Tag: Aviation Safety / Air Crashes

Alleged British F-35B Crash Video Leaked Online

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Alleged British F-35B Crash Video Leaked Online
A screenshot of the F-35B crash video.

Provided it is genuine, the clip shows the British F-35B crashing in the sea during a failed take off from .

A video, supposedly showing the moment a British F-35B Lightning crashed off UK’s aircraft carrier has just emerged and doing the rounds. Although we can’t be 100 percent sure, the clip (probably filmed with a smartphone as the actual video possibly recorded by the aircraft’s camera system is displayed on a computer’s screen), appears to be genuine and shows the incident, that occurred on Nov. 17, 2021, as it has been described so far.

You can clearly see an F-35B, configured for short take off (with open LIFT fan door and rear nozzle pivoted downward), rolling on the ski jump at very low speed (much lower than normal), then literally falling off the carrier for lack of enough thrust/lift. The pilot manages to launch as the aircraft reaches the final part of the ski jump.

Here’s the video:

The UK MOD has not denied the authenticity of the video (although it hasn’t confirmed it either).

As already reported, the one that crashed crashed in the Mediterranean Sea launching from the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is one of the eight British F-35Bs and ten U.S. Marine Corps F-35s embarked HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden operational cruise (dubbed CSG-21).

In an exclusive story published by The Sun on Nov. 23, the root cause of the crash was identified as a plastic, red rain cover, supposed to be removed before flight, but left on for the take off. While which “cheap plastic cover” was not removed before flight has not been explained, someone suggested it could be the one that is used to protect the dorsal air intake exposed when the LIFT fan door (the so called “toilet cover”) is opened.

Anyway, the fact that the flying activity was not halted after the incident, and that all the F-35Bs embarked aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, including those of the U.S. Marine Corps, could take part in a cross deck exercise off Italy with the Italian Air Force and Navy’s F-35Bs was a clear sign that the root cause of the crash was immediately known and, importantly, not technical.

“If [the root cause being the rain cover left on is] confirmed, the crash of the F-35B would have been caused by a catastrophic chain of failures (by more than one person) in following the standard taxi and take off procedures, that will certainly include multiple visual checks of the actual removal of the air intake covers and safety pins (which are in red color and have the usual “Remove Before Flight” sign to attract the attention and prevent this kind of incidents),” this Author commented in a previous article on the incident.

Interestingly, the new video, provided is genuine, seems to show another interesting detail: as the aircraft is rolling, it seems like the pilot attempted to change the nozzle position and tilt it rearward, possibly in a final attempt to increase the thrust.

H/T Alex Snow for the heads-up.

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - Alleged British F-35B Crash Video Leaked Online
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

Two USAF T-38C Talons Crash, One Pilot Killed at Laughlin AFB

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Two USAF T-38C Talons Crash, One Pilot Killed at Laughlin AFB
Main image: file photo of a T-38 Talon aircraft assigned to the 87th Flying Training Squadron, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, taken in September 2021 at Nellis AFB (U.S. Air Force photo by William R. Lewis). The aircraft should be the same involved in the crash at its homebase on Nov. 19, 2021. (Image sent us by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous but that we have already seen being shared across social media).

Two badly damaged T-38Cs seen on runway in photos from Texas Training Facility. Fourth T-38 crash in 2021.

One pilot is dead and two others are injured following an accident involving two T-38C Talon advanced jet trainers at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio Texas at approximately 10 A.M. local time on Friday, November 19, 2021.

According to an official media release from Laughlin AFB posted on their Facebook page, “One of the injured pilots was transported to Val Verde Regional Medical Center in Del Rio, Texas, where they were treated and released. The other pilot is in critical condition and was evacuated by air to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.”

The accident, which appears to have occurred in close proximity to a runway at the installation based on photos circulated on social media, may have happened while the two aircraft were about to take off or land. No details have been officially released. An official accident investigation is underway.

