Lockheed Martin F-35B Crashes In Texas


An F-35B Lightning II crashed while landing at Texas’ Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth on Thursday. The pilot ejected after the aircraft touched down and is believed to be in good condition. The accident occurred at approximately 10:15 a.m. local time.

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 production line is located at Air Force Plant 4, an Air Force-owned facility adjacent to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. The accident aircraft, which Lockheed Martin has not yet transferred to the U.S. government, was reportedly being flown by a government employee on a test flight. An investigation is underway.

“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,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement. “Safety is our priority, and we will follow appropriate investigation protocol.”

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. On my count that is three unexplained crashes of F-35s. Could be a problem. At least with this one they should be able to tear it down to see what went wrong.

  2. Something with the thrust vectoring that seemed to toss this plane onto it’s nose after an initial touch down. Great ejection of the pilot. Hope he is OK.

  3. It looks like the pilot would have been better off if he (or she) had not ejected but I was not the PIC. The plane looked like it was not damaged that much but the pilot might have thought that he (or she) would be trapped if it was going to tip over after the first pogo and ground loop. Looks light the front fan thrust was lost after the first bounce.

    • Agree. The event was all but over when he punched out but he had no way to know what would happen next. It’s possible the crash would have been much worse with some unsurvivable event ensuing.

  4. One has to wonder why the power was not shut down after a more or less successful initial landing. Why was there still so much thrust being generated. I guess that was the problem, run a way throttles.

  5. Chopping the throttle? You think the pilot was directly connected to the engine? Bet’cha the computer was flying the airplane. The oscillations in ground effect are far too rapid for a mere human to control. PIO’s would almost always lead to a crash.

    • The whole evolution is computer controlled.

      Looked slightly fast on the decent, with more than a slight bounce on contact.

      Once the WOW switch made contact, computer cut the fan. With the bounce and the fan cut, engine nozzle pushes the nose over and nose gear is liberated.

      With that, the PIC (i.e. the computer) gets confused. “Wait, what are we trying to attempt here? A landing? We just completed the landing. Why are we off the deck? Are we attempting a flyaway? Throttle up then. Wait, we’re on deck, again, move away from the LA, vector forward(with a missing nose gear) Why is the passenger attempting a engine shut down. We need POWER, not cut ….wait a sec, where’d the passenger go?

      • Speaking of computer controlled… the F-35B has an automatic ejection seat mode. Under very specific conditions the computer it will eject the pilot on its own. Something about a lift-fan failure would invert the aircraft faster than the pilot could react. But don’t quote me.

        The point being is that there’s a computer mixed in with the human OODA loop. Very much looking forward to an explanation for this accident. But since it involves a military aircraft, how much will be made public?

  6. Better picture of jet here:


  7. It is almost like he could not get the engine to shut down at all, and looks like the fan kicked back in again to spin it around to the right towards the end. Maybe his ejection is the only thing that shut down the entire system.

    • Looking at Google Earth you can see where the camera angle is from. Looks like the Jet was heading for a rather large drainage ditch before he punched out.

  8. Maybe he said that the thing, with a mind of its own, “I’m getting the hell out of here before it flips and explodes.” But I guessing since he is a factory test pilot with those planes, he would have fixed the problem in the few seconds he had available…if he could. And if it decided to go past about the ejection attitude it was in at that moment, the ejection would have just fired him across the ground or into it. That was still a hard landing for him from the swing of the parachute. Hope no broken ankles and such.

  9. The F-35B is an inherently dangerous aircraft in many respects and will always have a high accident rate. That this one happened to a factory test pilot underscores that fact. The conversation above sets forth a probable accident scenario here.

  10. I’m glad the pilot was ok and no one was hurt.
    But foremost I’m glad that it was not a government owned plane yet and that the American taxpayer doesn’t have to foot the bill. These things are not cheap.

  11. I see all the armchair accident investigators have solved this already. I’m amazed that the pros who do that for a living are still employed when there are so many people doing it for free. They’re easy to spot. They’re the ones who will whine and snarl because I suggested that they aren’t qualified to pontificate and should wait until the official investigation has concluded…or at least until the wreckage stops smoking.