Pilot vertigo likely cause of F-35A jet crash


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That's what killed JFK jr. and his passengers.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Although I'm sure the Japanese pilot had much more experience and was instrument-rated

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Vertigo is a killer - I've had multiple strokes all began within a few seconds violent vertigo dry heaves fall to floor lose vision unable to swallow paralyzed ain't no laughing matter...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

100 million dollars down the drain.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I've had vertigo at least 20 times (spinning/twisting sport related). Getting lost in the air usually ends with lots of pain. It always did my my experiences.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm talking bruises, black eyes, welts and bleeding from hitting water from 3m and 10m.

Nothing like in an aircraft where people almost always die if they don't eject.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan is deploying F-35As, each of which costs more than 10 billion yen ($92 million), to replace its aging F-4 fighters.

And our Abe, sucking up to Trump, recently agreed to buy 105 (one hundred and five) of them!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Blame the pilot. How very convenient.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Maybe need a big red ‘vertigo’ button on your chest. Hit that and the aircraft will attempt to right itself...?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

What is this based on ?!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Really, they have no clue. No flight recorder, no cockpit recorder, no communications, It's just a guess.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

It's so easy to blame the pilot who now can't defend himself.

What about equipment vertigo ?

Something is smelly here.

Very unfair to the pilot and his family.

Seems like some people protecting reputation of da-kine powerful arms industry.

Be that as it may let's all pray for the pilot whose name wasn't even mentioned in this article.

Instead we saw PM Abe's name instead.


3 ( +7 / -4 )

RIP. Wanted to be a pilot when I was a kid. Sounds like an amazing job and life this guy had.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

May well have been pilot complications like vertigo as has been indicated - but we'll probably never know.

Some questions remain that why did the most sophisticated advanced plane ever built not have some kind of fail-safe system that would trip into action under such circumstances?

Auto warning systems? Auto-control systems? Auto-pilot eject systems? etc.

And a brief summary of a Pentagon report last year.

"...A 2018 report from the Pentagon's operational testing and evaluation arm uncovered a host of problems with all three versions of the F35:

·        The F-35B's service life 'may be as low as 2,100 [hours],' a quarter of what was expected, due to structural issues. Some jets are expected to hit their service life limit and will need to be retired as early as 2026. 

·        Reliability issues mean that there are often not enough F35s in circulation for pilots to use them in training. The amount of time needed for repairs is extremely high. Report said there's no 'improving trend in' aircraft availability to fly training or combat missions.

·        Cybersecurity testing indicated that there are several vulnerabilities which 'have not yet been addressed'.

·        Tests carried out on air-to-ground attacks indicated 'unacceptable' accuracy levels.

·        Pilots were forced to deal with 'pervasive problems' on a 'daily basis'. Test office director Robert Behler said in the assessment that improvements in maintenance systems 'are still not translating into improved availability'.

·        Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan has previously stated the that F-35 'had a lot of opportunity for more performance'. Shanahan also said: 'I am biased toward giving the taxpayer their money's worth.'

·        Computerized maintenance tool known as 'ALIS' doesn't 'yet perform as intended'. Some ALIS data and functions deficiencies have led to 'significant' reliability problems. 

·        Overall performance was said to be 'well below' the benchmark set by the Pentagon...."

So it seems there may well be a lot more to this than we mortals are allowed to hear.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Spacial disorientation and vertigo are not uncommon in the environment the F-35A pilot was flying in.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Vertigo is no joke. It comes on suddenly with no warning.

But we'll never know if that was really the reason.


3 ( +3 / -0 )

I dunno. There are quite a few question marks here

They have no data from the recorders, and no radio indication of anything particularly unusual from the pilot. All they really have is radar information indicating that he plowed into the Pacific at close to 700MPH.

I would have assumed that the aircraft has some kind of terrain avoidance system which should have alerted the pilot he was too low and heading for the sea.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rest In Peace, sir.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from Misawa Air Base with three other aircraft.

If they were in formation, why didn't the other 3 pilots report the location. Why the long search?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So they let a pilot having possibilities of vertigo fly, the worst possible profile ?

How convenient indeed.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

@ Wesley - Because if he hit the water at speed, the aircraft would have broken up into smaller pieces. And, the place where he crashed is over 1500 meters deep. That's nearly a mile.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I assume they have some sort of evidence that it was vertigo, otherwise it would be irresponsible to say so.

That being said, I always thought vertigo was just being dizzy... until about a year ago when I turned over to get out of bed and had an episode of it. It came on all at once and I felt like I had rolled out of a speeding car onto the freeway... the world was spinning so fast and I didn't have the ability to understand what was going on - then a few moments into it I was violently, violently throwing up stomach acid. Honestly the pain of my abdominal muscles desperately trying to evacuate my stomach felt like labor contractions in reverse. After like 20 seconds which felt like 20 minutes I couldn't even function for the rest of the day because I was so nauseous and out of it. My doctor said it can happen if you roll over too quickly/awkwardly and it was nothing worry about. It's LITERALLY no joke. I can understand why it would bring down even the most well trained pilot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Defending at very steep angle at nearly the speed of sound?