- Two USAF T-38C Talons Crash, One Pilot Killed at Laughlin AFBPhotos shared on social media showed one T-38C sitting upright next to a runway with a guide sign next to it and part of its nose missing. The ejection seat appears to still be in place on this aircraft.

Based on the same photographs, we can determine that one of the aircraft involved in the incident is the specially painted T-38C of the 87th Flying Training Squadron (FTS) “Redbulls” (serial 68-8121) that was given a heritage livery similar to the one used on the F-106A Delta Darts jets the 87th Fighter Interceptor Squadron from K.I. Sawyer AFB (Michigan) from 1968 to 1985.

- Two USAF T-38C Talons Crash, One Pilot Killed at Laughlin AFBF-106A of the 87th FIS (USAF via Wiki)

In a statement, USAF Col. Craig Prather said, “Losing teammates is unbelievably painful and it is with a heavy heart I express my sincere condolences. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with our pilots involved in this mishap and their families.”

The names of the crew members involved in the accident have not been officially released.

Laughlin AFB is reported to be the, “largest USAF flight training base”. According to one source, on weekdays, the facility “accommodates more flights than any other airfield in the U.S”. The base is home to the Air Education and Training Command’s 47th Flying Training Wing. The Wing includes the 87th Flying Training Squadron, the unit that operates the T-38C Talon at Laughlin.

The Northrop T-38C Talon is a two-seat, twin-engine, advanced supersonic jet trainer. It first flew 62 years ago in April of 1959 and is the first-ever supersonic advanced jet trainer.

The Aviation-Safety.net website lists 101 accident “occurrences” involving the T-38 Talon in their database while a separate reference cites that, “More than 210 aircraft losses and ejections have been documented over the lifetime of the T-38”. This latest accident is the fourth T-38 crash in 2021 and resulted in the third fatality so far this year. The accident rate in the aging supersonic advanced trainer appear to be accelerating in frequency during the past two years. If you search in our archive, unfortunately, you’ll find several reports about T-38 incidents.

The T-38 Talon is expected to be replaced by the new Boeing T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer in the future.

837c2d9d6db24da308bea1fe1cf06f9a?s=125&d=mm&r=g - Two USAF T-38C Talons Crash, One Pilot Killed at Laughlin AFB
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.

Here Is What We Know About Yesterday’s British F-35B Crash

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Here Is What We Know About Yesterday’s British F-35B Crash
A British F-35B prepares to takeoff from the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. (Photo: UK MoD)

The aircraft went down soon after takeoff this morning while the HMS Queen Elizabeth was sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Probably, recovery operation underway.

As you may know by now, a British F-35B crashed in the Mediterranean Sea on Nov. 17, 2021, around 10AM GMT. The aircraft was one of the eight British F-35s and ten U.S. Marine Corps F-35s currently embarked aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. A very short statement by the UK Ministry of Defence Press Office, released this afternoon, stated that the pilot was rescued and returned to the ship following a successful ejection.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, as quoted by BBC’s Defence Correspondent Jonathan Beale, provided some further details, saying that the F-35 ditched soon after taking off from the aircraft carrier and that operational and training flights onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth are continuing despite the incident. Some reports mentioned the possibility of a British pilot flying on a US jet, however it has been later confirmed that both the pilot and the F-35B were indeed British.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently on her way back to the UK from the maiden operational deployment with the recently established Carrier Strike Group. The 28-week deployment, which has been dubbed Carrier Strike Group 2021, brought the British aircraft carrier to the troubled waters of the Indo-Pacific region as the flagship of the largest naval and air task force under British command since the Falklands war. The CSG was planned to visit 40 nations during the 26,000-nautical-mile cruise.

Naval AIS (Automatic Identification Systems) data showed the HMS Queen Elizabeth CSG passing through the Suez Canal during yesterday’s afternoon, as seen on multiple ship tracking websites like MarineTraffic. The info was also confirmed by satellite imagery. This restricts the area where the mishap happened to the area between Egypt, Cyprus and Crete. If the ship was to make a port call in Cyprus like it did in July before moving to the Red Sea, this would restrict even more the area that needs to be considered.

