A Navy F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter made an emergency landing at Yosemite International Airport in Fresno on Monday afternoon due to a possible mechanical glitch, Navy officials in California confirmed Tuesday.
The jet’s pilot — from the “Rough Raiders” of Strike Fighter Squadron 125 — received an in-flight indication of a potential problem at about 1 p.m. Monday, Naval Air Forces spokesman Cmdr. Ronald Flanders said.
The unnamed pilot tried to troubleshoot the issue from the air but could not and landed the jet without injury at the civilian airport.
Maintainers are now on the scene to figure out what happened, Flanders said.
Navy regulations mandate that pilots land aircraft when certain indicators pop and this problem appears to be “very minor,” Flanders added.
It’s not the first F-35C gremlin to bedevil the “Rough Raiders,” who are stationed at nearby Naval Air Station Lemoore.
One of their F-35Cs suffered the fighter’s first Navy Class A mishap on Aug. 22 off the coast of Virginia, when a jet’s engine sucked in a refueling basket being used by an F/A-18F Super Hornet to gas up the stealthy fighter .
That midair accident happened while the Navy conducted integration testing of the F-35C with other plans aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.
Navy aviation wants to establish the F-35C’s initial operational capability by February, a key milestone that will signal the jet is ready to deploy.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at email@example.com.