USAF F-35 crashes and explodes in flames at end of runway near Salt Lake City base after pilot ejected from $10 million fighter jet
- The 388th Fighter Wing, based in Utah, confirmed on Wednesday that an F-35 had crashed at the end of the runway
- The pilot of the $10 million fighter jet that ejected safely, the USAF said in a tweet, and emergency services responded
- The cause of the crash has yet to be determined: Photos of the scene showed smoke billowing into the sky
A $10 million fighter jet crashed in Utah shortly after takeoff and caught fire after the pilot ejected.
The 388th Fighter Wing confirmed the accident in a tweet on Wednesday and said emergency services were responding.
“An F-35 from the 388th crashed on the north side of the runway. Pilot ejected. Emergency services are responding,” they said.
The accident happened near Hill Air Force Base, 30 miles north of downtown Salt Lake City.
Large plumes of smoke were seen where the F-35 crashed just outside Salt Lake City
On Wednesday, flames were seen from the crashed plane in Utah
An F-35 can be seen in action. The Hill Air Force Base is the second largest in the United States Air Force
The crash was visible for miles in Utah
The base tweeted: “The pilot was ejected, recovered and taken to the local medical center for observation.
The cause of the crash is unknown and will be investigated. More information will be provided as it becomes available.’
Last week, the Air Force Base announced it would conduct the “first of its kind, F-35 crash recovery course here,” which they said used a recently retired, now-reassembled F-35A Lightning II.
They said the five-day course included 29 maintainers from across the F-35 program, sister services and F-35 partner countries.
The training covered how to safely and effectively handle a variety of scenarios, such as nose wheel collapse, pilot pulling out, and aircraft hoisting.
“This training is invaluable to not only our US military, but also our partner countries flying the F-35,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Wilkow, instructor and one of the course designers.
“Unfortunately, accidents occasionally happen, so staff are well trained in recovery procedures and how to perform these tasks safely.”
Smoke can be seen from the crash site, 30 miles from downtown Salt Lake City
Pilot was ejected safely from $10 million fighter jet and taken to hospital for evaluation
Training for these “worst-case” scenarios requires an aircraft that can be roughed up a bit, he said.
“It’s simply impossible to lift an operational jet fighter with a crane, collapse the forward landing gear and then lower the nose of the aircraft to the ground without significant risk of damaging it,” Wilkow said.
‘Real-world, hands-on training is best achieved using a repurposed demonstration airframe.’
Hill Air Force Base is an Air Force Materiel Command base.
It is the Air Force’s second largest base in terms of population and geographic size.
Hill Air Force Base employs 21,938 people (5,014 military personnel, 14,263 civilians, and 1,600 contractors).
The airspace is located on more than 2.3 million acres of land and contains the largest block of overland contiguous special-use airspace in the continental United States.