In either case, the F-35 wreck on the Mediterranean seafloor is quite a sensitive matter, as the area where the mishap happened is relatively close to the Russian bases in Syria. This crash sparks concerns similar to the ones that followed the crash of a Japanese F-35 in 2019, when reports mentioned the risks of Russian and Chinese units trying to recover the missing fuselage in the attempt to exploit its remains to gather intelligence about the F-35’s low observable and sensor technology.

In that occasion, the F-35 crashed in an area about 130 km from Misawa AB where the water depth was deemed to be about 10,000 feet. This might also be similar to yesterday’s crash, as it happened in open water with depths that can exceed, in some areas, over 3,000 meters, which correspond to about 10,000 feet. The area is also highly trafficked, given the proximity to the Suez Canal, and combined with the extreme depth, this reduces the chances of another country finding and exploiting any of the plane’s remains.

Even if someone succeeded, it is unlikely to gather useful data, as we wrote in a previous article here at The Aviationist:

“It could present problems depending on what is recovered, when it is recovered and, above all, in which conditions, after impacting the surface of the water,” our own David Cenciotti told Fox News via email. “The F-35 is a system of systems and its Low Observability/stealthiness is a system itself. It is obtained with a particular shape of the aircraft, a certain engine and the use of peculiar materials and systems all those are managed and tightly integrated by million lines of software code: this means that it would be extremely difficult to reverse engineer the aircraft by recovering debris and broken pieces from the ocean bed. However, there are still lots of interesting parts that could be studied to get some interesting details: a particular onboard sensor or something that can’t be seen from the outside but could be gathered by putting your hands on chunks of the aircraft intakes or exhaust section, on the radar reflectors etc.”

Yesterday’s F-35 mishap should be the sixth where the aircraft has been lost since it entered service, and the first non-US B-model crash. As of today, the list counts two US and one Japanese F-35A and two US and one British F-35B. Before the crash, the UK had 24 F-35Bs delivered, of which three in the USA for testing, eight on the HMSQE and the remaining ones at RAF Marham.

1c874047463801220adcba061ba371a3?s=125&d=mm&r=g - Here Is What We Know About Yesterday’s British F-35B Crash
Stefano D’Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he’s also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.

British F-35B From HMS Queen Elizabeth Has Crashed In The Med Sea. Pilot Reportedly Ejected.

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - British F-35B From HMS Queen Elizabeth Has Crashed In The Med Sea. Pilot Reportedly Ejected.
One of the 8 F-35B deployed aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth during Strike Falcon 2021 at Pantelleria (Author)

Breaking news: British F-35B crashed this morning during operations from HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

An F-35B, one of the eight British jets embarked aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth has crashed this morning around 10AM GMT as the aircraft carrier was conducting routine activities in the Mediterranean Sea.

The pilot successfully ejected from the F-35B and was safely rescued. According to a very short statement released by the UK Ministry of Defence Press Office, the pilot has already returned to the ship, while investigation in the incident has begun.

The jet involved in the incident was one of the eight F-35B of the RAF 617 Squadron from RAF Marham deployed aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth along with 10 F-35B of the U.S. Marine Corps VMFA-211 Wake Island Avengers, based at MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Yuma, Arizona. HMSQE is on her way back to the UK from a 28-week deployment – dubbed CSG21 (Carrier Strike Group 2021) – that brought the British aircraft carrier to the troubled waters of the Indo-Pacific region as the flagship of the largest naval and air task force under British command since the Falklands war.

Before reaching the South China Sea, the British aircraft carrier was quite busy: it took part in Exercise Joint Warrior/Strike Warrior off Scotland; then joined drills with NATO partners, including Falcon Strike 2021 in the Mediterranean Sea; and also supported counter-Daesh operations in Iraq and Syria. On the way back, the carrier will operate with allied nations in the Mediterranea Sea again.

The airframes known to have been operating aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth during her maiden deployment are ZM150/016; ZM154/020; ZM152/018; ZM151/017; ZM147/013; ZM153/019; ZM155/021 and ZM148/014.

