On Thursday morning, a Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II fighter jet crash-landed at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. As a result, the pilot had to eject from the aircraft, reports a Dallas Fort Worth NBC affiliate. Footage of the incident was shared on Twitter.
Lockheed Martin detailed the incident through a statement. “We are aware of the F-35B crash on the shared runway at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth and understand that the pilot ejected successfully,” they explained. “Safety is our priority, and we will follow appropriate investigation protocol.”
On Thursday afternoon, Lockheed Martin confirmed that a pilot had ejected from a fighter jet at their facility which shares the north-south 18/36 runway with the joint reserve base. They have yet to give any update on the condition of the pilot.
A Pentagon spokesman stated that the Military Aircraft Crash was being flown by a Lockheed manufacturer at the time of the accident, even though it had not been transferred to government yet. Pentagon spokesman Air Force Gen. Pat Ryder said that the pilot had ejected from the plane safely but could not provide information about their condition.
The F-35B jet can land like a helicopter
Christopher Cook, White Settlement Chief of Police stated that they received a call at 10:15 by U.S. Navy Police and Lockheed Martin requesting aid to clear people away from a road near a runway. Officials were in the process of investigating an aircraft incident when the call was made.
Cook reports that the pilot of a Lockheed-owned jet ejected, and both the seat and parachute were visible near the aircraft. The jet came to rest on the southwest side of the runway, close to White Settlement Road and Spur 341/Lockheed Boulevard. “You never want to get that call that there is an aircraft down,” Cook explained. “We have a very fond spot in our community for the military. White Settlement is a military community.”
The B variant of the aircraft is able to land similarly to a helicopter. Local news filmed the aircraft landing vertically on Thursday morning. However, after it landed, the tail end pitched up too much which then drove the nose into the ground. This caused the front landing gear to snap off. The aircraft then skidded 180 degrees on its nose and right wing before turning back 45 degrees in the other direction. At that moment, with the aircraft already on the ground, the pilot was ejected from their seat. The plane moved forward a few feet until coming to rest in this grassy area. Lockheed Martin and officials at NAS JRB have not confirmed any further details about the incident.