Watch video of F-35 pilot ejecting after almost crash landing on the ground

The pilot's condition remains unknown and so do the reasons for the ejection.
Ameya Paleja
The F-35B landing
The F-35B landing


A U.S. government pilot ejected from an F-35 fighter aircraft moments after the landing gear touched the ground, the Washington Post reported. A video clip of the incident, which occurred at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas, is now viral on social media.

As seen in the video above, the ejection system worked like a charm, and the pilot descended onto the ground after about seven seconds of flight.

The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) ability available on jets such as the F-35 allows the fighter aircraft to fly in and out of spaces without requiring extensive runways. The U.S. Marine Corps have used the ability for the F-35Bs deployed on assault ships.

How does vertical landing work?

Built by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 is powered by a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine that can deliver a pressure ratio of 20 for a powered lift and 35 when in cruise mode. The engine's turbines are designed to deliver enormous amounts of thrust, and the vectoring nozzle on the aircraft can be turned by 95 degrees in just 2.5 seconds to deliver vertical thrust.

Teaming up with a Rolls Royce-supplied power lift fan with a diameter of over four feet (1.3 m) and can produce 80kN of thrust force, the systems have two jet streams below the fuselage that interact with the ground and spread outward.

As the flow from one jet approaches the flow from another, an upward jet resembling a fountain is created, referred to as the fountain effect. As the fountain jets interact on the bottom of the fuselage, the lift is created, which is used during take-off.

A secondary flow curves around the bottom edges of the fuselage, which detracts from the lift and is referred to as suckdown, which can be tapped into when landing.

What happened in Texas?

As seen in the video above, the aircraft was performing a landing maneuver at the naval air base and descended from a hover toward the ground. As the landing gear touched the ground, the aircraft bounced back up into the air, and the nose of the aircraft hit the ground, and the fighter went into a spin.

The bouncing action is likely the effect of the thrust generation system and is also seen with other landing attempts with the F-35s and is absorbed by shock struts. In the case of this incident, though, this did not happen, and the aircraft bounced more than usual. The pilot then ejected from the aircraft and landed seconds later.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon told WaPo that the aircraft belonged to Lockheed Martin, which has a manufacturing facility nearby. The pilot is on the payroll of the U.S. government, and his condition is unknown.

Lockheed Martin did not detail any causes of the incident and has said that appropriate investigation protocol will be followed.

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