Images coming from Texas show the F-35B, nose down, next to the runway, after the pilot ejected.
An incident, involving a Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II aircraft, occurred on the shared runway at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, shortly before 10.15AM LT on Dec. 15, 2022. According to the first reports, local Police were called to help clear onlookers away from a roadway that runs adjacent to a runway where officials were responding to and investigating the incident to the jet.
Live footage from NBC and Fox 4 show the jet sitting on its nose next to the runway, with the missing ejection seat (and canopy).
A statement was issued by Lockheed Martin following the incident: “We are aware of the F-35B crash on the shared runway at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth and understand that the pilot ejected successfully. Safety is our priority, and we will follow appropriate investigation protocol.” No additional detail about the mishap has been shared so far.
Lockheed Martin assembles the F-35s at the government-owned, contractor-operated aerospace facility in Fort Worth, Texas, called Air Force Plant 4. The facility is home to the F-16 and F-35 fighter aircraft and shares the RWY 18/36 with the adjacent NAS JRB Fort Worth (formerly Carswell Air Force Base). The aircraft was probably involved in a test flight and based on the images we have seen thus far, it was probably configured for hovering or short/vertical landing, considered the position of the exhaust nozzle and Lift fan. Actually, also the weapons bay seems to be open.
According to the reports, the F-35B involved in the crash is Lockheed-owned (hence not yet delivered to/accepted by the final customer).
A video of the incident has emerged.
— Doug Dunbar (@cbs11doug) December 15, 2022
Earlier this month, an F-35B Lightning II, belonging to the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 ‘Green Knights’, was involved in an incident on the ground at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, when the nose gear collapsed as the aircraft was being towed on the taxiway following a precautionary landing.