Tag: Aviation Safety / Air Crashes

An EA-18G Growler Was Damaged In The F-35C Ramp Strike Incident On USS Carl Vinson In January

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An EA-18G Growler Was Damaged In The F-35C Ramp Strike Incident On USS Carl Vinson In January
Growler damaged

The VAQ-136 Growler is visualized in FRCSW’s Building 94.(U.S. Navy image)An EA-18G of VAQ-136 was additionally harmed in the F-35C collision on USS Carl Vinson in South China Sea, the U.S. Navy claims. As we have actually reported carefully, an F-35C of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 collapsed on the trip deck of USS Carl Vinson as well as sunk in the South China Sea on Jan. 24, 2022. When the mishap took place, 7 staff participants were wounded. The pilot of the F-35C expelled from the airplane securely as it entered into the water. In the days after the collision, an image of the F-35C drifting in the sea was dripped online, right away complied with by a video clip shot from the fantail as well as revealing the last secs prior to the goal. A couple of days later on, one more clip was dripped online and also uploaded on Reddit, revealing both the PLAT video camera video clip and also an additional viewpoint from the carrier’s island.

The clip revealed the Lightning II being available in with a swiftly raising sink price prior to the goal, which motivated the Landing Signal Officer (LSO) or “Paddles” to begin yelling on the radio “power” and after that “swing off, swing off” to advise the pilot to go as well as terminate the touchdown around quickly.

The following cooling minutes, revealed a ramp strike or a hefty and also extremely brief touchdown: the airplane struck the ship really hard, with the effect shredding off the primary touchdown equipment as well as triggering the F-35 to jump on the deck as well as striking it nose-first, prior to beginning to skid laterally while swallowed up in fires.

Surprisingly, the U.S. Navy has actually simply revealed for the very first time that a Growler was additionally harmed, in the aft body under the upright tail, in the trip deck event: according to a NAVAIR launch dated Apr. 18, 2022, an EA-18G appointed to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136, obtained the S9 skin in between the Y631 as well as Y645 formers (body framework) penetrated on the trip deck of USS Carl Vinson complying with the F-35C ramp strike.

While, the incident airframe was recuperated at a deepness of 2 miles, making use of a collection of cranes as well as a from another location run submarine that connected cable televisions to the F-35C (generally to avoid some international stars to place their hands on what might have made it through of the 5th generation airplane), the EA-18G was sent out to FRCSW (Fleet Readiness Center Southwest) at NASNI (Naval Air Station North Island), California, for residential repair services.

“Because of the command’s financial investments in the most recent upkeep and also remediation innovations as well as systems, the approximated fixing time will certainly be around 50 percent quicker than acquiring the Growler’s elements from the airplane’s initial maker, Boeing.”

The harmed Growler was sworn in by Fleet Readiness Center Southwest’s (FRCSW) on Feb. 15, 2022, as an in-service repair service (ISR), or a fixing that is managed outside of arranged upkeep.

“The fixing strategy is to get rid of the upright tail in order to eliminate the S9 and also S10 skins. We will certainly change the S9 skin as well as are intending to conserve the S10 skin after assessing it with a non-destructive evaluation (NDI),” Ehren Terbeek, F/A -18 Legacy and also E/F program supervisor stated.

“We will certainly require to NDI the Y631 previous to validate that there is no split, placed the skins back on and also position the upright tail back on. If we do not need to change the Y631 previous or the S10 skin it must be around 4,500 manhours or regarding 9 months.”

Terbeek claimed that the command will certainly make the Y645 previous utilizing its Flexible Manufacturing Cell (FMC) in Building 472, at NASNI (NAS North Island), California. It will certainly be the initial Growler component to be made on the FMC. The last, the very first of its kind, is included 6 computer system numerically managed (CNC) five-axis makers as well as a pallet system which are made by DMG-Mori and also Fastems, specifically. The FMC’s fixturing and also preprogrammed components were originally created to sustain F/A -18 Hornet boxer as well as the E-2/ C-2 airframe touchdown equipment.

The CNC makers can milling, grinding as well as transforming within one device as well as can be utilized on elements and also components made from light weight aluminum, titanium and also steel.

The Growler’s previous that requires to be made is constructed from light weight aluminum: it ought to take around 3 weeks and also a complete expense of 208K USD to produce the component. “Of that quantity regarding $107,000 would certainly be for non-recurring fees for prove-out, shows as well as modeling as a result of the reality this is the very first time it is being produced; plus product is $23,906,” Terbeek claimed.

