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Pilot forced to bail out of F-35 stealth jet after ‘landing mishap’ on US Navy aircraft carrier in South China Sea

An F-35C Lightning II, assigned to the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, launches off the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Megan Alexander

  • An F-35C experienced a “landing mishap” on the deck of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson Monday.
  • The pilot ejected safely and is stable, but seven other sailors were injured.
  • The cause of the incident is under investigation.

A US Navy pilot bailed out of an F-35C stealth fighter after a landing mishap on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson while it was conducting operations in the South China Sea, the sea service said Monday afternoon.

The unidentified pilot was recovered by a military helicopter and is stable, but seven other Navy personnel were injured in the incident. Four were treated on the ship, while three had to be medically evacuated to a facility in the Philippines. The three who were airlifted off the ship for treatment are stable.

The Navy said that the incident and its causes are currently under investigation.

USS Carl Vinson is the first US Navy aircraft carrier to deploy with the F-35C, a variant of the fifth-generation fighter designed specifically for carrier operations. The air wing features the Navy’s first F-35C squadron, the “Argonauts” of Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 147.

Monday’s landing mishap occurred as the carrier conducted operations alongside USS Abraham Lincoln, which recently deployed with not only the first female carrier captain in US Navy history but also the first Marine Corps F-35C squadron, the “Black Knights” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314.

The incident aboard the Carl Vinson is not the first F-35 mishap aboard a carrier.

In November last year, a British pilot flying an F-35B, a short-takeoff/vertical landing variant, had to eject from the aircraft during takeoff while the British Royal Navy’s flagship carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth conducted flight operations in the Mediterranean.

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