A leaked video shows F-35C burst into flames after crash landing

The U.S. Navy confirmed the video after it was posted on Reddit.
Ameya Paleja

A video clip of the F-35C that crashed while attempting to land on the USS Carl Vinson emerged on a social media site has now been confirmed by the U.S. Navy, CNN reported

The U.S. Navy had confirmed that an F-35C had crashed in the South China Sea on Jan 24. While the pilot ejected safely, seven sailors were injured in the mishap. The leaked video that appeared over social media site, Redditt over the weekend consists of two clips played back to back on a monitor, in what is likely a recording of the flight landing attempt from two different camera angles as the U.S. Navy records all landing attempts to analyze the pilot's effort and improve upon it. 

However, during the ill-fated landing, the pilot seems scarcely at fault. A former Royal Australian Air Force pilot, Peter Layton, told CNN that the aircraft seems to have developed control problems as it approached the carrier. Pointing towards the way flaps are functioning during the approach, Layton told CNN that they were working "overtime backwards and forwards" and the pilot had lost control. 

In Layton's opinion, the pilot was not using the automatic landing system, a software feature that offers the pilot a way to monitor the aircraft and control it with minor tweaks, a new system that has been developed with the F-35. According to the CNN report, this is the first operational deployment of the F-35C since it has entered service in 2019. 

The U.S. Navy has yet to release the cause of the crash, because of the ongoing investigation. In an email reply to CNN who asked the U.S. Navy to confirm the authenticity of the leaked video, Cmdr. Zach Harrell, spokesperson for Commander, Naval Air Forces said, "We are aware that there has been an unauthorized release of video footage from flight deck cameras on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) of the F-35C Lightning II crash that occurred Jan. 24, in the South China Sea. There is an ongoing investigation into both the crash and the unauthorized release of the shipboard video footage." 

This is the second leak related to the incident that the U.S. Navy had to confirm. Last week, images of the crash had surfaced, which the military service confirmed to be genuine even as it continued its efforts to recover the aircraft. Although China claims authority over the entire region, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry has said that its government was aware of the plane but had no interest in recovering it, CNN reported. 

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