About David Cenciotti David Cenciotti is a self-employed reporter based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder as well as Editor of “The Aviationist”, among the globe’s most renowned as well as review armed forces air travel blog sites. Because 1996, he has actually created for significant globally publications, consisting of Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and also several others, covering aeronautics, protection, battle, sector, knowledge, cyberwar as well as criminal offense. He has actually reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and also Syria, and also flown numerous fight aircrafts with various flying force. He is a previous 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a personal pilot and also a grad in Computer Engineering. He has actually created 5 publications as well as added to much more ones.

Photos Emerge Of Armed F-16 During Gear Emergency That Led To Belly Landing Recently

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F-16 Aviano emergency
The F-16CM of the 555th FS performs a low pass over Aviano AB on Mar. 2, 2022. Note the missing wheel. (All images credit:
Jesse Van Den Broek)

The aircraft was launching for a patrol mission over Eastern Europe when it lost a wheel and was forced to perform a belly landing.

As we have already reported, on Mar. 2, 2022, an F-16CM belonging to the 555th Fighter Squadron of the 31st Fighter Wing, based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, carried out a belly landing after experiencing a landing gear issue: the mishap Viper (as the Fighting Falcon is nicknamed within the pilot community) armed with Live missiles lost the left wheel of the main landing gear on take off.

The aircraft was forced to cancel its mission and later perform a successful, emergency gear-up landing at Aviano, that was caught on camera. However, before opting for the belly landing (that was deemed safer than attempting a landing with a missing wheel, that could cause the aircraft to veer off runway something you always want to avoid with an jet carrying live weapons), the aircraft was observed, with the gear and tailhook down, perform some passes over the base in northeastern Italy.

It was during one of those passes that a photographer took some photos of the aircraft, that show the crippled F-16 a few minutes before the successful emergency landing.

“On Mar. 2, a friend and I were on a trip to Aviano Air Base,” told us Dutch photographer Jesse Van Den Broek in an email. “At around 1PM the Carabinieri [Italian Military Police] came to us and told us we had to leave Immediately. When we were walking to the car of a friend of mine, I noticed the aircraft with its hook down while doing a low approach. So I immediately took several shots before we had to drive away. The moment we drove to the other side of the runway they closed down the entire road for all traffic. When we were near the other end of the runway we witnessed another low approach. After this one we left because we weren’t sure what the pilot wanted to do.”

Another photo taken from distance showing the crippled F-16 during the emergency that led to a belly landing.

Although Jesse didn’t see the aircraft on its final approach for the belly landing, he managed to take some shots of the F-16. “The quality of the pictures is pretty bad. But we were far away and in a hurry”, Jesse explain. Anyway, while not up to his usual standards (you can have a look at his shots on Instagram here), the photos are good enough to confirm that the airframe involved in the mishap was the serial #89-2035, the flagship of the 555th FS, in the standard enhanced Air Policing configuration: with Live AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, AN/ALQ-131 ECM pod and Sniper ATP (Advanced Targeting Pod), along with two fuel tanks.

Aviano F-16s are part of the contingent supporting Enhanced Vigilance Activity, the NATO-led mission launched as a consequence of the Ukrainian crisis.

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 five books and contributed to many more ones.

F-35C Ramp Strike Video Leaked Online

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F-35C ramp strike video
In the boxes: frames from the leaked video showing the F-35C as it hits the deck and skids sideways engulfed in flames.

The video shows the F-35C suffering a ramp strike before bursting in flames and skidding off the deck.

Video footage from the USS Carl Vinson’s  Pilot’s Landing Aid Television (PLAT) camera has just been leaked online, showing what happened to the F-35C of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 that crashed on January 24, 2022 and sunk in the South China Sea. In the days after the crash, a photo of the F-35C floating in the sea was leaked online, immediately followed by a video shot from the fantail and showing the last seconds before the touchdown. The U.S. Navy confirmed a few days later the authenticity of both the photo and video.

The video leaked today was posted on Reddit and shows both the PLAT camera video and another point of view from the aircraft carrier’s island. We can see the Lightning II coming in with a rapidly increasing sink rate just before the touchdown, which prompted the Landing Signal Officer (LSO) or “Paddles” to start screaming on the radio “power” and then “wave off, wave off” to instruct the pilot to abort the landing and go around immediately.

