News

October 11, 2018
 

After crash, Pentagon says temporary pause in F-35 flights

Tags:
by Lolita C. Baldor
Associated Press
Photo by Staff Sgt. Kate Thornton

The Pentagon on Oct. 11 ordered a temporary pause in all F-35 fighter jet flights in order to inspect the fleet in the wake of a crash last month in South Carolina.

The decision involves a potentially bad fuel tube and affects more than 250 U.S.-owned jets, as well as nearly 100 that belong to other nations including Britain. About half the F-35s are believed to have the faulty tube, and they include aircraft owned by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

According to Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman, some of the fighter jets have been inspected and are flying again.

The decision temporarily halted combat operations by Marines, who began conducting airstrikes against Taliban targets in Afghanistan the day before the crash. The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fly different versions of the stealthy fighter. Officials said they were not able to confirm if the Marine planes were able yet to resume operations.

A Marine F-35B crashed into an uninhabited marsh island near the Grays Hill community in South Carolina on Sept. 28. The Marine pilot safely ejected before the crash.

During the crash investigation, certain fuel tubes were identified as a potential problem, largely involving aircraft built before 2015. Until 2015, two companies manufactured the tubes, and the problem involves just one of them. If the aircraft has those particular tubes, they will be replaced. If the aircraft has good fuel tubes, it will be allowed to begin immediately flying again.

The F-35 program office said the inspections should be completed in one or two days. Depending on the availability of parts, the fuel tube can be replaced quickly.

John Thomas, spokesman for engine-maker Pratt & Whitney, based in Connecticut, said the company is supporting the Marine Corps investigation into the crash. Because of the ongoing investigation, he said he had no comment on the specifics of the flight disruption.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Air Force senior leaders update OCP uniform guidance

The Air Force announced April 23 new rules on Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms that aim to better fit the needs of Airmen and the jobs they do while also holding fast to tradition. The changes highlighted include authori...
 
 

New Squadron Commander’s Course at D-M

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Blake Gonzales Col. Barton Kenerson, 355th Maintenance Group commander, welcomes a class to the Squadron Commander Course at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 17, 2019. Col. Ken...
 
 

Vice President stops by Davis-Monthan

Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Cheyenne A. Powers U.S. Vice President Mike Pence greets the Desert Lightning Team during a quick visit with the DLT prior to his immersion with Customs and Border Protection at Davis-Month...