F-35Bs grounded after engine problem discovered

f35b grounding eglin

F-35B maintainer Antonio Spencer moves an F-35B in a hangar at Eglin Air Force Base on Tuesday. Maintainers for Lockheed Martin and the Marines will continue to work and train on the 13 F-35Bs at the base until flights are given the OK to resume.

Maj. Karen Roganov / Special to the Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:34 AM.

EGLIN AFB — The Marine variant of the F-35 fighter jet has been grounded after a flight at the base experienced an engine problem during takeoff.

Flights of the plane have been banned across the country until the problem is addressed.

On Jan. 16 as a pilot was starting his takeoff, a failure of one of the fueldraulic lines on the side of the motor was noticed, said Lt. Col. David Berke, commander of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 at Eglin.

The pilot was moving at a relatively slow speed and was able to stop the jet with no additional problems. No one was injured and the plane was not damaged, Berke said.

The Marine model of the plane, the F-35B, is designed for short takeoff and vertical landing capability, but was performing a traditional takeoff when the flight was aborted.

It was the first time a $70 million-plus F-35B had to stop a flight during takeoff at Eglin.

“We rarely fly aircraft where we have issues that arise during flight,” Berke said.

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