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F-35 Lightning Fighter Jet Crashes Near Albuquerque International Airport

Second crash of an F-35 in a year. The pilot survived the crash but was seriously injured, according to officials.

Update, 5/29/24: An F-35 Fighter jet has crashed into a hillside in New Mexico. The fighter jet went down near International Sunport in Albuquerque while travelling to an Air Force base in California. The pilot survived the crash but was seriously injured, according to officials.

5.28: Emergency crews are on the scene after a military F-35 fighter jet crashed near Albuquerque International Airport, causing a huge explosion with dust rising into the air. Witnesses saw a large fireball and black smoke rising in the sky, followed by dozens of emergency vehicles heading to the scene.

Local media report that the F-35 fighter jet appeared to have issues shortly after takeoff, but there is no official word yet on what caused the crash. The pilot reportedly ejected and is being treated for possible injuries.

F-35 Lightning Fighter on the tarmac.

The exact cause of the crash remains unknown, reportedly, the plane was taking off to be serviced, flown by a defense contract management agency pilot. The pilot ejected, with local KOB4 reporting that they have been taken to the hospital “conscious and breathing."

The most recent crash of a U.S. F-35 occurred on Sept. 17, 2023, when a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B crashed in South Carolina after the pilot ejected due to a malfunction. The aircraft continued flying for about 60 miles before crashing in a field near Indiantown, South Carolina. The incident led to a day-long search for the wreckage, which was eventually found in a field.

Previously, on Dec. 15, 2022, an F-35B crashed during a vertical landing at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas. The F-35B involved in that crash was Lockheed-owned (hence not yet delivered to/accepted by the final customer). –The Aviationist

With at least 17 crashes while operated by various air forces, the plane has seen over 29 total crashes since introduction in 2006, with reportedly 10 destroyed planes and one pilot fatality.

In the past year, from May '23 to May '24, Lockheed Martin reported F-35 flight time increased from 660k to 840k hours, and sorties rose from 394k to 505k. Each plane costs an estimated $80 million to $100 million, with over 990 delivered in the past 17 years.


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