Thankfully the pilot was not injured in the incident.
By Kyle Mizokami
An F-22 Raptor fighter jet was damaged this weekend when it evidently experienced a malfunction during takeoff. The fighter skidded to a stop on the runway, damaging the underside of the aircraft. The pilot was not injured and the incident is under investigation.
The F-22 Raptor was in the midst of taking off from Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada when the left engine apparently stalled. The War Zone blog contacted Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, where the F-22 was based, the Air Force confirmed the accident took place.
The Air Force also stated it appears that the damage can be repaired.
It’s not clear what happened, but a post to Facebook’s Air Force amn/nco/snco group stated that the left engine basically stopped working on takeoff, suddenly depriving the pilot of enough thrust to continue ascent. Meanwhile the pilot had already raised the landing gear, setting the stage for a hard, bouncy landing that lasted for more than a mile. The post also included images of the aircraft sitting on the runway, landing gear up.
In the Facebook photos, you can clearly see that the left engine is still pointed downward to assist in takeoff while the right engine is parallel to the rest of the aircraft. The Facebook post also references another rumored incident last week involving an F-22 engine that allegedly did not involve a mishap.
The Raptor, part of the USAF 3rd Air Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, was at Fallon Naval Air Station to train with U.S. Navy fighters in so-called dissimilar air combat training (DACT). DACT pits American fighter pilots against aircraft from other services, and occasionally other countries, to allow them to train against fighters with different flying characteristics. As one of the only two stealth fighters operational around the world, the Raptor would be a unique challenge for the Super Hornet strike fighters training out of Fallon.