A Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II fighter jet was involved in a landing mishap during a test flight at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, Texas.
Video footage of the incident shows that the pilot ejected successfully while the aircraft was sliding down the runway following the collapse of the nose gear.
Lockheed Martin uses the runway at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base for testing, and the aircraft in question was not yet delivered to the US military.
The video, filmed by a bystander, shows the aircraft descending gently for landing before bouncing off the runway. The aircraft’s nose then pitched down and the nose gear collapsed, sending the jet sliding forward and spinning slowly.
The ejection occurred approximately ten seconds after the collapse of the landing gear, indicating that the pilot likely attempted to regain control of the aircraft, but failed to do so.
The incident happened at approximately 10:15 AM CST (16:15 GMT) on December 15, 2022, NBC DFW reports.
Coincidentally, the date was the 16th anniversary of the maiden flight of the F-35A, the conventional take-off and landing variant of the F-35. The prototype of the jet first took off on December 15, 2006, and was later modified with vertical take-off and landing equipment of the F-35B.
“We are aware of the F-35B crash on the shared runway at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth and understand that the pilot ejected successfully. Safety is our priority, and we will follow appropriate investigation protocol,” a statement by Lockheed Martin, quoted by NBC, reads.
In a separate statement, the chief of the Arlington Police Department confirmed that the pilot was safe following the ejection.
The incident bears comparison to another that occurred on December 2, 2022. The nose gear of a US Marine Corps F-35B collapsed as the aircraft was being towed after an emergency landing at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa Island, Japan.