A puzzling state of affairs has emerged in South Carolina as an F-35B pilot ejected from their plane, leaving the superior stealth fighter lacking. The incident occurred north of Joint-Base Charleston, with the pilot touchdown safely in a Charleston neighborhood underneath a parachute and in secure situation. Nonetheless, the whereabouts of the ejected F-35B stay unknown.
The F-35B originated from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and was a part of a two-ship flight, with the opposite F-35B safely touchdown at MCAS Beaufort. The circumstances resulting in the ejection are undisclosed. The seek for the lacking plane is at the moment underway within the Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion areas.
Primarily based on the jet’s last-known place and in coordination with the FAA, we’re focusing our consideration north of JB Charleston, round Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion.
— Joint Base Charleston (@TeamCharleston) September 17, 2023
Not the First Time it Occurs
Remarkably, fighter plane persevering with to fly autonomously after a pilot ejects is just not unprecedented. Historic instances embody the “Cornfield Bomber” and a Soviet MiG-23. These occurrences typically end result from the plane’s momentum and weight distribution:
The lacking F-35B, regardless of being shorter-ranged, may have coated important distances on autopilot relying on its gasoline state. The dearth of stories of a crash suggests it might have gone down in a sparsely populated space, making detection difficult. Moreover, points with the jet’s avionics and its stealthy configuration might complicate monitoring efforts.
The absence of a working transponder on the F-35B additional hinders finding the plane. Joint Base Charleston has solicited public help to find the jet, which has garnered shock and criticism.
In response, an Air Drive Particular Operations Command HC-130J is conducting a search sample from Lake Marion to the North Carolina border, with state police helicopters additionally concerned within the search. The U.S. Marine Corps has initiated a security stand-down for its total aviation fleet following latest aviation mishaps to deal with security protocols and operational requirements.
Further plane are looking to the northwest of lakes, these embody Cessna 182 with the Civil Air Patrol and a DoD King Air 200: pic.twitter.com/RXcxsAxiZL
— Tyler Rogoway (@Aviation_Intel) September 18, 2023
Each the Joint Program Workplace and Lockheed Martin have pledged help for the investigation into the lacking F-35B. Whereas the pilot’s security stays paramount, the seek for the superior fighter continues, elevating questions on its configuration, avionics, and the challenges of monitoring a stealth plane in these circumstances.
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