During a training flight on March 15, 2021, an F-22 Raptor was affected by an unspecified emergency. The pilot decided to abort the flight and make an emergency landing. Upon landing at Eglin Air Force Base, the front landing gear broke and the plane ended up with its nose down on the runway. The pilot did not eject from the aircraft.
The F-22 Raptor involved in the incident belonged to the 325th Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force, originally based at Tyndall Air Force Base, also in Florida. However, since Tyndall Air Force Base was damaged by Hurricane Michael in October 2018, Eglin also took over the training of F-22 pilots in addition to housing the Formal Training Unit for the F-35 Lightning II.
“Fire crews responded immediately and the pilot was transported to flight medicine for an evaluation,” Eglin Air Force Base wrote in a statement. “An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the mishap is underway.”
It is the second crash of an F-22 in the United States in less than a year. On May 15, 2020, a Raptor belonging to the same wing crashed during a routine training flight above Eglin’s test and training range. The pilot was able to eject safely.
This time, however, the F-22 Raptor does not appear to be damaged beyond repair, which is a plus given its immeasurable value. The USAF has only 187 copies of the fighter jet and no possibility to acquire more. The assembly lines were dismantled in 2011, and most of the tools have been reassigned to the F-35 program. If the USAF were to lose one aircraft under current conditions, it would not be able to replace it.