Wreckage of Missing F-35B Located in Northeastern South Carolina | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Most Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Airborne-Monday

Airborne-Tuesday

Airborne-Wednesday Airborne-Thursday

Airborne-Friday

Airborne On YouTube

Airborne-Unlimited-05.20.24

Airborne-NextGen-05.14.24

Airborne-Unlimited-05.15.24 Airborne-AffordableFlyers-05.16.24

Airborne-Unlimited-05.17.24

Wed, Sep 20, 2023

Wreckage of Missing F-35B Located in Northeastern South Carolina

Journey’s End in Salvage Crews Meeting …

The wreckage of a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B fighter jet gone missing after its pilot ejected from the aircraft on Sunday, 17 September 2023 has been located in rural northeastern South Carolina.

The debris field resultant of the aircraft’s coming to ground was discovered in the Palmetto State’s Williamsburg County—some sixty-nautical-miles northeast of Joint Base Charleston. The downed F-35B was assigned to U.S. Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, which is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and falls administratively under Marine Aircraft Group 31 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Area residents were asked to remain clear of the crash-site while recovery teams worked to secure the wreckage of the $80-million fighter.

Joint Base Charleston set forth in a statement: “We are transferring incident command to the USMC this evening, as they begin the recovery process. … Members of the community should avoid the area as the recovery team secures the debris field.”

The pilotless jet’s disappearance baffled military and civilian experts alike. Uncontrolled high-speed meetings of aircraft and ground incline toward conspicuousness, and the abject ignorance of the USMC and FAA vis-à-vis the downed F-35B’s whereabouts drew widespread criticism. In the wake of the U.S. military’s solicitation of the public for information pertaining to the missing jet, local Republican congresswoman Nancy Mace inquired: “How in the hell do you lose an F-35? How is there not a tracking device, and we’re asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in?”

On the Instagram platform known as Threads, actor Misha Collins wrote under a photo of an F-35: “That’s what they get for leaving the keys in the ignition. In other news, check out my new listing on Craigslist. No lowball offers!”

Tim Robinson, editor in chief of Aerospace magazine, took to X (formerly Twitter), posting a photo of an F-35 on a golf course and a caption reading: “What’s the problem? I just sneaked off for a quick round of golf.”

The evanescent F-35B’s final known location and trajectory compelled searchers to focus initial recovery efforts on Lakes Moultrie and Marion—a pair of large, man-made bodies of water in central South Carolina. The Williamsburg County site at which the debris field was located is, in point of fact, relatively near the aforementioned lakes.

The means by which the jet’s wreckage was located remains undisclosed. It is known, however, that the search for such involved the USMC’s Second Marine Aircraft Wing, authorities of the U.S. Navy’s Southeastern region, the Civil Air Patrol, the FAA, and numerous South Carolina law enforcement agencies.

In a Monday, 18 September statement, the USMC reported: “The mishap is currently under investigation, and we are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process.”

In a separate 18 September statement, the USMC disclosed Acting USMC Commander General Eric M. Smith had ordered all Marine Corps aviation units to stand-down for purpose of conducting a two-day “pause in operations.” USMC officers were directed to utilize the stand-down to reinforce policies, practices, and procedures germane to safety-of-flight with personnel under their respective commands.

Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 Lightning II is produced in three principal variants: the Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) F-35A operated by the United States Air Force, the Short Take-Off and Vertical-Landing (STOVL) F-35B operated by the U.S. Marine Corps, and the carrier-based F-35C operated by the U.S. Navy.

In 2021, the United States Air Force conducted the TacAir study, an investigative enterprise that examined the tactical requirements of U.S. combat aircraft in future conflicts. The study’s results compelled Air Force chief of staff General Charles Q. Brown to concede the F-35 program had failed to achieve its goals. General Brown further set forth that little reason existed to believe the F-35 platform would ever deliver on its designer’s promises.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), over the seventeen-years since the F-35’s 2006 entry into U.S. service, the aircraft, in all its incarnations, has consistently demonstrated a miserable dispatch availability—about half-that of the USAF’s Regan-era F-15E fleet.

The CBO determined mission-availability of all three F-35 variants, in 2022, ranged from a dismal 54-percent to an only-slightly-less-dismal 58-percent.

The $1.7-trillion F-35 program is the most expensive military undertaking in the history of humankind. The First and Second World Wars combined cost American taxpayers $320-billion, a mere 18-percent of the F-35’s total program costs. Notwithstanding its epic, eye-watering price-tag, the F-35’s lack of availability has occasioned supposition among Pentagon brass that the advanced, sixth-generation aircraft will never become the workhorse machine it was envisioned to be. Instead, the Lightning II—after the fashions of Vought’s F-7U Cutlass and Convair’s B-58 Hustler—may well wind up an overpriced, temperamental embarrassment relegated to niche roles at the periphery of U.S. national defense.

FMI: www.marines.mil

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 05.20.24: Van's BK Exit, Bud Anderson, Air Race Classic

Also: ALPA Warns, Aviation Meteorology Reference, Jennifer Homendy Re-Ups, CAF Tampa Bay The court has approved Van's Aircraft's bankruptcy reorganization plans, settling a stressf>[...]

Airborne 05.20.24: Van's BK Exit, Bud Anderson, Air Race Classic

Also: ALPA Warns, Aviation Meteorology Reference, Jennifer Homendy Re-Ups, CAF Tampa Bay The court has approved Van's Aircraft's bankruptcy reorganization plans, settling a stressf>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (05.18.24): Flameout Pattern

Flameout Pattern An approach normally conducted by a single-engine military aircraft experiencing loss or anticipating loss of engine power or control. The standard overhead approa>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (05.18.24)

Aero Linx: VC-25 - Air Force One The mission of the VC-25 aircraft — Air Force One — is to provide air transport for the president of the United States. The presidentia>[...]

ANN FAQ: How Do I Become A News Spy?

We're Everywhere... Thanks To You! Even with the vast resources and incredibly far-reaching scope of the Aero-News Network, every now and then a story that should be reported on sl>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2024 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC