Flights Stopped at Hill Air Force Base After F-35A's Landing Gear Collapses

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FILE -- An F-35A operates during a combat exercise at Hill Air Force Base.
FILE -- An F-35A operates during a combat exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Air Force officials have suspended training flights and air traffic from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, after an F-35A Joint Strike Fighter's landing gear collapsed on landing Tuesday.

The incident occurred at 10:45 a.m. local time following a routine training flight, according to a spokesperson with the 75th Air Base Wing. The stealth jet is assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing.

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The pilot was able to evacuate the aircraft "and is undergoing a routine medical evaluation," the spokesperson said in an email. The runway is temporarily closed. Incoming aircraft have been diverted to nearby airports, and outgoing flights have been paused, they added.

The incident is under investigation.

The mishap is the second involving the premier stealth fighter in roughly a month's time.

An F-35A crashed May 19 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, following a routine nighttime training flight. The jet, assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Wing, crashed on landing, base officials said in a release. The pilot was able to successfully eject.

Earlier in May, another stealth fighter also crashed during a routine training flight near Eglin.

An F-22 Raptor, assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, crashed May 15 roughly 12 miles northeast of the base on the test and training range. While the 325th is assigned to Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base, some aircraft were relocated to nearby Eglin following Hurricane Michael in 2018.

The Raptor pilot was able to eject safely, officials said at the time.

Following the back-to-back incidents, flight operations at Eglin were suspended for a brief "safety pause" that week.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

Related: Eglin Orders Brief Suspension of Flight Ops Following F-35, F-22 Crashes

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