The next chilling moments, which according to the cameras happened at 16:30:30, show what seems to be a ramp strike or a very short and heavy landing. The quality of the video as it was recorded from a computer screen and the fact that it was recorded with some parallax do not give a very clear view. Either way, the aircraft hit very hard the ship, with the impact shredding off the main landing gear and causing the F-35 to bounce on the deck and hitting it nose-first, before starting to skid sideways while engulfed in flames.

As the aircraft carrier’s crew calls for the fire emergency, the video switches to the other camera, which shows the aftermath of the crash. The second camera’s footage begins as the LSO calls the pilot for more power on the final approach, before issuing the desperate “wave off”. The camera shows that the pilot bailed out as the aircraft went completely sideways in the middle of the deck and already engulfed in flames. The F-35 than proceeded out of control and fell straight in the sea, while some burning pieces flew towards other aircraft parked on the deck, with the emergency crew quickly intervening to put the fires out.

The user that posted the video on Reddit says that the video was not recorded by him/her, without specifying where it was obtained. The video shot from the fantail was first shared on Telegram, before becoming viral on Instagram and other socials. The U.S. Navy did not confirm the video’s authenticity yet, even if the footage appears to be consistent with the details about the incident that have surfaced so far.

Although there were many speculations concerning the root cause of the incident and how it unfolded, so far, no official statement has been released. The video adds some more evidence about what happened while the official investigation proceeds. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is working on the recovery of the 5th gen aircraft from the bottom of the sea.

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.

U.S. MH-60M Helicopter Used In Raid To Kill ISIS Leader in Syria Blown Up On The Ground By U.S. Forces

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MH-60 raid
The aftermath of the destruction of a MH-60M that suffered mechanical problems during the raid. (Photo: Anadolu Agency) In the box: UAV view of the target compound. (Photo: DoD)

What we know about the U.S. Special Forces raid on al-Qurayshi in Syria and the MH-60M helicopter destroyed on the ground because it was “not going to be usable” for the return flight.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced today the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the leader of the Islamic State militant group, happened during a Special Forces raid last night in Syria. The raid to take down al-Qurayshi, successor of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (killed during a raid in 2019), was being planned for months, with President Biden giving the final approval for the assault on February 1, 2022.

“Thanks to the bravery of our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said during an address to the nation this morning. “I’m grateful for the immense courage and skill and determination of our U.S. forces who skillfully executed this incredibly challenging mission. The members of our military are the solid steel backbone of this nation, ready to fly into danger at a moment’s notice to keep our country and the American people safe.”

A Defense Department official said that an air strike on the target was ruled out early in the planning because of the potential civilian casualties involved, as intelligence showed that the terrorist leader was living in a three-story building with an unrelated civilian family on the first floor. That, however, was not enough to prevent collateral damage, as al-Qurayshi detonated an explosive belt, destroying the building’s third floor and killing his family.

Following the explosion, the Special Forces were engaged in a gunfight with a ISIS top lieutenant who lived on the second floor with his family. The explosion and gunfight contributed to the number of women and children among the 13 reported casualties, which official said were not due to U.S. weaponry. Several children were evacuated from the second floor, along with the other civilian family on the first floor that was successfully evacuated at the beginning of the raid.

“I directed the Department of Defense to take every precaution possible to minimize civilian casualties, knowing that this terrorist had chosen to surround himself with families, including children,” Biden said in his remarks. “We made a choice to pursue a Special Forces raid at a much greater risk to our own people rather than targeting him with an airstrike. We made this choice to minimize civilian casualties.”

The operators were able to confirm the death of al-Qurayshi through fingerprints identified on-site, as well as DNA analysis from recovered remains, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. Officials said they have been tracking al-Qurayshi for months, as he was linked to numerous terrorist attacks, including the one at Kabul airport that resulted in the death of 13 U.S. servicemembers during last summer’s evacuation. According to the intelligence, he rarely left the compound in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province and used couriers to communicate with ISIS militants.

The counterterrorism operation happened after midnight and lasted more than two hours, according to the details released so far. A civilian who lives nearby the target compound, interviewed by the Washington Post, said that he heard helicopters arriving at around 1 am, followed by heavy gunfire and clashes that went on until around 4 am. Unconfirmed reports mentioned the presence of multiple AH-64E Apache, MH-47G Chinook and MH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. At least one unspecified Unmanned Aerial Vehicle was monitoring the area from above during the raid.

