The F-22A pilot did not suffer serious injuries
The pictures in this post were taken Apr. 13, 2018 and show an F-22A Raptor belonging to the 3rd Wing from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) which involved in a serious accident at Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon where the stealth fighter was deployed for an exercise.
The pilot did not suffer serious injuries.
The details of the incident are not clear yet but Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page has an update on the mishap: “Info on the Raptor mishap at Fallon: The slide happened on takeoff. Appears to have been a left engine flameout when the pilot throttled up to take off. By the time he realized the engine was dead, he had already been airborne for a few seconds and raised the gear. The jet bounched for around 1500 feet, and then slide for about 5000 feet. They got it off the ground and on its landing gear last night, so the runway is clear. Chain is wanting it to be quiet still. It’s very fresh obviously. But it’s looking like the second engine failure on Elmo jets in a 7 day period.”
Noteworthy this is not the first crash-landing for a U.S. Air force (USAF) F-22 Raptor. On May 31, 2012 in fact F-22A # 02-4037 was badly damaged when it failed to lift off during a touch-and-go at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB).
The aircraft returned to service in March after a six-year repair job. The process to return # 02-4037 to service condition offers a glimpse into the effort the USAF undertakes to keep as many of the limited number of F-22 fifth-generation fighters flying rather than writing them off after extensive damages.
The repair effort began shortly after the mishap occurred when a team of USAF, Lockheed and Boeing structural repair experts convened to analyse damages valued at about $35 million, according to Nelson’s presentation.
In addition to repairing scratches to the skins of the wing and the stabilator, the USAF also replaced the skins and doors of the central and aft fuselage.
The analysis also showed that two internal components – a fuselage bulkhead and a section of wing skin – required the USAF to install metallic and carbonfibre patches, Nelson’s presentation shows. The most significant repairs were made to the bulkhead known as flight station 637, where buckled webs needed to be replaced with large structural patches.
# 02-4037 returned to service around the same the USAF re-introduced # 91-4006, another mothballed F-22, to flying status. This Raptor in fact had been brought out from storage at Edwards AFB to be returned to service.
The USAF fiscal year 2018 budget justification documents in fact stated the F-22 program would have added another operational test aircraft to the fleet by taking one aircraft “out of flyable storage.”
The F-22 fleet stands at 137 combat-coded aircraft, 15 test aircraft and 31 training aircraft.
As we have previously reported Congress voted in 2009 to stop purchasing the F-22 stealth fighters after just 187 were made, hundreds less than the USAF had planned.
However even though several studies have been made to reopen the F-22 production line, high costs associated with hiring workers, integrating newer stealth technologies and training and equipping additional pilots make impossible restarting the Raptor production.
Photo credit: Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page and Teddy Techer
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com