F-35 Pilot Was Disoriented When His Jet Hit the Water at More Than 683 MPH

Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Security,

A true tragedy. 

F-35 Pilot Was Disoriented When His Jet Hit the Water at More Than 683 MPH

Japan’s air force said on Jun. 10, 2019 “spatial disorientation” likely caused one of its pilots to fly his F-35 stealth fighters into the Pacific Ocean in April, hitting the water at more than 1,100 kph (683 mph).

According to Reuters the Lockheed Martin jet disappeared from radar screens during an exercise with three other F-35s over the ocean off northwest Japan on Apr. 9. The 41-year-old pilot was killed.

“We believe it highly likely the pilot was suffering from vertigo or spatial disorientation and wasn’t aware of his condition,” Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told a briefing.

“It can affect any pilot regardless of their experience.”

By dismissing mechanical or software problems as a cause for the advanced fighter’s crash, Japan’s assessment is likely to come as a relief to other countries that operate or plan to introduce the jet, including the U.S., Britain and Australia.

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