Thats how a suicidal pilot would clock out.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Pilot vertigo is only a possibility given they don't have the recorder. That should be made very clear. Without the recorder there could be any number of possible causes, including my favorite, NK must have a vertigo-causing ray gun. But seriously, how can they rule out a fault with the plane or maybe the pilot had a stroke or heart attack.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If they were in formation, why didn't the other 3 pilots report the location. Why the long search?

The JSADF has got the data from MADL of the other two planes and has released as comprehensive a report as they can.

Essentially, they found a debris field, and search officially ended, and recovery now officially commenced. The concerned F35 broke into small pieces, and parts of the pilot has been recovered (RIP good captain).

The pilot reported 2 training kills, ends the mission (the 'knock it off' comments) and acknowledged instruction from ground control to descend to increase distance from US military plane nearby. He also acknowledged instruction to turn left for the same reason. 15 seconds later, the plane flew into terrain (the sea).

I don't think they are blaming the pilot, disorientation is a risk all pilots face, it's exasperated by the fact it's night time, over water (ie no visual features for orientation), not much moonlight and the mission has ended (relaxed state of affairs). Yes, there are instruments, and backup instruments and warning messages (fly up, fly up), but if you're disorientated, which way is up?, Instruments will just confound the situation. IMHO, the pilot most likely thought he was heading home until the fly up message, but by then, it's too late.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Vertigo and disorientation are common issues in small aircraft crashes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i wonder how they know it was the since all they say is "likely" and not sure... maybe the problem is the suffocation regularly reported in f35 because of crap engineering.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

What is this based on ?!

based on the importance of Japan-US relations Japan decided it was an human error, according to Japanese news.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )


Vertigo is a killer - I've had multiple strokes all began within a few seconds violent vertigo dry heaves fall to floor lose vision unable to swallow paralyzed ain't no laughing matter...

Jonathan Prin

So they let a pilot having possibilities of vertigo fly, the worst possible profile ?

That's not the kind of vertigo involved here. What's suspected is that the pilot experienced spacial disorientation, which can cause virtigo as an effect. Any pilot, regardless of physical condition or experience, can become spatially disoriented. In some cases a pilot may become physically ill, as in suffering the tumbling/falling senstation of virtigo, or simply not be able to integrate what the instruments are telling him against what his senses are telling him. Either way, the result can be catastrophic with an experienced pilot flying a perfectly functioning aircraft into the ground/water.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

i wonder how they know it was the since all they say is "likely" and not sure...

It's a formal enquiry/report, so unless it can be tested and verified, all they can say is likely hood (and some time % probability).

It does look like they got comprehensive voice recordings and flight data to rule everything else out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

based on the importance of Japan-US relations Japan decided it was an human error, according to Japanese news.


I call BS on this^^^, the crash rate from disorientation in aviation is 7 per 100,000 hrs flight, that's a lot, ie very common, and whikst pilots do train for it, given the environment, time of day etc, I doubt any expert in aviation would be caught quoting the theory you posted.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And our Abe, sucking up to Trump, recently agreed to buy 105 (one hundred and five) of them!

And you think it's reasonable for Japan to be flying F4 Phantoms in 2019?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And you think it's reasonable for Japan to be flying F4 Phantoms in 2019?

The F-4 is still faster than post 4th gen fighters. It was designed as a bomber interceptor, hardened against nuclear EMP, low maintenance requirements, and in the air and in target fast. True, it wasn’t a dogfighter, but it was never designed to be so.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


I love the old Phantom IIs myself, but they wouldn't last longer than ten minutes in the aerial combat scenarios Japan faces today. There's definitely a case for the JASDF to continue flying the F-15 in a defensive air intercept role where being visible (not stealth) to intruding hostile aircraft has some value, but the F-4s have outlived their use no matter how you slice it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


The F-4 is definitely outdated as an air defense fighter, but probably still has a role in ground attack or CAS where being on the scene I a hurry with a big payload is important. Agreed about the F-15. Truly a masterpiece, and the USAF is looking to extend its service lifespan with upgrade packages.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


Pilots are supposed to be in perfect shape and able to withstand hig g's for long time.

They are not having vertigo even for one second or else they are to retire...

Many here to have beliefs out of common sense.

I am not saying it could not be a more dramatic sudden health issue but not vertigo, and very very low probability.

If you think a Japanese F35 pilot is a bloke from Top Gun, remind me of not flying JAL planes please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All that cost for that plane and no auto-pilot button?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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