Audio Recording Reveals Unusual Circumstances of F-35 Ejection: Pilot Uncertain of Aircraft’s Location

by Sophia Chen
F-35 Ejection Incident

An audio recording released this Thursday reveals a bewildering 911 call involving a military pilot whose state-of-the-art F-35 fighter jet temporarily disappeared this past weekend. The call originates from a South Carolina residence where the pilot safely landed by parachute. The four-minute call captures the unusual circumstances involving three unidentified individuals: a resident of North Charleston who calmly reports a pilot landing in his backyard, the disoriented pilot uncertain about the fate of his F-35, and a perplexed dispatcher attempting to comprehend the unfolding situation.

The North Charleston resident communicated the following: “We have a pilot present in the house. It appears he parachuted into my backyard. Could we please request an ambulance to come to the residence?”

The 47-year-old pilot, who reported feeling “adequate” after descending an estimated 2,000 feet, complained only of back pain. The resident affirmed that the pilot otherwise seemed in good condition.

“Military aircraft has gone down, and I am the pilot. We need to initiate a rescue operation,” the pilot stated. “The whereabouts of the plane are currently unknown. Presumably, it has crash-landed somewhere; I had to eject.”

During the call, the pilot reiterated his request for medical assistance, stating, “I am the pilot of a military aircraft, and I have ejected. I descended by parachute. Could you please dispatch an ambulance?”

The Marine Corps characterized the pilot as a seasoned aviator with extensive cockpit experience. The F-35 reportedly crashed this past Sunday due to a malfunction that forced the pilot to eject over Charleston. He landed in a residential backyard, not far from Charleston International Airport. The aircraft, flying at an altitude of roughly 1,000 feet, continued for another 60 miles until it crash-landed in a rural vicinity near Indiantown. Locating the wreckage took over a day.

In a separate dispatch call lasting eight minutes, an unidentified official attempted to clarify that they had “a pilot with his parachute,” but lacked any further information about the plane or confirmation of a crash. The official mentioned that “visibility was compromised during the pilot’s descent due to weather conditions.”

The Marine Corps suggested that emergency protection features on fighter jets could account for the F-35’s continued flight after the ejection. These flight control systems are designed to stabilize the aircraft if a pilot is no longer able to man the controls.

Additional questions linger about why the aircraft was not tracked as it flew over South Carolina, and why locating the substantial fighter jet took so long, especially since it passed over populated, albeit rural, areas. Security features intended to erase the jet’s secure communications upon pilot ejection may have added complexity to the search effort, the Marines stated.

The investigation remains ongoing, with results from the official review board expected to take several months. The Marine Corps emphasized that the features that enabled the plane to continue flying potentially saved not just the pilot’s life but also prevented disaster in a populated area adjacent to the airport.

Reporters Copp and Pollard contributed to this article. Pollard is part of the Big Big News/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative, a nonprofit national service program placing journalists in local newsrooms to cover underreported issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F-35 Ejection Incident

What happened in the unusual incident involving an F-35 fighter jet?

A military pilot was forced to eject from his F-35 fighter jet over Charleston, South Carolina, due to a malfunction. He parachuted into a residential backyard and subsequently made a bewildering 911 call requesting medical assistance. The aircraft continued to fly unmanned for another 60 miles before crashing in a rural area near Indiantown.

Who were the individuals involved in the 911 call?

The 911 call involved three unidentified individuals: a North Charleston resident who reported the pilot landing in his backyard, the disoriented pilot who was uncertain about the fate of his F-35, and a perplexed dispatcher trying to understand the situation.

How did the authorities describe the pilot?

The Marine Corps described the pilot as a seasoned aviator with extensive cockpit experience. He was 47 years old and suffered only from back pain after ejecting and parachuting to safety.

Why did the aircraft continue flying after the pilot ejected?

The Marine Corps suggested that emergency protection features, specifically flight control systems, could have stabilized the aircraft after the pilot’s ejection. These systems are designed to maintain the aircraft’s current state if there is no pilot input.

What complicated the efforts to locate the crashed F-35?

Features designed to erase the jet’s secure communications upon pilot ejection may have complicated the search. The aircraft’s stealth capabilities, along with weather conditions, also hindered traditional tracking methods.

How long did it take to locate the wreckage of the aircraft?

It took more than a day to locate the wreckage of the F-35, which had crash-landed in a rural area near Indiantown, 60 miles from where the pilot ejected.

What is the current status of the investigation into this incident?

The incident remains under investigation, and the results from an official review board could take several months to be released.

Did the emergency features of the F-35 have any positive outcomes?

Yes, the Marine Corps emphasized that the emergency protection features not only may have saved the pilot’s life but also averted a potential disaster in the densely populated area surrounding the Charleston International Airport.

More about F-35 Ejection Incident

  • Official Marine Corps Statement on F-35 Ejection Incident
  • North Charleston Police Department 911 Call Records
  • Report for America Statehouse News Initiative
  • National Transportation Safety Board Preliminary Report on Aircraft Incidents
  • Charleston International Airport Official Statement
  • FAA Regulations on Military Aircraft Operations
  • U.S. Department of Defense on Advanced Aircraft Technologies
  • Meteorological Data for Charleston on the Date of Incident
  • Analysis of F-35 Stealth Capabilities
  • Previous Cases of Military Aircraft Ejections and Emergency Landings

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Emily Smith September 22, 2023 - 11:08 am

Unreal how the pilot kept his cool. Hats off to the guy, but also begs the question, why it took so long to find the plane. They need to get their act together.

Sarah K. September 22, 2023 - 1:24 pm

Hard to wrap my head around it. an F-35 just disappears into thin air? and the authorities don’t even know where it is? something’s fishy here.

Mike O'Brien September 22, 2023 - 2:56 pm

This is why i don’t trust those new fangled jets. Too much technology and not enough common sense. Whats gonna happen next?

John Doe September 22, 2023 - 5:57 pm

Wow, this is like a scene straight out of a movie. Can’t believe the plane just kept on flying like that. What’s the point of all that tech if it can’t be tracked down?


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