An F-22 fighter jet on Monday afternoon suffered an “in-flight emergency” followed by a mishap on the ground in Florida, though the Raptor’s pilot safely landed the plane, Eglin Air Force Base said on Facebook.
The pilot brought the F-22 down to “maximize safety and minimize damage” during a routine training flight, 325th Fighter Wing spokesperson Capt. Sarah Johnson told Air Force Times. The jet came to rest with its nose on the runway at Eglin around 3:30 p.m.
“The aircraft landed with an abnormal landing gear configuration,” Johnson said. “In particular, its nose landing gear was not down.”
A picture posted to the unofficial Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page the same day shows an F-22 nose-down on the ground, with fire trucks at its side.
The plane was still on the runway Monday night because airmen needed to get tools from nearby Tyndall Air Force Base to move the jet, according to a later post on the unofficial Facebook page. Eglin is housing the 325th Fighter Wing’s F-22s for Tyndall, which is rebuilding its campus after Hurricane Michael leveled the installation in 2018.
The unnamed pilot — the only person on board the jet —was treated for minor injuries and released from a local hospital, Johnson said.
The Air Force did not disclose the condition of the plane on Tuesday. USAF investigators are looking into what caused the mishap.
Eglin has seen multiple aircraft accidents over the past year, including two separate F-22 and F-35A Lightning II crashes within days of each other in May 2020.
Nine F-22s encountered problems on the ground or in flight in fiscal 2020, according to Air Force Safety Center data. One of those jets was destroyed, while another suffered extensive damage. Others encountered issues like damage from debris and fire onboard.
Nearly half of the F-22 accidents last year occurred in the 325th Fighter Wing, the Air Force said.
Rachel Cohen joined Air Force Times as senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in Air Force Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), the Washington Post, and others.