A U.S. Navy investigation is reportedly placing blame on a mistake by a pilot for the crash of an F-35C Lightning II jet into the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the South China Sea last year.
A report shared with Military.com showed investigators concluded that the Jan. 24 crash – which involved the USS Carl Vinson – was the result of the pilot choosing to perform a specialized landing but failing to switch on electronic aides in the plane.
Video of the incident circulated on social media, and several sailors were injured. The pilot managed to eject safely.
The report said the crash caused millions of dollars in damage to another plane and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the deck of the carrier.
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It identified the pilot only by his rank of lieutenant and said he had wanted to try an “expedited recovery maneuver” known as the “Sierra Hotel Break” or SHB.
The outlet said the SHB was described by the Navy as “when an aircraft initiates a turn to downwind from either behind the ship or over the top of the ship … [using] G-forces to decelerate over the course of a 360-degree turn, dropping the landing gear when the aircraft is below landing gear transition speed.” It says a pilot has a “reduced amount of time to configure the aircraft and conduct landing checks.”
The lieutenant reportedly didn’t turn on the Approach Power Compensation Mode (APC) or the Delta Flight Path (DFP). The APC maintains the jet at the right angle and the DFP automatically adjusts the throttle.
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The landing signals officer told the pilot to hit the afterburners in the moment caught on video, with entire incident lasting four around five minutes.
The plane sank into the ocean and was salvaged by the Navy in March of last year.
The Navy did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment from Fox News Digital, but Navy spokesman Cmdr. Zach Harrell told Military.com that the pilot “is no longer in a flying status in the U.S. Navy, but will continue to serve as a Naval officer.”
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Investigators issued a series of recommendations to prevent further incidents and said the Navy is not recommending an end to expedited recovery maneuvers, or SHBs.
Fox News’ Greg Norman, Bradford Betz and Lucas Y. Tomlinson contributed to this report.