OneHungLow » Mon Sep 18, 2023 8:38 am

OneHungLow wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2023 5:44 am
I assume that the jet was not equipped with a an ELT so as not to make the aircraft too easy to locate by unfriendly powers. No doubt every Russian and Chinese spy in the USA has been booked into motels in around the search area.
I suppose I should put a disclaimer on that comment and say "was not equipped with an automatic ELT, i.e. one that comes on automatically after a certain G force is encountered". It is quite likely that a stealth aircraft's ELT could be enabled manually or remotely. post crash.

Two lakes north of Charleston seem to be the focal point of the search...
Based on the missing plane’s location and trajectory, the search for the F-35 Lightning II jet was focused on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, said Senior Master Sergeant Heather Stanton at Joint Base Charleston. Both lakes are north of North Charleston.
I wonder what the regulations are ref. having the transponder on reference an F-35 on a training exercise in a designated training area?

The US rules ref. the use of ELT's in U.S. civil airplane category aircraft are pretty clear... not so the regs. relating to military aircraft.

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#6 Post by CharlieOneSix » Mon Sep 18, 2023 11:09 am

I have no knowledge on what is or isn't fitted to an F-35 but surely it would have had an underwater sonar locator beacon fitted so that a searching ship or boat could receive its active pings. I think ours were attached to the CVR as in this photo. I seem to remember that in the case of AF447 the batteries on the sonar locator beacon expired long before they found the aircraft.
CVR Sonar Locator Beacon.jpg
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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#7 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Sep 18, 2023 2:16 pm

This reinforces the the effectiveness of stealth aircraft.

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#8 Post by Boac » Mon Sep 18, 2023 2:22 pm

This is taking on the mantle of a farce. According to 'The Drive', the aircraft was on autopilot when the pilot left it, so the search needs to be conducted along the line of its original flight path and at the limit of its fuel, (unless something else went wrong!) Did the pilot forget to close down the motor, or perhaps didn't actually mean to eject?? Got bored? Ran out of comics to read? Bizarre.

Not the first time by any means an a/c has flown on after the piot left it. I recall in RAF Germany, battle flight were scrambled to try and shoot down an 'uncrewed' fighter that was heading for the baddies.

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#9 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Sep 18, 2023 2:33 pm

U.S. asks for help finding missing F-35 fighter jet after pilot ejects during 'mishap'
The jet was left in autopilot mode so there’s a possibility it could still be airborne somewhere over South Carolina, a spokesman at Joint Base Charleston told NBC News.


Automated inflight refueling? :-o :ymdevil:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/f- ... rcna105534

A U.S. fighter jet’s stealth abilities appear to be working too well, with authorities forced to ask the public for help finding an F-35 that went missing somewhere over South Carolina when the pilot ejected because of a “mishap.”

Joint Base Charleston, an air base in North Charleston, said it was working with Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to "locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap" Sunday afternoon.

The pilot was able to safely eject from the aircraft, an F-35B Lightning II jet, and was taken to a local medical center in stable condition, it said in a Facebook post around 5:35 p.m. ET.

The jet was left in autopilot mode when the pilot ejected from the aircraft, so there’s a possibility it could still be airborne, Jeremy Huggins, a spokesman at Joint Base Charleston, told NBC News over the phone.

However, he said, searchers were focusing their attention north of the air base around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion based on the jet's last-known position and coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Asked whether that meant that officials believed the jet could have crashed, Huggins said he was unable to elaborate, but that more information would be forthcoming. The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The circumstances that prompted the pilot to eject from the aircraft were not immediately clear.

The incident attracted some criticism, with Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., asking in a social media post: "How in the hell do you lose an F-35?"

"How is there not a tracking device and we’re asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in?" she wrote.

The jet’s transponder, which usually helps locate the aircraft, was not working “for some reason that we haven’t yet determined,” The Washington Post reported, citing Huggins. Huggins said he was unable to confirm that detail as of early Monday.

