The second produced Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II, designated AF-1 (Image © Matthew Short/Lockheed Martin)

Engine problem grounds F-35

The second produced Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II, designated AF-1 (Image © Matthew Short/Lockheed Martin)
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is grounded a second time for engine issues. (Image © Matthew Short/Lockheed Martin)

The entire US fleet of 104 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft was grounded over the weekend after a F-35B suffered an in-flight oil problem while flying from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma in Arizona. The measure probably also affects UK and Dutch F-35s currently flying in the US.

On June 10, a F-35B declared an emergency following an oil problem. The problem was most likely caused by the oil flow management unit, which controls oil flow to the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine. The incident prompted an inspection of all F-35 aircraft in service, and the same fault was found on at least three other aircraft. However, the type is said to have been cleared for flight again on Monday 16 June.

In 2013, the entire fleet was also temporarily grounded due to engine issues. The F-35 Lightning II is due to make its international airshow debut next month during the airshows in Fairford and Farnborough, both in the UK.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Elmer van Hest