The CSG21 deployment marked the first time UK fighter aircraft embarked on an operational aircraft carrier deployment since 2010, and was also the largest number of F-35Bs ever to sail the seas.

We will update the story as new details about the incident emerge.

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - British F-35B From HMS Queen Elizabeth Has Crashed In The Med Sea. Pilot Reportedly Ejected.
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet Crashes in Death Valley: Pilot Ejects Safely.

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet Crashes in Death Valley: Pilot Ejects Safely.
File photo of U.S. Navy Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet from VX-9. (All images: Author)

VX-9 “Vampires” Super Hornet Goes Down in Remote Area, Pilot Released from Las Vegas Hospital.

The U.S. Navy and local news media reported on Tuesday that a Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Nine (VX-9), the “Vampires”, crashed in a remote area of Death Valley National Park in Northern California at approximately 3:00 PM local time on Monday, October 4, 2021.

The single crewmember reported to be on board the two-seat aircraft ejected safely. The pilot was transported to, and then released from Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The identity of the pilot has not been released.

No cause for the crash has been reported. An official investigation into the cause of the accident is underway.

Media releases from the U.S. Navy and the National Park Service reported that the aircraft went down in the “southern part” of Death Valley National Park, but did not specify the crash location. The region is used frequently by aircraft for low-level flight training and testing and has become popular with aviation photographers since the closing of previous low-level flying areas in Death Valley National Park including the area known as “Star Wars Canyon” or the Jedi Transition following a fatal F/A-18E crash there in July of 2019.

According to an official statement from the National Park Service, “Search and rescue units from NAWS China Lake, Fort Irwin Army Base, and Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron (MAWTS) 1 from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma responded to the scene and rescued the pilot.”

The Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron (MAWTS) 1 is normally tasked with standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructors in support of Marine aviation readiness. The unit also provides assistance in the development and employment of new and innovative aviation weapons and tactics for use by the U.S. Marines.

- U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet Crashes in Death Valley: Pilot Ejects Safely.File photo of U.S. Marine special operations members who participated in the rescue of the downed U.S. Navy F/A-18F pilot in Death Valley on Oct. 5, 2021.

The Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet is a two-seat, twin-engine tactical multi-role aircraft that operates from land and from aircraft carriers. The aircraft first flew in 1995 and has been continuously upgraded since as the primary multi-role, carrier-borne strike aircraft of the U.S. Navy. The F/A-18F two-seat variant of the Super Hornet has a very successful combat and safety record.

The unit operating the aircraft involved in Monday’s crash, U.S. Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Nine (VX-9), is tasked with developing and evaluating aircraft tactics and techniques for the delivery of air-launched special weapons. The unit operates a wide variety of combat aircraft in the testing, development and training role.

837c2d9d6db24da308bea1fe1cf06f9a?s=125&d=mm&r=g - U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet Crashes in Death Valley: Pilot Ejects Safely.
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.

U.S. Clears Australia To Buy One EA-18G Growler To Replace Aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair At Nellis in 2018

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - U.S. Clears Australia To Buy One EA-18G Growler To Replace Aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair At Nellis in 2018
6 Squadron EA-18G A46-311 after the incident at Nellis AFB (Image credit: RAAF)

The total for the new EA-18G Growler for the Royal Australian Air Force is estimated at 125 million USD.

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of EA-18G Growler Aircraft, Related Defense Services, and related equipment for an estimated cost of $125 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.”

On Sept. 30, 2021, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of an EA-18G destined to replace the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) Growler involved in an incident on Jan. 27, 2018, at Nellis AFB, outside Las Vegas, Nevada.

On that day, aircraft serialled A46-311, belonging to the contingent of four EA-18G Growlers deployed with the RAAF No. 6 Squadron to the U.S. to take part in exercise Red Flag 18-1 suffered an uncontained engine failure on take off: according to the Australian accident board, one of the aircraft’s General Electric F414 turbofan engines broke into three major pieces with one segment piercing through the airframe, another one going through the second engine and a third one destroying the right hand side tail.

