‘Not sure where the airplane is,’ pilot told 911 dispatcher after F-35 ejection

An F-35 pilot that ejected during a recent malfunction is safe, but had to make a 911 call as he was unsure where his plane had crash-landed.

The emergency call: A 911 audio recording revealed the pilot parachuted into a North Charleston resident’s backyard and called for an ambulance while admitting he didn’t know the location of his crash-landed F-35 jet.
* The pilot estimated he fell about 2,000 feet, but only complained of back pain.
* In the call, he confirmed that he had ejected from his aircraft and explained that the plane must have crash-landed somewhere.

More on the incident: The F-35 crashed after a malfunction prompted the pilot to eject over Charleston. Despite his ejection, the plane continued flying for 60 miles before crashing in a rural area.
* The wreckage took over a day to locate.
* The military suggested that the plane’s flight control software, designed to stabilize the jet during emergencies, could explain why the aircraft continued to fly after the pilot ejected.

Investigation status and safety precautions: The incident is under investigation and official results could take months. The Marines suggested that the same feature which kept the plane flying might have saved lives on the ground.
* Upon ejection, an aircraft erases all secure communication to protect the pilot’s location and classified systems, which may have complicated tracking efforts.
* Despite the incident, the Marines noted the aircraft successfully avoided crashing in a densely populated area, thereby potentially preventing further casualties.

View original article on NPR

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