A charged electrical wire brought down an F-22 last November at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., destroying the stealth fighter while the pilot ejected safely, according to an Air Force investigation into the crash.
The jet, part of the 43rd Fighter Squadron, was the lead of a two-ship training mission. During the flight, the positive generator-feeder wire burned through a hydraulic line, causing the generator to go offline, according to an Air Force release. The pilot attempted to restart the generator, with the ensuing arc igniting hydraulic fluid and sparking a fire in the jet’s left accessory-drive bay.
The fire damaged electrical and hydraulic systems that handle the F-22’s flight controls, making the jet uncontrollable and forcing the pilot to eject. The investigation also found that the weather inhibited the pilot’s ability to recover, with a solid undercast cloud layer obscuring the landscape.
The jet was completely destroyed, with a damage estimate of approximately $149.6 million, including the Raptor, related equipment and site restoration near Highway 98 outside of Panama City. The crash site was near a runway used by QF-4 targeting drones at Tyndall.
Following the investigation, F-22 maintenance personnel used the findings as a basis for multiple inspections of the entire fleet. The Air Force is planning a modification to separate the hydraulic and electrical lines on the jets.