Immediately after the investigation report was released, the Australian Defense Department tried to claim compensation, but the request was rejected in the very early stages. In 2019, Air Vice Marshal Greg Hoffman, the head of the Defence Department’s Aerospace Systems Division, told Senate Estimates that Australian taxpayers would have to foot the bill: “The US Navy has formally written to us and advised that unfortunately, and it is very unfortunate that we can’t get compensated for this, but the position is there is no compensation,” he said. According to Hoffman, the United States Navy would also receive no compensation from the contractor if it experienced a similar mishap: “The owner and operator holds the liability for the aeroplanes. And what we found out is in this case, the United States’ Navy, should they have lost this aeroplane, they similarly would not have been compensated for it (by) the contractor.”

In order to bring the RAAF Electronic Attack fleet back to the original size (12 jets) a new aircraft (along with follow-on support) should be procured by Australia. The sale, according to the U.S. DSCA (Defense Security Cooperation Agency) “will allow Australia to effectively maintain its current force projection capability that enhances interoperability with U.S. forces well into the future and maintain their original primary level of aircraft authorized”

The aircraft will be provided from U.S. Navy stock. Australian Defence hasn’t announced nor confirmed the proposed sale yet.

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - U.S. Clears Australia To Buy One EA-18G Growler To Replace Aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair At Nellis in 2018
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

What Remains Of F-35A That Crashed At Eglin Last Year Will Be Transformed Into Training Aids For F-35 maintainers

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - What Remains Of F-35A That Crashed At Eglin Last Year Will Be Transformed Into Training Aids For F-35 maintainers
The fuselage of a condemned F-35A Lightning II Aug. 23, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, that has been decontaminated, painted and made safe for further handling. The aircraft was involved in a landing mishap in 2020 at Eglin AFB, Florida, but is now being transformed into sectional training aids by Airmen at Hill AFB for use during instruction of F-35 maintainers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Some parts of the F-35 involved in a landing mishap at Eglin Air Force Base will be used for instruction of F-35 maintainers.

On May 19, 2020, F-35A aircraft tail number 12-005053, operated by the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Operations Group, assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing, crashed 4,600 feet down the Runway 30 (slightly left of the centerline) at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida.

The pilot ejected safely from the aircraft (sustaining non-life threatening injuries) while the aircraft, valued at $175,983,949, rolled, caught fire, and was completely destroyed (you can read more about the causes of the mishap here).

Although it was initially thought to be scrapped, Airmen in the 372nd Training Squadron, Det. 3, at Hill AFB found a way for the aircraft (or what remained of it) to bolster maintenance training opportunities for military and civilian F-35 maintainers assigned to the base’s 388th Fighter Wing, 419th Fighter Wing, and Ogden Air Logistics Complex.

“Initially, the jet was to be scrapped and destroyed,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Wilkow, 372nd TRS in a public release. ”However, we explored the possibility that some parts such as avionics, fuel cell and gun system might still be in relative pristine condition inside the damaged crust and usable for training.”

In fact, some major components needed for the training aids were still usable.

- What Remains Of F-35A That Crashed At Eglin Last Year Will Be Transformed Into Training Aids For F-35 maintainersAirman 1st Class Andrew Simpson and Airman 1st Class Fabio Velazquez Gonzalez, both with the 388th Maintenance Squadron corrosion control shop, work on decontamination and surface sanding a condemned F-35A Lightning II July 20, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The aircraft was involved in a landing mishap in 2020 at Eglin AFB, Florida, but is now being transformed into sectional training aids by Airmen at Hill AFB for use during instruction of F-35 maintainers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

“Obviously, accidents are unfortunate, but when it comes to aircraft involved in a mishap, I have always found that there is a silver lining and something to be gained,” Santos said. “In terms of the wreckage being recycled and used for other purposes, these kinds of innovative efforts save the DoD and taxpayers millions of dollars.”

