F-35A crash at Hill Air Force Base caused by device error, report says

Jul 27, 2023, 2:00 PM

F-35A crash...

An F-35 from the 388th crashed at the north end of the runway at Hill Air Force Base Wednesday evening. The pilot was able to eject. (Tyler Okelberry)

(Tyler Okelberry)

CLEARFIELD, Utah — The Air Combat Command released their investigation findings of the F-35A fighter jet that crashed late last year at Hill Air Force Base.

The pilot survived the crash by safely ejecting from the 388th Fighter Wing at the north end of the runway at Hill Air Force Base in October of 2022. The pilot sustained minor injuries, and the jet, valued at around $166.3 million, was destroyed on impact.

According to the report, the incident started when a four-ship formation flight was returning to the base from a training event. The F-35A pilot was in line to be the third to land when their jet became affected by the jet in front of them in an event known as wake turbulence.

The report said the wake turbulence made the F-35A start to rumble, which in turn affected a device the jet uses to read information.

Because of that, the report said, the pilot’s controls stopped working properly. The pilot tried to take back control but ultimately ejected from the jet.

“Debris from the crashed F-35A fanned out, with most of the aircraft impacting within the airfield boundaries,” said the report.

The accident investigation board president found that air data system errors immediately before landing caused the crash. That effort caused the jet to depart from a controlled flight, and there was no opportunity to recover.

The report also found that the pilot’s actions were a factor in the crash. According to the report, the pilot didn’t follow the procedure for that situation. Following the procedure would have put more distance between the F-35A and the jet that was affecting it. 

You can read the full released investigation of the F-35A crash here.


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F-35A crash at Hill Air Force Base caused by device error, report says