The commander of Eglin AFB in Florida has issued a ‘safety pause’ for all operations at the base following crashes of an F-22A and F-35A in two separate incidents within a week.
The F-22 crashed over the base’s extensive training range north of the airfield on May 15, while the F-35A crashed on landing on the evening of May 19. Both pilots were able to eject without major injuries.
“The events over the past few days remind us that the defense of our country can be a dangerous business,” commander of the 96th Test Wing BrigGen Scott Cain said in a statement. “It is very important to me that we now take a safety pause.”
Eglin AFB was the first training base for the F-35, with the 33rd Fighter Wing providing pilot and maintenance training for all three US services as well as an initial cadre of international partner nations including Australia. More recently, F-22s formerly based at nearby Tyndall AFB were relocated to Eglin after Tyndall was badly damaged by Hurricane Michael in October 2018.