By: Andrew Dyer for San Diego Tribune, Oct. 5, 2018
The crash of a Marine F-35B in South Carolina last week has some residents concerned about the jet’s impending arrival at Marine Corps Station Miramar in 2020.
The Marine F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter attached to an East Coast training squadron crashed on Sept. 28. The crashed jet belonged to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 based out of Beaufort, South Carolina. The pilot ejected safely while the jet crashed into an island about four miles northwest of the runway at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
On that same day that, more than 2,100 miles away, spectators at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar attended the largest military air show in the nation — one that included a performance by the F-35B. Miramar expects its first permanent F-35B squadron to arrive early in 2020.
“We’re hoping that this crash will bring up the need to reassure the community,” said Barry Bernstien, president of the University City Community Association. “It brings up questions about the safety of that particular aircraft.”
That aircraft — in either its A, B or C variants — had not yet experienced a crash until Friday. It is still pretty new, however, and has experienced a number of mishaps on the ground, from landing gear-failure to engine fires. It has also been controversial, with cost overruns and years-long delays.