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Navy Confirms $70M+ F-35 Fighter Jet Took A Dip In The South China Sea This Week

According to Task & Purpose:

On Monday, the Navy had said that the aircraft had suffered a “landing mishap” while conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea.  A Navy official confirmed to Task & Purpose that the video was taken aboard the USS Carl Vinson during the crash.

“There is an ongoing investigation of the accident,” said Cmdr. Hayley Sims, a spokeswoman for the Navy’s 7th Fleet.

Seven sailors were injured in the crash, including the pilot who ejected and was recovered by helicopter. Three were evacuated to a treatment facility in Manilla, Philippines, and all are now in stable condition or have been released.

Jobs on the flight decks are considered among the most dangerous in the military. Pilots going 150mph+ only have about 300 feet to land, and for the crew standing by it can be incredibly loud, crowded, slippery, windy... There's explosive ordinance, fuel lines, exhaust fumes, steam catapults, propellors, jet intakes, etc. Crew members wear different color uniform tops to help differentiate their duties as the organized chaos takes place, and everyone has to keep their head on a swivel. This video gives you an idea of what it's like (and makes it easy to understand how seven sailors were injured in the accident above):

By the way, the sailor who got sucked into that Intruder engine back in '99 SURVIVED. His helmet, goggles and coat got sucked off and went in first which prompted an engine damage alert to the pilot who then cut the throttle. It took them over 3 minutes to extract him and he had cuts, a broken collar bone & a blown out ear drum, but overall he was ok. Remarkable considering that "at full throttle, the Intruder’s engine generates 9,300 pounds of thrusttwice as strong as the most powerful tornado on record".

Back to the USS Vinson, safety of personnel is the most important and I'm so glad the pilot & crew are going to be alright. That being said, what does the conversation look like in the wake of a new-ish, $70M+ (some say closer to $110M each) fighter jet taking a dive? Probably a stupid question but does the pilot get in trouble? Do they get to fly again? They can't expect them to be perfect, but physical dangers aside, the stress of flying something that expensive has to be immense (massive understatement). 

Ah, looks like they won't have to worry about it as the F-35 was back to normal after soaking in rice overnight.

For more military updates check out the latest ZeroBlog30. Today's episode covers military working crows, Irish fishermen vs. Russian war games, a quick Ukraine explainer & a conversation about the passing of the historic I Am Vanessa Guillén Act