[Updated] F-35B Crashes Near Albuquerque Airport, New Mexico

F-35 crash
The crash site (screenshot from KOB4 feed)

An F-35 crashed near Albuquerque International. According to the first reports, the pilot successfully ejected.

An F-35 Lightning II aircraft has crashed near Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), New Mexico, on May 28, 2024. Images showing the explosion the emergency team trying to extinguish the fire at the crash site have started circulating online.

According to KOB4, the pilot would be conscious and breathing and has been taken to the hospital.

The F-35 had just taken off from Runway 21 at ABQ.

Although it’s too early to say, by the look of the wreckage, it looks like the type was an F-35B (to be confirmed).

Previous crashes

The most recent crash of a U.S. F-35 occurred on Sept. 17, 2023, when a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B crashed in South Carolina after the pilot ejected due to a malfunction. The aircraft continued flying for about 60 miles before crashing in a field near Indiantown, South Carolina. The incident led to a day-long search for the wreckage, which was eventually found in a field.

Previously, on Dec. 15, 2022, an F-35B crashed during a vertical landing at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas. The F-35B involved in that crash was Lockheed-owned (hence not yet delivered to/accepted by the final customer).

This is developing story, we will update it as soon as new details emerge.

Update May 29, 2024 05.00 GMT

The F-35B had departed from Lockheed Martin’s Manufacturing Plant in Fort Worth, Texas and was heading to Edwards Air Force Base in California via a fuel stopover at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. It crashed shortly after take off from Kirtland AFB.

According to some unverified accounts circulating online, on departure, the F-35B was offered by the ATC a rapid climb to 20,000 feet, but the pilot responded that he promised to do a short take off for some guys on the ramp. Indeed, the images of the crash show the F-35B taking off in STOVL mode.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.