Especially on pretty “young” fleets, maintenance training is usually carried out on frontline aircraft. However, this is not always doable, as most of times, jets requiring maintenance are to be immediately returned to flying status and can’t support training activities of ground personnel.

- What Remains Of F-35A That Crashed At Eglin Last Year Will Be Transformed Into Training Aids For F-35 maintainers(Left to right) Staff Sgt. Cameron Salmon and Staff Sgt. Steven Kuethe, Ogden Air Logistics Complex aircraft battle damage and repair, and Master Sgt. Andrew Wilkow, 372nd Training Squadron, Det. 3, cut off the wing of a condemned F-35A Lightning II and prep it for transport at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The aircraft was involved in a landing mishap at Eglin in 2020 and Airmen at Hill AFB, Utah, are currently involved in transforming it into sectional training aids for use during instruction of F-35 maintainers. (Courtesy photo)

“Until now, maintenance training has been accomplished using operational aircraft,” said Tech. Sgt. Dennis Corcoran, 372nd TRS. “Obviously, this is a significant challenge because often units are unable to support training evolutions, simply due to operational commitments or the real-world need for jets requiring maintenance to be immediately returned to flying status, in order to maintain the squadron’s readiness requirements.”

Therefore, the aircraft was relocated to Hill in July and activities conducted in coordination with a U.S. Navy unit also interested in some of the aircraft’s components for test and evaluation. The project is expected to be completed during the next year.

First task to be completed, is to clean remove from the airframe all the potentially hazardous materials.

“Our shop is involved with removing contaminants, cleaning up any fluid or chemical residue, trimming off exposed burnt composites, and removing sharp edges or metal damage,” Tech. Sgt. Kevin Browning, 388th Maintenance Squadron NCOIC of corrosion control, said. “Then we prep and paint the components, so that they are safe to handle.”

The next phase of the project will include cutting the entire fuselage lengthwise and then into individual component sections. The sections will then be framed and mounted on stands to give maintainers as much access as possible to the training aids.

“The whole process has been a team effort from the beginning and only possible through the time, effort and cooperation put forth by many individual professionals throughout the Air Force, as well as many highly skilled Airmen, from multiple units across Hill Air Force Base,” Corcoran said.

By the way, the images released by the Air Force give an idea of the extent of the damage the aircraft suffered as a consequence of the accident. The fact they found something re-usable in that airframe looks like almost a miracle….

H/T to Ryan Chan for the heads-up!

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - What Remains Of F-35A That Crashed At Eglin Last Year Will Be Transformed Into Training Aids For F-35 maintainers
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

Russian Beriev Be-200 Amphibious Firefighting Aircraft Has Crashed In Turkey

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Russian Beriev Be-200 Amphibious Firefighting Aircraft Has Crashed In Turkey
The Beriev Be-200 of the Russian Federation Navy. (All images: Alex Snow)

The Russian Navy Be-200 was the first one ordered by RF Navy and crashed during a firefighting mission in southeastern Turkey.

A Russian Beriev Be-200 aircraft crashed near near Kahramanmaras, in southeastern Turkey, during a firefighting mission, to fight a fire that broke out during the day as a result of a lightning strike in the forest area on Aug. 14, 2021. According to the reports, five crew members (military, belonging to the Russian Federation) and three Turkish forest inspectors were killed in the incident (some sources say just 7 people were aboard).

Footage showing the aircraft operating in a mountainous region before crashing has already started circulating online, even though the first official Russian MOD statement about the incident claimed the Russian amphibious firefighting aircraft crashed “during landing” near Adana, where the aircraft was stationed.

The aircraft involved in the incident should be RF-88450/20 Yellow “Alexander Mamkin”, the first one ordered by the Russian Navy, that participated in the Navy parade last year, where the photos you can find in this article were taken by our contributor Alex Snow. The squadron is believed to be the Center for Combat Use and Retraining of Flight Personnel of the MA of the Russian Navy, from Yeysk, Russia.

In the future, the Russian Navy will operate the Be-200 in the Be-200P variant for anti-submarine warfare but it was initially assigned the firefighting version already operated by EMERCOM, the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters.

