Silly mistake of British navy blew $120 million F-35B into the sea

British F-35B
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British F-35B fighter aircraft Crash In The Mediterranean Sea Possibly Caused By ‘Rain Cover’ Left On During Launch.

The reason why the British F35B crashed was “silly”, when the technical staff forgot to remove the plane’s air intake guard. On November 17, an F-35B stealth fighter jet, during a training takeoff from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth of the British Navy, crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. The pilot ejected and was safely rescued.

On the evening of November 23, the British newspaper The Sun reported exclusive news. According to the news, this strange accident was not a mechanical accident or external causes such as weather, but simply a “man-made disaster”.

The reason is too simple, that when the F-35B took off, the two shields protecting the air intakes were not removed by the technician, and the pilot did not check before flying the plane. As a result, the F-35B could not “breathe”, so it plunged into the sea.

According to The Sun, a rule of thumb before taking off is to remove the air intake cover and remove the aircraft’s anchors to the floor; Ground technicians must do this very carefully and rigorously. Pilots also need to check around the plane, before it takes off.

Air intake of F-35B
Air intake of F-35B

In the aftermath of the mishap, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, as quoted by BBC’s Defence Correspondent Jonathan Beale, provided some further details, saying that the F-35 ditched soon after taking off from the aircraft carrier and that operational and training flights onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth were continuing despite the incident (a sign that the root cause of the crash was probably immediately known and, importantly, not pointing to a technical glitch/failure).

When the F-35B crashed after taking off from the aircraft carrier, an air intake cover accidentally fell back, but when the aircraft carrier technician realized it, it was too late, because the aircraft took off and jumped off the runway. The pilot was forced to eject and abandon the aircraft.

The British Ministry of Defense said it still investigating and the source alleges it was due to human error and technical negligence. At the same time, the British navy also stopped all F-35B flights, to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident.

Aircraft air intakes, whether aircraft carrier-based or land-based fighters, will be designed with a standard air intake guard, to protect when the aircraft is in a low state, Park on the airport, or when running on the runway, avoid splashing rocks and other foreign objects.

The F-35B has a manually removable air intake cover; Before take-off, the ground technician should remove the air intake cover, and the pilot can take off only after a preliminary inspection of the aircraft and signing the “Flight Log Book”.

Pilots who fly planes to take off and land on aircraft carriers are nicknamed “dancers on the tip of the knife” because of their danger. However, checking the safety of aircraft on a carrier is a common job of technicians from many departments.

The thorough inspection of the aircraft about to take off is the combined work of a large team of technicians, in a “carpet” fashion, and the pilot is the final checker of the aircraft.

The question is why the British Navy, which has a lot of experience in aircraft carrier operations, allowed such a “primary” mistake and the strange thing is how it is possible to take off F-35b without the use of air intake?

The reason may be that to meet the short runway landing requirements, the F-35B Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-600 turbofan engine has been specially modified, so the new F-35B has enough Air is supplied to the engine, for the plane to take off

In addition to using the driveshaft to connect the lifting fan developed by Rolls-Royce, the F-35B also has two auxiliary intake valves (AAID) installed behind the air intake, to provide additional intake air for the process of vertical landing or short take-off.

Some fighters have side air intakes, which can even take off directly when the main air intake is closed. For example, when a MiG-29 takes off on a runway, the cover of the main air intake is usually closed, to prevent dirt from entering the engine; At this time, the air is sucked through the side door at the base of the wing and the door opens and closes completely automatically

mig-29UPG
Indian Airforce MiG-29 UPG armed with the R-77

Although the MiG-29 used an auxiliary air intake during take-off, it was still enough to supply air for the Klimov RD-33 turbofan engine. Of course, the auxiliary air intake also increases the structural weight of the fighter, so the 5th generation fighter is essentially no longer needed; but on the MiG-35, the successor to the MiG-29, is also still used.

If the cause of the investigation is true because the technician did not remove the air intake cover, then the UK will really “sorry” for the crashed F-35B cost more than 100 million pounds, because of a rudimentary error caused by humans. This is really a “silly” mistake of the British Naval Air Force.

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