No details were released about which unit was involved in the raid, even if some unconfirmed sources suggested the raid was executed by the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D) commonly referred to as “Delta” in popular media. The U.S. forces did not report casualties, however, at the beginning of the operation, one of the helicopters was abandoned and destroyed away from the target compound.

Images and videos circulating online show the remains of a MH-60M of the 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment (SOAR) “Night Stalkers”, recognizable from its heavily modified nose which was less damaged in the explosion. There are conflicting reports about the destruction being carried out by troops on the ground with explosives or an air strike being ordered after the helicopter was abandoned, while some other reports mentions the initial destruction by ground forces and then a follow-on air strike.

Senior administration officials confirmed that the helicopter suffered a mechanical issue as it arrived near the target compound. After the insertion of the Special Forces, it was assessed that the specially modified MH-60 was “not going to be usable” for the return flight and the decision was made to fly it “well beyond any kind of visual range” and then detonate it. The helicopter did not suffer a crash of any kind and there aren’t reports about crew’s injuries, while sensitive items were removed before the destruction.

The number and helicopters and operators involved has not been disclosed. The raid, however, presents many similarities with the one in 2019 that resulted in the death of al-Baghdadi. In that occasion, about eight helicopters and between 50 to 100 operators were reported to be on target during the operation, assisted by fighter jets providing Close Air Support. It is possible that a similarly sized assault force was employed also on this raid, providing enough margin to evacuate the “grounded” crew and the operators that were on the doomed helicopter without substantial problems.

Actually, there are also some similarities with the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. As you will probably remember, one of the helicopters supporting the raid skittered around uncontrollably in the heat-thinned air as the package prepared to land near OBL’s compound forcing the pilot to crash-land. As it did, the tail and rotor hit on one of the OBL’s compound’s 12-foot walls. The helicopter was blown up but its tail rotor and other parts survived.

As the first images of the remains of one of the helicopters used by the U.S. Navy SEALs in the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, started to spread through the social media on May 2, 2011, aviation experts and enthusiasts around the world immediately noticed something pretty weird: those parts, didn’t seem to belong to any known type of chopper. Few hours later, on May 3, 2011, we posted an article to explain that the helicopter that had crashed in Pakistan had some stealthy features.

Indeed, the tail rotor had an unusual cover that could be anything from an armor plate to a noise reduction cover sheltering the motion-control technology used to input low-frequency variations of rotor blade pitch-angle, as tested by NASA; the blades were flatter, and not wing-shaped, whereas the paint job was extremely similar to the kind of anti-radar paint and Radar-Absorbing Material coating used by the most modern stealth fighters: nothing common to either Black Hawks, Chinooks or Apaches helicopters.

The saga of the “Stealth Black Hawk” had just begun, but that’s another story…

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.
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 five books and contributed to many more ones.

Video Allegedly Showing F-35C Mishap Landing On USS Carl Vinson Emerges

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F-35C video
A screenshot of the video supposedly showing the F-35C mishap on Jan. 24, 2022.

A new video filmed from the aircraft carrier fantail appears to show the F-35C doing short, heavy landing.

Yesterday we posted a photograph, believed to be genuine, showing the F-35C belonging to the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 and assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 floating in the water after it suffered a landing mishap that forced the pilot to eject and injured 7 sailors.

The image, leaked online was allegedly taken after the Lightning II jet had fallen from USS Carl Vinson, following the landing mishap that occurred on on Jan. 24, 2022.

The aircraft appeared to sport the VFA-147 markings, a missing canopy (the rear part, the one that embeds the explosive cord needed to shatter the canopy before the ejection seat activates, as the windscreen remains in place) and it was probably still floating moments before it started sinking in the South China Sea.

Now, a video has also emerged on Instagram and other social networks supposedly showing the final approach of the F-35C to the carrier. While it can’t be verified, the footage appears to be consistent with the details about the incident that have surfaced so far. According to the user who first uploaded it on Instagram, the clip first appeared on a Telegram channel.

The 17-second video shows the F-35C (apparently carrying two AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles on the external pylons) with landing gear and tailhook down approaching the fantail at the end of the base turn in what seems to be perfect weather and visibility. Then, as the aircraft is in short final, you can clearly hear the engine revving up as the pilot applied more thrust to counter the low altitude/high sink rate. The very last second shows the jet hitting the flight deck or ramp (it looks more like a heavy landing than a ramp strike but it’s difficult to say) with white smoke becoming visible before recording stops.

