SC, North Charleston — In a puzzling 911 call from the South Carolina property where he had parachuted to safety, a military pilot whose advanced fighter plane temporarily went missing over the weekend is heard repeatedly asking for an ambulance, according to an audio tape provided Thursday to The Associated Press.
A North Charleston resident calmly explains that a pilot just parachuted into his backyard in the four-minute recording, along with the pilot who is unsure of what happened to his F-35 jet and a perplexed dispatcher who is trying to make sense of it all.
The resident replied, “We have a pilot in the house, and I believe he landed in my backyard. We are trying to see if we can get an ambulance to the house, urgently.
The pilot, who identified himself as being 47, claimed he felt “OK” after dropping, he thought, 2,000 feet. He just complained of back pain. The local claimed the pilot appeared unharmed.
A military jet crashed, ma’am. The pilot is me. Rescue must begin immediately, the pilot said. “I’m unsure about the location of the airplane. Somewhere would have seen a crash landing. I got out.
He repeated his request for medical assistance later on in the call.
“Ma’am, I’m a military pilot, and I had to eject from the aircraft. I simply used a parachute to descend to the earth. Would you mind sending an ambulance? said the pilot.
According to the Marines, the pilot is a skilled pilot with years of expertise in the air.
The f-35’s pilot ejected, why?
After a failure forced the pilot to bail over Charleston on Sunday, the F-35 crashed. In a backyard of a house not far from Charleston International Airport, he made his landing.
Defense authorities indicate that the cause of the pilot’s ejection is still under investigation. Although the F-35B fighter jet has the capability to automatically eject pilots, it is unclear if this is what happened, and if so, why.
The Marine Corps claimed that the fighter jet, which was only 1,000 feet in the air, continued to fly for another 60 miles before coming down in a rural area close to Indiantown. Finding the wreckage took more than a day.
An unidentified official attempted to explain that they had “a pilot with his parachute” but no information about what had happened to his plane or word of a crash in a separate eight-minute dispatch call made public on Thursday to the AP. According to him, “the pilot lost sight of it on his way down due to the weather.”
The official also remembered hearing a “fairly loud noise” that “sounded like a tornado, possibly a plane,” approximately 25 minutes earlier.
Possible survival strategy for the F-35
According to the Marine Corps, the F-35’s ability to continue its journey may be explained by a fighter jet technology designed to shield pilots from danger. They claimed that even if the reason the plane kept flying was unknown, flight control software would have kept it stable in the absence of a pilot at the controls.
“The jet will try to maintain level flight if it is stable in that state. The jet will stay in a 1G state when climbing or descending if it was in an established ascent or descent, according to a statement from the Marine Corps.
There were still unanswered issues regarding the disaster, such as why the plane was not followed as it continued to fly over South Carolina and why it took so long to locate a large fighter jet that had flown over populated, albeit rural, areas.
The Marines said that measures designed to safeguard both the pilot’s location and the plane’s classified systems—such as ones that wipe an aircraft’s secure connections in the event of an ejection—might hinder efforts to locate the jet.
The Marines stated that radar and transponder codes are typically used to track planes. The plane is built to “erase” (or “zeroize”) any secure communications upon pilot ejection.
Even on an unclassified communications channel, air traffic control may not have been able to pick up the signal depending on how powerful its radar was, the weather at the time, how high the plane was flying, and the terrain, the Marines said. The plane would have continued broadcasting an identifier on an open channel to identify itself as friend or foe. They claimed that the hunt for the plane was impeded further by thunderstorms and low cloud levels.
The F-35’s stealth characteristics necessitated using non-traditional methods for tracking the aircraft, according to the service’s statement.
The incident is still being investigated, and it can take months for an official review board to produce its findings.
The Marines asserted that the feature that kept the jet in the air may have also saved the lives of people on the ground in addition to the pilot.
“The good news is that it seemed to function as promised. The F-35’s flight away from the airport prevented it from landing into a heavily populated region surrounding the airport, and instead, fortunately, it landed into an empty field and a forested area, according to the statement.