11:40 a.m. Thursday update:

The F-35 involved in a mishap Wednesday afternoon has been grounded until an investigation can be completed by the Air Force Safety Investigation Board.

Those investigations can take up to 30 days, according to a spokeswoman for the 33rd Fighter Wing.

The pilot reported an in-flight emergency before landing the F-35A Lightning II just before 1 p.m. Wednesday. After the plane was parked, the front landing gear collapsed.

The incident happened within view of motorists passing by on State Road 85.

The plane has since been removed from the runway, the spokeswoman said.

At around the same time as the landing gear mishap, a second F-35 experienced a bird strike, officials said.

The spokeswoman said that it's "fairly common" for all aircraft to encounter birds. Authorities examine the remains and send a sample to the Smithsonian to find out what kind of animal it was. The information is used to help them track migration, she said.

Check back for more information.

 

Wednesday:

EGLIN AFB — An F-35 spotted nose-down on the runway by a passing motorist Wednesday afternoon experienced an in-flight emergency, according to a press release from the 33rd Fighter Wing.

The pilot returned to Eglin Air Force Base and landed safely. The front nose gear collapsed after the plane was parked, the press release said.

Firefighters responded immediately and also could be seen by passing motorists.

The pilot was not injured.

The extent of damage to the F-35A Lightning II was not immediately available.

The mishap occurred about 12:50 p.m. on the flight line at Eglin, which shares runways with Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport. No commercial traffic was affected, Okaloosa County officials said.

An investigation of the mishap is under way.