F-35Bs grounded after engine problem discovered

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:34 AM.

Aircraft maintainers evaluated the cause of the failure and reported their findings to the command staff. The planes were grounded program-wide Jan. 18.

Engineers are continuing to investigate the root cause of the problem, which may be a manufacturing defect in the fueldraulic lines.

“Once they come up with a solution, we will start flying airplanes again,” Berke said.

The incident marks the longest grounding for any variant of the F-35. The jets have been grounded four times previously, but not for more than 15 days and not once since they started flying at Eglin last year.

Berke said it is not uncommon for new aircraft to have problems in their first years.

“This is not unique to the F-35B,” he said. “With immature systems these discoveries can and will present themselves over time.”

He doesn’t expect the grounding to slow down plans to train pilots and maintainers this year.

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