The first F-22 has crashed since the plane was declared operational, sending shivers through the Air Force at a time when the fate of the program hangs in the balance. Sadly, the pilot has been confirmed dead. The crash occurred about 35 miles from Edwards Air Force Base at 3:10 pm EST.
While it is not the most expensive aircraft to crash and burn, it is certainly the most expensive fighter to ever crash, at roughly $150 million a copy.
As one clear sign of the service's sensitivity, the Air Force congressional liaison office sent out a notice to staff and lawmakers about the crash within two hours of its happening, promising to update lawmakers and staff as soon any details were known.
No other F-22s have crashed since December 2004, when a pilot safely ejected during a test flight, so it does not seem likely there are structural or software issues at play, but with so few details known about the crash it is impossible to tell.
According to the local Tehachapi News, the base did receive a distress call from the pilot before the plane went down.
We've got some very well informed readers who might be able to update us on the fate of the pilot and on the aircraft. Post away or send me an email if you prefer.