F-35 Loses Aircraft Panel During Training Flight Near Okinawa (excerpt)
(Source: Defense News; posted Dec 05, 2017)
By Valerie Insinna
WASHINGTON --- A U.S. Air Force F-35 deployed to Kadena Air Base in Japan lost a panel during a Nov. 30 training flight over the Pacific Ocean, the service confirmed Monday.

An aircraft panel measuring approximately 12 inches by 24 inches dropped from an F-35A sometime during a “routine training mission” about 65 miles east of Okinawa, according to a news release from 18th Wing Public Affairs at Kadena Air Base.

“The item was discovered missing by the pilot’s wingman as the fighter jets were coming in for landing” and was later confirmed missing after a post-flight inspection, the release stated. Because inspections are also done prior to takeoff, it is thought that the panel fell off sometime during the flight.

Although the Air Force had not commented on or confirmed the mishap prior to Monday, the Japanese media has been aware of the incident since it occurred on Nov. 30. Nippon News Network featured footage of the F-35A showing the missing panel, which was then shared by aviation enthusiasts across Twitter. (end of excerpt)


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