Losses and Aviation Safety

Lockheed Martin engineers to determine the fate of Tyndall’s F-22s damaged by Hurricane Michael

Initial assessments said that up to 17 of the F-22s had been destroyed, but top USAF officials later visited the base and said the damage wasn’t as bad as first thought

Lockheed Martin has dispatched engineers to Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB), Florida to assess the damage on the F-22s that were parked there when Hurricane Michael struck on Oct. 10, 2018.

Hurricane Michael hit Tyndall with unexpected force and sooner than expected, and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) left some of the jets, which cost in the hundreds of millions apiece, behind in the base’s most hardened hangars.

But, as reported by MySanAntonio, the storm proved historically powerful, and images of the aftermath show the hangars torn open. Initial assessments said that up to 17 of the planes had been destroyed, but top USAF officials later visited the base and said the damage wasn’t as bad as first thought.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in fact sounded optimistic about the chances of repairing the F-22s and other aircraft that were damaged when Hurricane Michael battered Tyndall AFB.

Mattis said that based on the initial review of damaged aircraft, it “looks like all the planes are fixable.”

“I’m not ready to say it can all be fixed, but our initial review was perhaps more positive than I anticipated … in light of the amount of damage,” he added.

A message from someone identifying themselves as a member of the 43rd Fighter Squadron appeared on a Facebook page called Air Force Forum. “Four 43d F-22s were left behind to ride out the hurricane,” the anonymous poster wrote. “One of them was scheduled to leave but GABed [ground aborted] after an issue prior to taxi. The other three were jets that couldn’t be spun up in time to fly.” He pointed out that two had been cannibalized for parts and the others had “issues that couldn’t be fixed. They were in hangars that [they] are usually put in according to hurricane plans.”

He also added that off-duty maintenance crews were recalled to duty “on Monday afternoon to spin up as many jets as they could to fly, with the last ones launched on Tuesday morning.”

However F-22 Raptors stationed at Tyndall AFB that were evacuated to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, ahead of Hurricane Michael, arrived at Langley AFB, Virginia, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, where they will operate temporarily and continue to train to provide combat air power for America.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-22A Raptor 192nd Fighter Wing, 149th Fighter Squadron, FF/04-4082 – Langley AFB, VA – 2014

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Derek Seifert

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.

Recent Posts

Cool video shows NASA DC-8 doing low pass over San Francisco Bay during its final flight

Low pass over San Francisco Bay NASA specially modified Douglas DC-8 airliner has made its… Read More

16 hours ago

That time Thunderbirds delayed their display because they were scared by an SR-71 doing a low-level fly by in afterburner above their F-16s

The Blackbird The SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft was the world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft and the most… Read More

3 days ago