- Russian Beriev Be-200 Amphibious Firefighting Aircraft Has Crashed In TurkeyRF-88450 / 20 Yellow “Alexander Mamkin”

Russian Be-200s, including those belonging to EMERCOM, regularly deploy abroad to support foreign nations’ firefighting activities. At the beginning of August, the Be-200 deployed to Greece, had flown more than 100 hours in 36 missions, worth 400 water discharges with a total volume of 2,500 tons, in 7 regions of the country, including the islands of Crete and Rhodes.

- Russian Beriev Be-200 Amphibious Firefighting Aircraft Has Crashed In TurkeyHead on view.

According to Beriev public data, the basic configuration of the Be-200 amphibious aircraft is intended for fighting the forest fires using the fire extinguishing fluids. While doing this, the aircraft can carry out the following tasks:

  • stop and restrain the spread of the big forest fires by developing the protecting strip due to multiple drops on the fire edge;
  • extinguishing the small fire and fire which only starts to develop;
  • delivery of fire brigades and fire extingushing equipment to the fire region by landing on preselected water area of airfield, and return to the base.

“A particular feature of the Be-200 aircraft, when compared with the other amphibians, is that it has fully pressurized fuselage, which allows to fullfil a lot of missions. The aircraft is fitted with flight/navigation and communication equipment allowing the navigation and flight control at all flight phases in adverse weather conditions at any season, day and night. The interior for the Be-200 amphibious aircraft firefighting configuration is developed by AIM Aviation Fliteform. Passenger and combi configurations are on the list as well. While designing the Be-200 amphibious aircraft, the designers took into account the design experience and test results of the biggest jet amphibian A-40 “Albatross” which set 148 records,” Beriev website reports.

- Russian Beriev Be-200 Amphibious Firefighting Aircraft Has Crashed In TurkeyBe-200 landing at dusk.

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - Russian Beriev Be-200 Amphibious Firefighting Aircraft Has Crashed In Turkey
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

Legendary F-14 Pilot Dale ‘Snort’ Snodgrass Dies In A Tragic Plane Crash

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Legendary F-14 Pilot Dale ‘Snort’ Snodgrass Dies In A Tragic Plane Crash
The famous knife-edge low pass over the USS America. In the box: Capt. (Ret) Dale “Snort” Snodgrass. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Snodgrass was the sole occupant of a SIAI-Marchetti SM.1019 that crashed at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport.

The legendary F-14 Tomcat pilot Dale “Snort” Snodgrass, the type’s most experienced pilot, tragically lost his life on July 24, 2021 in a plane crash at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport, Idaho. Snodgrass was the only person onboard a SIAI Marchetti SM.1019, a small Italian-made STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) aircraft built in the 1970s off the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog’s design, that crashed at midday shortly after takeoff and caught fire.

While initially it was only rumored, the presence of Snodgrass on the aircraft was confirmed by airport manager Michael Isaacs, as reported by the Lewiston Tribune website. The Lewiston Fire Department stated that the aircraft came down in a field and caught fire just off the airport’s taxiway Charlie, with the rescue services responding to the emergency call at 12:11 pm and bringing the fire under control in fewer than five minutes.

The causes of the incident are unknown at this time and the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) officials are on scene to begin the investigation. According to the Aviation Safety Network website, the mishap aircraft was the SM.1019B registered as N28U and belonging to Snodgrass’ company 717 Aviation Inc.

Snodgrass retired as a Captain from the U.S. Navy after 26 years of decorated service. His career was remarkable since the beginning, when he became the first student to be selected to fly the F-14 Tomcat straight from the flight school. Later on, he became the F-14 demonstration pilot, a role that he retained for more than a decade, during which he flew remarkable displays at the edge of the Tomcat’s flight envelope. A famous shot from this period is the knife-edge pass at flight deck level over the CV-66 USS America in 1988.

