Losses and Aviation Safety

USMC F-35B crashes, KC-130J makes emergency landing after colliding during mid-air refueling

The F-35 pilot ejected safely while the KC-130 did a safe emergency landing. The pilot is now being treated for his injuries.

A US Marine Corps (USMC) F-35B Lightning II fighter jet assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wings crashed in Imperial County, California, on Sep. 29, 2020 after clipping the wing of a service KC-130J tanker during a mid-air refueling.

As reported by ABC News, the F-35 pilot ejected safely while the KC-130 did a safe emergency landing. The pilot is now being treated for his injuries.

“At approximately 1600 (4 p.m. Pacific time) it was reported that an F-35B made contact with a KC-130J during an air-to-air refueling evolution, resulting in the crash of the F-35B,” read a statement from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma in Yuma, Arizona. “The pilot of the F-35B ejected successfully and is currently being treated.”

“The KC-130J is on deck in the vicinity of Thermal Airport. All crew members of the KC-130J have been reported safe,” the statement said.

According to images appeared on social media, the tanker landed near a field.

A defense official said the KC-130 was stationed at MCAS Miramar in San Diego, California, and the F-35, that was operating out of Miramar too, was based in Iwakuni, Japan.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

According to Daily Mail, one eye witness described the F-35B as being ‘fully engulfed’ in flames by the time it impacted the ground. 

Two years ago, on Sep. 28, 2018, a USMC F-35B crashed outside the MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina. The pilot managed to eject safely.

The cause of the accident was determined to be from a faulty fuel tube, prompting officials to ground all F-35s to inspect the fleet on Oct 11.  They were returned to flight status the following day. 

The F-35s were first introduced to the US Military in 2015, with the first F-35B entering service with the USMC in July that year.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35B Lightning II VMFA-121 Green Knights, VK00, 169164 / 2015

H/T: Christian Nentwig

Photo credit: Daily Mail

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

Video features former Viggen pilot explaining how JA-37 fighter jocks could achieve radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes

JA-37 Viggen fighter jocks achieving radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes The… Read More

18 hours ago

USAF McDonnell Douglas YC-15 pilot recalls AMST program failing to replace the C-130 Hercules

McDonnell Douglas YC-15 Vs Boeing YC-14 The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) YC-15 was a four-engine… Read More

2 days ago

“Wild Weasel sighted SAM site—Destroyed same.” The story of Wild Weasel’s First Kill

The F-100F Wild Weasel After the single-seat, supersonic F-100 fighter entered service in 1954, it… Read More

2 days ago

USAF predicted a six-year U-2 development plan but thanks to CIA spymaster Richard Bissell and Lockheed Aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson it was deployed in slightly over a year

Richard Bissell Richard Bissell, the senior Government official who took responsibility for the Central Intelligence… Read More

3 days ago

Photos show Wright-Patterson AFB and US Air Force Museum damaged by tornado

Wright-Patterson AFB and US Air Force Museum damaged by tornado On Feb. 28, 2024 Wright-Patterson… Read More

3 days ago