On August 22nd 2018 a Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II was damaged when its nose gear collapsed after returning to Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) due to an inflight emergency. According to the United States Air Force 33rd Fighter Wing (FW) Nomads based at Eglin, “An F-35A Lightning II, assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron, experienced a ground mishap at approximately 1250 today on the flightline here.”
The Air Force statement continues, “The F-35A experienced an in-flight emergency and returned to base. The aircraft landed safely and parked when the front nose gear collapsed. There was one person on board. Fire crews responded immediately and the pilot suffered no injuries as a result of the incident. An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the mishap is underway.” The exact nature of the inflight emergency and the extent of the damage to the jet are unknown at this time. We’ll update this story as events warrant.
The 33rd FW is a flying and maintenance training wing for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. The Wing is organized under 19th Air Force and is part of Air Education and Training Command (AETC) The Wing flies 59 Air Force F-35As, short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35Bs, and carrier-based F-35C Lightning IIs spread between Eglin AFB, Tyndall AFB, and Hurlburt Field, all in the Florida panhandle. The 58th FS, known as the Mighty Gorillas, is a flying training unit for the F-35A. Other 33rd FW/ 33rd Operations Group counts nearly a thousand U.S. military, government civilian, and contract personnel in its command structure.