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin describes the F-35 series on its website as the "most advanced fighter jet in the world," as well as the "most lethal, stealthy and survivable aircraft."

The F-35 family includes three single-seat variants, including the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing jet, the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant and the F-35C carrier.



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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#10 Post by OneHungLow » Mon Sep 18, 2023 2:34 pm

The incident attracted some criticism, with Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., asking in a social media post: "How in the hell do you lose an F-35?"
Quite easily I would have thought given that they are designed not to be found... :))

Will he have to pay for the loss of the aircraft, +- $80 million (lots of pennies from his piggy bank), a bit like my brother was threatened with when he managed to reverse his truck into the tail of an SAAF C130 in Bloemfontein back in the glory days of SADF conscription! =))

Edited to say the C130 was not a write off at all and in the end after a court of enquiry, my brother was completely exonerated after a few stressful weeks for him.
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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#11 Post by Boac » Mon Sep 18, 2023 3:25 pm

I guess they never thought through how to find a 'stealth' aircraft if it went missing =))

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#12 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Sep 18, 2023 9:52 pm

Marine Corps leader orders safety stand-down of all aircraft after F-35 disappearance
Any Marine aircraft deployed abroad or with imminent missions can delay the order briefly, but all are expected to stand down for two days this week.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ma ... rcna105602

WASHINGTON — All Marine Corps aircraft, inside and outside the U.S., were grounded Monday after a stealth F-35 jet mysteriously disappeared in South Carolina, according to an order issued by Gen. Eric Smith, the acting commandant of the Marines.

Marine aircraft deployed abroad or with imminent missions can delay the order briefly but are expected to stand down for two days this week, officials said.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the pause in operations would allow units “to discuss aviation safety matters and best practices.” Marine leadership will use the stand down "to ensure the service is maintaining operational standardization of combat-ready aircraft with well-prepared pilots and crews.”

“During the safety stand down, aviation commanders will lead discussions with their Marines focusing on the fundamentals of safe flight operations, ground safety, maintenance and flight procedures, and maintaining combat readiness,” the statement said.

The Marines and Joint Base Charleston, an air base in North Charleston, South Carolina, were working Sunday to locate an F-35B Lightning II jet — with a price tag of about $80 million — after the pilot safely ejected from the aircraft. He was in stable condition Monday at a medical center, a spokesperson for the air base said.

Two defense officials said Monday that although the jet was on autopilot when the pilot ejected, it would no longer be airborne because it does not have the range or ability to fly for such a long period without refueling.

It had not yet been located Monday, and it remained unclear what caused the pilot to eject.

Retired Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, a former NATO supreme allied commander and F-16 pilot, said the military maintains a "very structured approach to an accident investigation." He noted that a stand down is not unusual after such an incident.

The Marines will likely create an investigatory body to immediately start gathering evidence and a longer-term group of aircraft investigators will tackle the larger scope of human, operational and maintenance factors, he said.

"Once they interview the pilot, we'll pretty much know everything," said Breedlove, who is a trained aircraft investigator. "Since he lived, there's no use in the conjecture piece of this. They'll know exactly what happened very quickly, and I would caution everybody wait rather than get speculating."

Breedlove emphasized that the F-35 has a "phenomenal" safety record.

The decision to stand-down all aircraft also comes after two deadly Marine Corps crashes last month. An F-18 pilot died during a training flight near San Diego, and three Marines died and more were wounded when an Osprey crashed off the coast of Australia. The Pentagon noted the two previous accidents in its statement Monday.

Joint Base Charleston said in a statement that it was coordinating its search efforts with the Marines and the Navy. It was also working with the FAA, Civil Air Patrol and local law enforcement across South Carolina, using "both ground and air assets" to aid in the search.

The jet belongs to one of the training squadrons in the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, the major East Coast aviation unit of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“The search-and-recovery efforts for the aircraft are ongoing, and we are thankful to the agencies assisting in this effort,” Capt. Joe Leitner, the spokesperson for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, said. “The mishap is currently under investigation.”

