The F-35C incident was possibly related to a mechanical issue in the aircraft
On Sep. 24, 2018 an F-35C attached to VFA-125 was forced to divert to Fresno Yosemite International Airport after an indicator lighted up in the cockpit.
The pilot had tried to troubleshoot the issue in flight and decided to land at Fresno as he was too far to return to Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore.
“This was a precautionary landing per an indicator on the pilot’s instruments,” Cmdr. Ronald Flanders, spokesman for Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, told Military.com. “This was not a physiological episode. The pilot is fine. The aircraft is fine.”
He explained that the pilot executed the NATOPS procedure and deduced he was far enough away from Lemoore to call in a landing at Fresno.
According Flanders the incident was possibly related to a mechanical issue in the aircraft but did not give any further details on what the issue might be. “Maintainers from VFA-125 are inspecting the aircraft to assess why he got that indicator,” he said. “Once it is cleared for flight, it will return to Lemoore.”
NAS Lemoore is home to Strike Fighter Squadron 125, a replacement squadron, as well as VFA-147, which will be Navy’s first operational F-35C squadron.
The pilot recovered the aircraft back aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).
Naval Air Forces Atlantic spokesman Cmdr. Dave Hecht said that damage to the F-35C was reported as a Class A mishap – the most serious type for a military aircraft.
That same day a U.S. Air Force (USAF) F-35A experienced a nose gear malfunction at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB). The aircraft experienced an in-flight emergency and returned to base. The Lightning II landed safely and parked when the front nose gear collapsed.
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