We can’t but notice how easily images and videos of the most recent Lightning II incidents at sea (as the F-35B failed take off in the Med Sea last November) are being leaked online these days. Anyway, until some official PLAT footage is eventually released by the Navy the clip below is the first and only allegedly showing the F-35C “landing mishap”.

H/T to our friend @Julien_Maire for sending this over to us.

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 five books and contributed to many more ones.

Photo Supposedly Showing The F-35C That Fell Into The Sea After Landing Mishap Leaked Online

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F-35C floating
The F-35C floating next to USS Carl Vinson in the image posted online (Author: unknown via Reddit)

The image shows the F-35C floating on water after falling from USS Carl Vinson.

An interesting image has been published on Reddit and across the various social networks on Jan. 27, 2022. It shows a pretty intact F-35C floating in the sea, with a missed canopy and ejection seat: the photograph, that appears to be genuine (although we can’t authenticate the image at this time), was allegedly taken after the Lightning II jet had fallen from USS Carl Vinson, following the landing mishap that occurred on on Jan. 24, 2022.

As we have already reported, the F-35C, belonging to the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 and assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 suffered a landing mishap that forced the pilot to eject and injured 7 sailors.

Although there were many speculations concerning the root cause of the incident and how it unfolded, so far, no official statement has been released.

The shot was probably taken moments before the F-35C aircraft started to sink into the waters of South China Sea, where the U.S. Navy plans to recover it in order to prevent China or Russia from putting their hands on sensitive parts of the precious 5th generation aircraft.

The leaked image (whose factual status could change in the future since, as explained, it can’t be verified) immediately brings back to the recent accident involving a British F-35B that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea after a failed take off from Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, on Nov. 24, 2021. As you will probably remember, a video taken from one of the cameras pointed towards the flight deck and showing the incident, was leaked online. A male crew member of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ship company was arrested for leaking the video online. In that mishap, the pilot successfully ejected and the airframe was recovered from the bottom of the sea: a photo of the wreckage of the F-35B recovered by a chartered salvage ship, was also leaked and started circulating online on Jan. 21, 2022.

It took two weeks to locate the wreck of the British F-35B and another week to bring it up, according to defence sources mentioned by British newspapers. As reported, the recovery effort was complicated by the location where the F-35 ditched, as it happened in open water with depths that can exceed, in some areas, over 3,000 meters (about 10,000 feet), and by rough sea conditions while the operations were taking place.

We don’t know how much effort the recovery of the U.S. Navy F-35C will require. But, as mentioned above, the sea service has already started the operations to retrieve the airframe so as to protect the technological secrets of its most advanced fighter.

H/T to @yo_arfi for the heads-up!

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 five books and contributed to many more ones.

Landing Mishap Aboard USS Carl Vinson: F-35C Pilot Ejects, 7 Sailors Injured

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F-35C landing mishap
n F-35C Lightning II, assigned to the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, prepares to land on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), June 17, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Caden Richmond)

An F-35C had a “landing mishap” on the deck of USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea.

USNI News was first to report about an incident that forced an F-35C pilot to eject and injured 7 sailors on Jan. 24, 2022. The U.S. Navy later confirmed that an F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, had a landing mishap on deck while USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea, on Jan. 24, 2022.

“An F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, had a landing mishap on deck while USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea, Jan. 24, 2022. The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via U.S. military helicopter. The pilot is in stable condition. There were seven total Sailors injured; three Sailors required MEDEVAC to a medical treatment facility in Manila, Philippines, and four were treated by on-board medical personnel. All three MEDEVACs are assessed as stable. Of the four Sailors treated by on-board medical, three have been released. Additional details and the cause of the inflight mishap is under investigation,” says the official USN press release.

The root cause of the incident is under investigation; the naval service did not disclose additional details on the status of the aircraft.

Although the unit the F-35C belonged to was not disclosed, we know that the only squadron embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson and flying the F-35C, the Carrier Variant of the Lightning II 5th generation aircraft, are the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147. In fact, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is operating in the South China Sea along with the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group: 10 U.S. Navy F-35Cs with the “Argonauts” based at NAS (Naval Air Station) Lemoore are embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson while 10 U.S. Marine Corps F-35Cs belonging to the “Black Knights” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 (VMFA-314) from MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) Miramar, California, are embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), on the first Marine F-35C squadron’s deployment aboard a carrier.