Moving on in his military career, Snodgrass rose through the ranks until he became Commander Fighter Wing Atlantic, in charge of the F-14 operation of the entire Navy and also spearheading the Tomcat’s Precision Strike effort. When he retired, he was the pilot with the highest time in the F-14, having logged more than 4,900 flight hours (including 34 combat missions over Iraq in 1991 during Desert Storm) and 1,200 arrested landings on aircraft carriers. Among his records, he was also a TOPGUN graduate and instructor.

After retirement, Snodgrass continued to fly jets and warbirds at airshows, becoming qualified to fly F-86 Sabre, P-51 Mustang, P-40 Warhawk, F4U Corsair, T-6/SNJ Texan, L-39 Albatros, MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-21 and, more recently, the F-5 Tiger, but also as Chief Pilot for Draken International. His most recent count shows more than 12,500 flight hours in countless aircraft types, both civilian and demilitarized aircraft. In the last 20 years, he flew during more than 850 airshows.

1c874047463801220adcba061ba371a3?s=125&d=mm&r=g - Legendary F-14 Pilot Dale ‘Snort’ Snodgrass Dies In A Tragic Plane Crash
Stefano D’Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he’s also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.

Belgian F-16 Damaged in Ground Incident At Leeuwarden AB. Pilot Successfully Ejected.

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Belgian F-16 Damaged in Ground Incident At Leeuwarden AB. Pilot Successfully Ejected.
One of the Belgian Vipers attending WIC at Leeuwarden AB, the Netherlands. (Image credit: Edwin Schimmel)

A Belgian Air Force F-16 hit a building shortly after start-up.

On Jul. 1, 2021, a BAF (Belgian Air Force) F-16 was involved in an incident at Leeuwarden Air Base, in the Netherlands. According to the details released by the Royal Netherlands Air Force, the F-16 accelerated on its own on start-up, as the crew chief was still working on the aircraft, jumped the chocks and crashed into a building opposite the flightline.

Both the Belgian pilot and the crew chief were injured and taken to hospital.

The incident occurred on the last day of Dutch F-16 operations at Leeuwarden: the base will host the RNlAF F-35 and for this reason the remaining RNlAF Vipers will be moved to Volkel. Many spotters were outside the base and some of them observed the mishap unfold. One of them spoke, who spoke to the Dutch media outlet NOS, said that the aircraft had just been given permission to take off around 09.15 hours. “We were standing at the spotting point near Marsum. Suddenly we heard a lot of noise. And at that moment I saw a tail of an F-16 rolling over the platform at a fairly high speed.”

According to Scramble, the mishap Viper is FA130 part of 2 Wing, based at Florennes. The aircraft was at Leeuwarden for the Weapon Instructor Course (WIC) currently underway. The WIC is a 6-months training course for the best and most experienced pilots to become a weapon instructor.

Concerns regarding the airworthiness and overall readiness of the Belgian fighters are regularly voiced, even though the BAF F-16s are frequently called to patrol NATO borders or perform QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) missions in the frame of joint BE-NL cooperation in safeguarding the common airspace.

In March 2021, the Belgian F-16 fleet was grounded following an engine mishap that occurred on Feb. 11, 2021, when an F-16 was forced to land shortly after takeoff from Florennes. The investigation revealed that the plane suffered a nozzle burn, “a phenomenon in which a break in material causes, due to the high temperature, a number of parts to melt which can come off,” according to Belgium’s Defense Aviation Safety Directorate. Flight operations were resumed on Mar. 19, 2021.

In September 2019 a Belgian two seater F-16B crashed in western France: both crew members managed to eject from the aircraft. Earlier, in 2018, a Belgian Air Force F-16 w destroasyed and another aircraft damaged when the M61A1 Vulcan 20mm cannon on board a third F-16 was accidentally fired on the ground by maintenance personnel at Florennes.

H/T to Jean-Paul Van De Walle, @Gerjon_ and Edwin Schimmel for providing additional details for this story.

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - Belgian F-16 Damaged in Ground Incident At Leeuwarden AB. Pilot Successfully Ejected.
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.
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