Losses and Aviation Safety

F-35A spotted nose-down on runway at Eglin AFB after in-flight emergency

The F-35A experienced an in-flight emergency and returned to base. The aircraft landed safely and parked when the front nose gear collapsed

An F-35A Lightning II, assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron, experienced a ground mishap on Aug. 22, 2018 at approximately 12:50 p.m. today on the flightline at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB).

The F-35A experienced an in-flight emergency and returned to base. The aircraft landed safely and parked when the front nose gear collapsed, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) said in a News Release. There was one person on board. Fire crews responded immediately and the pilot suffered no injuries as a result of the incident.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the mishap is underway.

Photos captured by local media show the plane sitting safely on the runway, with its nose down on the ground.

Photo credit: Michael Snyder / Daily News

What damage may have resulted from the incident, and the costs associated with repairing it, is unclear; the USAF in fact did not share details on the initial incident which required the plane to return to base early.

It’s not the first time the F-35 has had an issue with its front landing gear. In 2017, Navy pilots using the F-35C model – a different variation of the fighter jet, designed for operations on a carrier – complained the jet would bob up and down on its nose gear when being launched from a catapult, Defense News reported.

The issue was bad enough that pilots said they could not read instruments while trying to take flight. A number of pilots also said they experienced pain from the motion. The department worked with Lockheed Martin on a fix for the issue.

F-35A Lighning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

Top image: Senior Airman Stormy Archer / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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