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South Korean F-35A fighter plane makes emergency “belly landing”

 | Local News

South Korean F-35A fighter plane makes emergency “belly landing”

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According to experts, the “prone landing” – landing with the landing gear retracted – was an unprecedented event for the US-designed $ 100 million stealth fighter currently in use or ordered by more than a dozen countries.

“The plane made an emergency landing because the landing gear did not extend. This would mean the plane made the prone landing,” said a South Korean military official, who did not did not confirm whether the aircraft sustained any damage during the incident.

Even if it did, it would demonstrate superb flying skills on the part of the pilot, who officials said moved away from the landing, according to a South Korean military official.

“A landing with the landing gear on the F-35 can be quite difficult and dangerous due to the aircraft’s angle of attack as it approaches touchdown,” said David Cenciotti, former officer. of the Italian Air Force and editor of The Aviationist blog.

“The F-35 lands really fast. It’s not an F-16, 18 or 111,” said Peter Layton, a former Australian Air Force officer now at the Griffith Asia Institute, referring to older and less sophisticated military planes than the F-35.

“I am very surprised that the emergency exit systems have not worked or have not been used,” he said.

Layton also expressed surprise that the South Korean pilot did not eject, “but clearly they did the right thing,” he said.

An investigation into the incident was underway, South Korean officials said.

South Korea received its first US-made F-35 in 2019 as part of a first order for 40 single-engine jets, according to the plane’s manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Versions of the F-35 are also flown by the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps as well as US allies and partners including Japan, UK, Australia, Italy, Norway, Netherlands and Israel. More and more countries have orders for the jet.

Tuesday’s crash is the first for a South Korean F-35, but jets have been implicated in at least eight other incidents, according to records maintained by the F-16.net website.

The most recent of these is the loss of a British F-35, which crashed in the Mediterranean Sea off the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in November. The pilot ejected safely from this aircraft.
In May 2020, the pilot ejected safely when a US Air Force F-35 crashed while landing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The Air Force attributed the accident to various factors involving the pilot and the aircraft’s systems.
In April 2019, a Japanese F-35 crashed in the Pacific Ocean off northern Japan, killing its pilot. The Japanese military attributed the crash to spatial disorientation, “a situation in which a pilot cannot correctly detect the position, attitude, altitude or movement of an aircraft,” according to the Military Medicine journal.

Lockheed Martin says the F-35 “is the deadliest, toughest and most connected fighter jet in the world, giving pilots an advantage over any adversary and allowing them to carry out their mission and return home safe and sound “.

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