The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The USMC Found the Strayed F35B


While the aircraft was missing, the blogosphere was aflame with rumors that Xiden had "sold" another secret to the Red Chinese, it was "Deja Vous" with the notorious balloon incident all over again.  I personally didn't buy it(Get the pun), but it wouldn't surprise me if the CCP activated assets to try to find the plane before the Americans did to pilfer its "black boxes" and other secrets before it was found by us and scarfed up and sent to a military base.

     I got this article from a 3rd party that I got in my work email and the following article came off my blog.

Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

A frantic search for a missing F-35B whose pilot safely ejected ended late on Sept. 18 after U.S. military officials discovered a debris field in a remote area of South Carolina. 

The roughly 28-hr. search for the Lockheed Martin-made stealth fighter included an unusual request to the public for any tips on the F-35B’ss whereabouts and prompted the U.S. Marine Corps to announce a two-day aviation standdown to review safety procedures.

 The pilot was found on South Kenwood Avenue on the afternoon of Sept. 17 after ejecting less than a mile from the runway at Charleston International Airport, local news reports say. The pilot was transferred to a local hospital in stable condition, according to a statement by Joint Base Charleston. 

But the aircraft continued flying in a northeasterly direction until finally crashing about “two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston” in Williamsburg County, South Carolina, the Marine Corps said in a statement. If the hourly measurement referred to a driving distance, that would have put the debris field in the far northeastern corner of Williamsburg County.

Until the crash location was discovered, however, military officials faced the unlikely security threat of a missing advanced weapon system with several classified technologies onboard. In a sign of the military’s desperation for clues, Joint Base Charleston published a public plea for tips within an hour of the pilot’s ejection.

“If you have any information on the whereabouts of the F-35 that would help the recovery team, please call the JB Charleston Base Defense Operations Center,” the base said on a social media channels.

More than an hour after releasing the initial statement, the base released a quick update that narrowed the search for the F-35B to a remote, boggy area north of Charleston.

The F-35B belonged to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, which is based at Marine Corps Base Beaufort, South Carolina.

In a statement, the wing said the incident was under investigation and since it is ongoing, additional details would not be releasable “to preserve the integrity of the investigatory process.”

Following the incident, Marine Corps Acting Commandant Gen. Eric Smith ordered the two-day pause in operations. During the stand down, aviation commanders are directed to discuss safe flight operations, ground safety, maintenance and flight procedures with their Marines.

The stand down comes less than a month after Smith ordered a review of safety policies and procedures after an MV-22 Osprey crashed during a training exercise in Australia, killing five Marines.

The wing suffered another F-35B crash in 2018 due to a manufacturing flaw in a fuel tube, but the pilot safely ejected.

If an aircraft is equipped with an ejection seat, the location of the crash site is normally proximate to where the ejected pilot lands. But there have been cases where an aircraft continued flying for hundreds of miles after the pilot ejected.

In 1989, for example, a Soviet Air Force Mikoyan MiG-23 crashed in Belgium, but that was 600 mi. from where the pilot ejected over Poland. The pilot ejected after the afterburner failed and the aircraft began descending, but after his ejection the engine kept running and the aircraft continued flying on autopilot.

     Here is the article about the Mig 23 the article was referring to, I had blogged about it back in 2017
I remember this incident once I read of it, I was stationed in Stuttgart and we heard of this on AFN  and the Stars&Stripes newspapers had stories about it.  I remembered commenting back then if this caused concerns on the regimental net for the 11th ACR that had people always patrolling the 1KM zone between East and West Germany.  I went and looked up some stories about it HereHere,and Here.   

July. 4 1989, Independence day for the Americans, was not an especially exciting day for the 32nd TFS (Tactical Fighter Squadron) also known as ‘Wolfhounds’ then based in Soesterberg, Netherlands.
When two very competitive pilots J.D Martin and Bill Murphy were scrambled, they were not expecting that their independence day flights would be to intercept and possibly engage a very strange Soviet MiG.
On the same day, Soviet Pilot Nikolai Skurigin prepared his MiG-23M for a routine training flight. When Skurigin’s MiG took off from Kolobzreg, Poland, the pilot had no clue what was about to happen to his aircraft.
Soon after taking off Skurigin realized that MiG’s engine had a major failure and that aircraft was going to crash in few seconds, so he did what every pilot is trained to do in such situations, he abandoned the aircraft and ejected.

An air-to-air right side view of a Soviet MiG-23 Flogger aircraft. Exact Date Shot Unknown
A MiG 23, in flight with pilot

While descending in his parachute, Skurigin realized that something peculiar had taken place; his MiG was actually gaining height instead of loosing it and worse, it was heading straight towards NATO airspace.

The flight of the MiG
On the other side, JD and Murphy after being sent to intercept a Russian plane that had invaded their air space, had problems of their own; they were having some major communication issues with Ground Control Intercept
Despite these difficulties, the two pilots got closer to the ‘rogue’ aircraft and discovered that not only the MiG was unarmed it was also unmanned. This posed another challenge to the pilots and ground control since the aircraft was now considered not an immediate threat.
US Air Force pilots in their F-15s escorted the Soviet MiG until it reached the 39,000ft mark, after that aircraft started descending possibly due to low fuel levels.

The crash site as seen from above
When the aircraft started descending, pilots with the help from the ground predicted that it would land somewhere near Lille, on the border of Belgium and France. Later on, the calculation showed that it would rather crash in an empty field inside Belgium, and was coded as ‘non risky’.
But the calculations could not predict what actually happened when Soviet MiG crashed in a farm killing an 18-year-old boy.

What was left of the MIG
Clearly an avoidable causality on the part of both Soviets and Americans, both nations showed genuine regret on the outcome of the incident. When Colonel Skurigin discovered about the death of the Belgian boy by his MiG, he publicly showed regret for his decision to eject out of the aircraft.
The Belgian government made a formal protest to the Soviet Union regarding the lack of notification as to the danger the aircraft posed to the civilian population. Belgian Foreign Minister Mark Eyskens expressed concern that “from the time the MiG-23 was first picked up on NATO radar to the time it crashed more than an hour later, no word of warning came from the Soviet side,” and that “there was also a ‘notable slowness’ on the part of the Soviets in disclosing whether the jet was carrying nuclear or toxic weapons.”
The USSR paid $685,000 in compensation to Belgium.

1 comment:

  1. “two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston” in Williamsburg County, South Carolina, the Marine Corps said" Two hours at what speed? Two hours at 50 or 350 knots? I bet the pilot feels like an idiot.


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