Salvaging the jet – the race to recover the ditched F-35 from the seabed.
On the morning of the 17th November, a UK-owned F-35B crashed into the sea while flying from HMS Queen Elizabeth. The pilot ejected safely but there is now a scramble to retrieve the wreckage of the aircraft. Here we look at the options available and the challenges involved.
Reliable sources say that the accident occurred during take-off and the pilot was recovered very close to the carrier. The Daily Mail reported that the pilot was “left dangling from the edge of the HMS Queen Elizabeth because the lines of his parachute became caught on edge of flight deck.” Official sources would not confirm or deny this detail but it would suggest the pilot was very fortunate. Accidents on take-off are especially dangerous but whether trapped in a sinking aircraft or having ejected, naval aviators also face the serious risk of being run over by the carrier.
The British-made Martin Baker US16E ejector seat that equips the F-35 includes 3 airbags that inflate in a two-stage process to protect the head and neck of the pilot, wearing the heavy helmet packed with technology. The F-35B variant has a feature that will also eject the pilot automatically if it detects that the vertical-lift fan has failed (most serious during vertical landing but the fan is also in use during rolling take off). Loss of downward thrust from the fan would cause the aircraft to pitch down sharply, faster than the pilot could react to pull the ejection handle manually. This will save the pilot by operating when the aircraft is still close enough to horizontal for safe ejection. Of course, this is not necessarily what happened in this incident and the pilot could have pulled the handle himself when experiencing mechanical problems. Despite the brilliance of modern seat design, ejection from a fast jet is always a traumatic experience due to the sudden G forces.
Find and raise Continues at - https://www.navylookout.com/salvaging-t ... he-seabed/