The landing mishap aboard USS Carl Vinson comes few weeks after a British F-35B crashed into the Mediterranean Sea after a failed take-off from Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The pilot successfully ejected and the airframe was recovered from the bottom of the sea.

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 five books and contributed to many more ones.

Photo Of The Recovered Wreckage Of The British F-35B Leaked Online

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F-35B recovered
The wreck of the F-35B as seen in the leaked photo. (Photo: anonymous source)

The aircraft has been recovered last month and it looks like it is still pretty much intact.

An image, taken by an unknown photographer, showing the wreckage of the British F-35B that ditched in the Mediterranean Sea and was recovered by a chartered salvage ship, was leaked and started circulating online on Jan. 21, 2022. As we already extensively reported, the aircraft crashed while taking off from the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier on November 17, 2021, as it couldn’t achieve enough speed to lift off reportedly because the engine ingested a “cheap plastic rain cover” or an air intake cover.

The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence announced on December 7 the completion of the operations for the recovery of the aircraft, which happened with the support of the Italian Navy and U.S. Navy. It took two weeks to locate the wreck and another week to bring it up, according to defence sources mentioned by British newspapers. The recovery effort was complicated by the location where the F-35 ditched, as it happened in open water with depths that can exceed, in some areas, over 3,000 meters (about 10,000 feet), and by rough sea conditions while the operations were taking place.

Looking at the photo, which shows the wreck upside down on the deck of the salvage ship as it was being transported to an unspecified port, it seems that the F-35B is still partly intact. Some panels are broken or missing, with the engine nozzle and vertical tail fins possibly broken too (they can’t be seen clearly), but the airframe was not made in pieces by the crash. As the leaked video showed, the F-35 left the ski jump with a very low speed, so the impact forces on the surface of the sea were not enough to detach major sections of the airframe.

This also confirms the official statements about all the wreckage being recovered and “no danger or compromise to sensitive equipment on the aircraft”. Even if the chances of another country finding and exploiting any of the plane’s remains were small, the UK MoD didn’t want to take any chances for a good reason. National Security Adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove, as reported by the UK Defence Journal, told the Commons Defence Committee on Dec. 6, 2021:

“The recovery of the flight data recorder and the wreckage are really vital for an accurate investigation to determine the causes of the crash. […] We are aware of Russian undersea capabilities, and you are quite right to identify them as being state of the art. The kinds of precautions and operations that we are undertaking at the moment are designed at least in part to ensure that the technology of the F-35B remains as confidential as you would like it to be. Those security aspects are very much at the top of our mind. My understanding is that the experts know where the aircraft is.”

Two F-35Bs during operations on the HMS Queen Elizabeth. (Photo: Royal Navy)

It is worth noting, however, that while the aircraft might appear somehow intact, the damage done by salt water while the aircraft was submerged for weeks might have made unusable most of the aircraft’s systems, reducing the risks of adversaries gathering useful data in the hypothetical event they managed to get to the wreck before the Royal Navy.

The lost F-35B was identified as ZM152, with modex 018 and construction number BK18, and the leaked photo appears to confirm this, as the serial can be seen near the tail despite the quality of the image. The aircraft was reportedly one of the most recently delivered British F-35B, with its first flight reported in June 2019. The same info was also found in the F-35 aircraft database hosted by the website F-16.net.

The photo was initially posted on Twitter by few users who later removed it claiming that they were not involved in taking the photo in the first place nor being the first to leak it online. The photo is however still being shared on Reddit, Facebook and other socials. The fact that many users later deleted the photo might be related to the consequences of the leak of the crash video, which led a male crew member of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ship company to be arrested.

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.

Here’s What the Massive An-225’s Wake Turbulence Does To Fog

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An-225 landing
A screenshot of the video embedded in the story showing the landing of the Mriya at Rzeszów on Jan. 9, 2022. (Image credit: Marcin Bobro)

Watch the effect of the giant Antonov An-225 Mriya on fog during final approach.

The only Antonov An-225 strategic airlift cargo aircraft made its fifth landing at the Rzeszów airport in Poland on Sunday Jan. 9, 2022. The aircraft damaged its landing gear during the touchdown.

“On January 9, 2022, while the AN-225 aircraft landing at Rzeszów airport, Poland, on a starboard main landing gear strut the bolts fixing the landing gear position sensor “flight-ground” were damaged. The detected malfunction did not affect the safety of flight and landing of aircraft. After replacement of the damaged bolts, the aircraft will be fully operational. The AN-225 will continue its commercial flight,” an official Antonov company release said.

