On May 19, 2020, the United States Air Force revealed that an F-35A Joint Strike Fighter flying out of Eglin AFB in Florida had crashed. If the F-35 was totally destroyed, it would mark the third time an airframe of its type has been totally written off. The incident followed an F-22 Raptor crash on May 15 at the same installation.
At the time of the F-22 crash last week, the aircraft was participating in a routine training sortie and was not apart of a flyover for healthcare workers and first responders battling COVID-19 as some outlets initially declared. Thankfully, the pilot only sustained minor injuries and was last reported at a local hospital in good condition.Similarly, the F-35 was on a routine night training mission when it crashed. The pilot was able to safely eject and escaped any physical injury.
Investigations are underway for both incidents.
Elgin AFB has seen a major uptick in activity since Hurricane Michael severely damaged nearby Tyndall AFB. Originally intended to be a major training base for F-35, it has also taken on training for the F-22 in the wake of the natural disaster. In addition, it hosts the Air Force's Special Operations Command's headquarters and multiple weapons development facilities.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.