Accident Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II 12-5053, Tuesday 19 May 2020
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Date:Tuesday 19 May 2020
Time:21:26 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic F35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II
Owner/operator:US Air Force (USAF)
Registration: 12-5053
MSN: AF-64
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Eglin AFB (VPS), FL -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, FL (VPS/KVPS)
Destination airport:Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, FL (VPS/KVPS)
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On the night of 19 May 2020 at 2126L, the aircraft, an F-35A, crashed on runway 30 at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida. The aircraft was operated out of Eglin AFB, FL by the 58th Fighter Squadron (FS), 33rd Operations Group (OG), assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing. The pilot ejected safely but sustained nonlife threatening injuries. The aircraft rolled, caught fire, and was completely destroyed.
The pilot set and held 202 knots calibrated airspeed (KCAS) throughout the approach and landing. The aircraft touched down approximately 50 KCAS fast, and was approximately 8 degrees more shallow than desired for landing, at a 5.2 degree Angle of Attack. The aircraft landing lasted approximately five seconds before the pilot ejected.
The nose of the aircraft drove down at a high rate of speed and the nose gear contacted the runway immediately after the main landing gear. Next, the aircraft experienced a significant nose-high bounce. After the initial bounce, the pilot made stick inputs consistent with an attempt to recover and set a landing attitude. However, the pilot’s stick inputs quickly fell out of synch with the aircraft pitch oscillations and aircraft control cycles. Two seconds after touch down, the pilot set and held aft stick, which would normally bring the nose of the aircraft up. Approximately one second after commanding aft stick the pilot also commanded full afterburner on his throttle. Both of those actions are consistent with an attempt to establish an attitude that would have allowed the aircraft to take off and go-around for another landing attempt. The horizontal stabilizers remained in full deflection down, which would tend to keep the nose of the aircraft down, despite the pilot holding aft stick for three seconds. After being unsuccessful in the attempt to go-around after multiple and progressively worsening bounces, the pilot released the stick to eject.

The AIB President found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the mishap was caused first, by the aircraft touching down at 202 KCAS, and second, by the aircraft flight control surfaces, namely the tail of the aircraft, conflicting with the pilot inputs upon landing, resulting in the pilot’s inability to recover from the aircraft oscillation. The AIB President also found by a preponderance of the evidence that four additional factors substantially contributed to the mishap. The substantially contributing factors are: the pilot landed with Speed Hold engaged and using an alternate crosscheck method, the pilot Helmet Mounted Display misalignment distracted the pilot during a critical phase of flight, pilot experienced cognitive degradation due to fatigue, and the pilot lacked systems knowledge on flight control logic.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report



Revision history:

20-May-2020 06:06 gerard57 Added
20-May-2020 06:11 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
20-May-2020 06:16 Iceman 29 Updated [Phase, Narrative]
20-May-2020 10:23 Captain Adam Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport]
20-May-2020 12:21 Aerossurance Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
07-Oct-2020 09:57 edk94 Updated [Registration, Source, Embed code]
07-Oct-2020 10:03 harro Updated [Time, Phase, Narrative, Accident report]
28-Oct-2020 12:06 rvargast17 Updated [Registration, Cn, Accident report]
27-May-2022 08:14 TB Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport]

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