It remains unclear why the Marines and federal authorities have been unable to track the aircraft, which carries some of the most elite technology and software procured by the federal government. That has rankled some members of Congress who have criticized the cost of the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon's most expensive weapon system program to date.

"I think the problem with tracking it is it's stealthy — it's supposed to be invisible," said Mark Cancian, a retired Marine colonel and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a national security think tank. "If some civilian airport were tracking it, that would be a problem."

Cancian noted, however, that the F-35 has been "a very controversial program" because of its cost.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., likened the program to a financial "rathole" in 2021 during a virtual event at the Brookings Institution. His office declined to comment Monday.

“What does the F-35 give us?” asked Smith, who was then serving as chairman of the House Armed Services. “Is there a way to cut our losses? Is there a way to not keep spending so much money for such a low capability? Because the sustainment costs are brutal.”

The Department of Defense expects to spend $1.7 trillion to buy, operate and sustain the aircraft and its systems over its lifetime, according to a Government Accountability Office report published in May. The program's procurement costs have also increased by $13.4 billion since the last estimate was made in 2019.

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#13 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Sep 18, 2023 11:13 pm

Military officials find debris field belonging to F-35 fighter jet that went missing in South Carolina after a ‘mishap’ forced the pilot to eject

https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/17/us/south ... index.html

A debris field has been found and identified as the remains of an F-35 fighter jet that went missing Sunday near Charleston, South Carolina, after its pilot ejected, according to the Marine Corps and a defense official with knowledge of the search.

The debris field is approximately two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.
JB Charleston, which led the search, “is transferring incident command to the USMC this evening, as they begin the recovery process,” the Marine Corps said in a news release.

Members of the community have been cautioned to avoid the area so the recovery team can secure the debris field and begin the recovery process.

On Sunday, the pilot ejected safely after a “mishap” involving the jet and was taken to a local medical facility in stable condition, Joint Base Charleston had said in a Facebook post.

“The mishap is currently under investigation, and we are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process,” the Marines said in Monday’s statement.

The aircraft’s last known position had been near Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, two large bodies of water northwest of the city of Charleston, according to Joint Base Charleston, which had asked for the public’s help finding the aircraft.

The jet belongs to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, a unit focused on training pilots to meet annual training requirements, according to the unit’s website.


The debris field is approximately two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.
By F35? :-? =))

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#14 Post by OneHungLow » Tue Sep 19, 2023 5:44 am

PHXPhlyer wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2023 11:13 pm
Military officials find debris field belonging to F-35 fighter jet that went missing in South Carolina after a ‘mishap’ forced the pilot to eject

https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/17/us/south ... index.html



The debris field is approximately two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.
By F35? :-? =))

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One can only assume they mean by road. It seems that aircraft flew on for a good few minutes after the ejection.

I wonder if we will ever get the full gen on the "curious case of the F-35 that flew onwards?"
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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#15 Post by Ex-Ascot » Tue Sep 19, 2023 7:16 am

Bit embarrassing for the pilot. There he was drifting down shouting 'crash you b*stard crash'

Yes I am sure they meant distance by road.
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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#16 Post by Boac » Tue Sep 19, 2023 7:22 am

I have a feeling that 'mishap' may be too kind a word.......... :))

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#17 Post by barkingmad » Tue Sep 19, 2023 9:45 am

There was another Air Force which utilised a jet fighter known as the Lightning, of which they threw away considerable numbers of ‘frames mostly due to technical faults.

I wonder if there is any connection...

At least he’s alive to be debriefed and either promoted or demoted.

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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#18 Post by OneHungLow » Tue Sep 19, 2023 9:31 pm

F-35.JPG
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Re: F-35 Down in South Carolina, Pilot Ejects Safely

#19 Post by 1DC » Wed Sep 20, 2023 4:22 pm

Surely they have a self destruct button for emergencies?

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