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Planes. Two accidents in 4 days: Eglin's US base stops

Over 180 million dollars go down the drain

An F-35A aircraft crashed during the night landing, 21:30 LT, on the US base in Eglin, Florida, home to the largest electronic warfare and simulated bombing range in the United States. AVIONEWS recalls that it was the second flight accident in 4 days that involved fifth generation fighter aircraft operating on the Eglin Air Force base. Previously an F-22 had crashed to the ground during an exercise in the gigantic shooting range that surrounds the base to the east and where, almost unique in the world, pilots are allowed to perform supersonic flights at very low altitude.

The departments of the two aircraft are different, the type of accident is different and thus also probably the causes. Several aircraft, but despite this, the command of the Eglin base has decided to stop all flight operations for what it has called a "safety rest", ie a period of 1-2 days in which all flight procedures will be reviewed used by the various flight departments operating on the base in Florida. In Eglin, AVIONEWS recalls, there is also the detachment of the Air Force which prepares Italian pilots for use on the F-35.

Different, the operating conditions in which the accidents occurred but which in both cases allowed the pilots to eject safely. In fact, both airmen reported only minor injuries due to the launch and impact with the ground after the descent with the parachute. The F-22 was, from the news collected by AVIONEWS, one of the models that entered service first with limited software capabilities, and used essentially for the training of pilots. The accident occurred while the aircraft was inside the shooting range in all probability in a phase of operational maneuvers that simulate an air combat. The fact that the pilot launched himself safely indicates that the accident should have occurred at medium/high altitude, and that the dangerous situation was clear and left the pilot the time to eject after trying to regain control of the plane itself.

The accident at the F-35A that was, as reported by various newspapers of the American Air Force, in the landing phase, therefore completely different, therefore with a stabilized flight and in all probability already with the undercarriage and the flaps extended. Even in this case, however, the fact that the pilot launched himself seems to indicate that the inconvenience was detected by the pilot, who assessed that he could not regain control of the aircraft also due to the low flight altitude. Two separate investigations have been initiated by the American Air Force to go into the details of the incidents, above all, AVIONEWS said, for the purpose of prevention. Both planes are equipped with flight data recorders and on-board system operation, which will certainly be recovered and will allow the last stages of the controlled flight of the two fighters to be reconstructed in detail.

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© AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl
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