Wednesday, 30 September 2020

US Marine Corps F35 fighter collides with KC-130 refuelling aircraft in California

An investigation is underway in to how a US Marine Corps F-35 fighter jet has crashed in California after clipping the wing of a KC-130 refuelling tanker on Tuesday afternoon.

Initial reports indicate the pilot of the F-35 was able to eject from the fighter after clipping wings with the much larger KC-130, he is now being treated for injuries sustained during the ejection and landing.  The refuelling aircraft was able to make a safe emergency landing.

The Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona issued the following statement "At approximately 1600 (4 p.m. Pacific time) it was reported that an F-35B made contact with a KC-130J during an air-to-air refuelling evolution, resulting in the crash of the F-35B The pilot of the F-35B ejected successfully and is currently being treated."

"The KC-130J is on deck in the vicinity of Thermal Airport. All crew members of the KC-130J have been reported safe,"

According to officials,  both aircraft are based at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, formally the Naval Air Station Miramar made famous by the film TOP GUN, based on the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor programme.

Audio of the communications between aircraft and ground controllers has been released on LiveATC and details how the KC-130 using the callsign RAIDER 50, told controllers there was a problem.  "LA Center, LA Center, RAIDER 50 declaring an emergency, midair collision with VOLT 93,"  which was the callsign assigned to the F-35 fighter.  "We have two engines out, we're leaking fuel, and likely on fire, and in emergency descent at this time. RAIDER 50."  

"We declare an emergency. We still have partial control of the aircraft. Two engines out. We are aiming towards, uh" the crew said before the transmission is lost.  The crew performed an emergency landing in a field near the airport,  all 8 people onboard at the time were unhurt in the incident.  

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