Antonov’s maintainers came to Rzeszów flying an An-26, and proceeded  with the necessary repairs.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya (NATO reporting name: Cossack) was designed at the end of Cold War. The main purpose of the aircraft was to carry the Soviet “Buran” space shuttle and parts of the “Energia” rocket on its back.

The aircraft landed at Rzeszów to bring aluminum castings ordered by a company located in Lesser Poland. Mriya is regularly engaged in transport operations, bringing goods ordered by Polish businesses from China.

Konrad Wołos Director for the Operations at the Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport, speaking to Radio Rzeszów, said that it is not a major challenge for the airport to accommodate an aircraft of this size, as the Rzeszów airport has hosted the An-124 Ruslan multiple times in the past.

The video below gives one an insight into the massive wake turbulence that the An-225 creates. Flying the short final, the aircraft simply cleared the fog behind it, creating a big “hole in the sky”. The Antonov, together with the Airbus A380-800, belongs to the FAA’s Super-Heavy weight class – Code J for the FAA Aircraft Weight Class Table.

Here’s what we wrote about the wake turbulence in a previous post on the An-225 we posted at The Aviationist:

Generally speaking, wake turbulence is a disturbance in the atmosphere that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air. It is made of various components, the most important of which are jetwash and wingtip vortices.

Wingtip vortices form because of the difference in pressure between the upper and lower surfaces of a wing. When the air leaves the trailing edge of the wing, the air stream from the upper surface is inclined to that from the lower surface, and helical paths, or vortices, result. The vortex is strongest at the tips and decreasing rapidly to zero nearing midspan: at a short distance from the trailing edge downstream, the vortices roll up and combine into two distinct cylindrical vortices that constitute the “tip vortices.”

The tip vortices trail back from the wing tips and they have a tendency to sink and roll toward each other downstream of the wing. Although they eventually dissipate at a certain distance from the wing, wingtip vortices cause additional downflow behind the wing and form the major component of wake turbulence that can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, there is a number of separation criteria for take-off, landing and en-route phases of flight based upon Wake turbulence categories. ATC (Air Traffic Control) agencies sequence aircraft departing or landing regard to these minima and aircraft making a visual approach are advised of the relevant recommended spacing and are expected to maintain their own separation.

Needless to say, the greater the size of the aircraft, the more intense the wake turbulence it generates. This turbulence can be so severe to make an aircraft flying nearby or in the path of a larger one, crash.

Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.

South Korean F-35A Performs Belly Landing Due To ‘Avionic System Issues’

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ROKAF F-35A
File photo of the first ROKAF’s F-35A during its first flight in 2018 (Image credit: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Photo by Angel DelCueto)

It’s the first known gear-up landing of an F-35.

An F-35A of the ROKAF (Republic Of Korea Air Force) carried out an emergency landing at 12.51 PM on Jan. 4, 2022, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

According to the report, the 5th generation aircraft was involved in a training mission when an avionic system issues forced the pilot to carry out a gear up landing at Seosan airbase, 151 kilometers southwest of Seoul. The emergency apparently marked the type’s first ever belly landing.

“Before the landing, the Air Force mobilized a fire engine to apply special foam on the runway, which prevented the jet’s fuselage from sustaining any serious damage,” Yonhap reported. While the real extent of the damage to the aircraft has not been revealed, the mishap left the pilot unharmed.

A joint investigation with Lockheed Martin will determine the root cause of the incident; meanwhile, ROKAF will suspend all of its F-35A fighters pending the probe.

The Republic of Korea selected the F-35 at the end of its F-X III fighter acquisition program with the signing of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. and Korean governments on Sept. 30, 2014. So far, ROKAF has received more than 30 aircraft out of 40 ordered F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant jets. In December 2017, South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration established a process for procuring the 20 additional aircraft, the Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple government sources.

The first F-35A for the ROKAF, known as aircraft AW-1, took flight in Fort Worth, Texas, in March 2018. In the same year, the first F-35A was delivered to Luke AFB, Arizona, for pilot training while in 2019, the first F-35As were delivered to their permanent base in South Korea.

The ROKAF’s 17th Fighter Wing and its two child units, the 151 Fighter Squadron and 152 Fighter Squadron, operate the F-35 out of Cheongju Air Base, southeast of Seoul.

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 five books and contributed to many more ones.