Spatial Disorientation Likely Cause of F-35 Fighter's Crash


Tokyo, June 10 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Defense Ministry on Monday cited the pilot's spatial disorientation, or loss of situational awareness, as a possible cause of April's crash of an F-35A fighter into the Pacific Ocean.

Assuming that there was no mechanical trouble in the crashed aircraft, the ministry plans to resume the flights of its F-35As that have been grounded since the accident, while stepping up pilot training and taking other preventive measures.

The ministry used its information sharing system for F-35 fighters and ground radar data to track the locations and the altitudes of the crashed jet, which belonged to the Air Self-Defense Force's Misawa base in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan.

After analyzing the aircraft's flight path and speeds, the ministry judged that the pilot obviously went into a state of spatial disorientation.

As no signs of mechanical trouble were found in records of communication with the crashed fighter and through inspections of the 12 remaining F-35As in Japan, the ministry assumed that the aircraft was operating normally before the crash.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press