Kadena F-35A loses panel in flight

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Dragon029

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 19:16

http://www.airforcesmonthly.com/2017/12 ... in-flight/

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Nothing dramatic, probably someone screwed up when they forgot to properly screw in a bolt or lock the panel closed, but it did make me wonder; how much effort would the US put into finding that panel? If it dropped into the ocean then probably not much, but if it landed over land, I wonder whether they'd send out search parties to prevent random civilians or foreign actors getting their hands on the RAM?
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sferrin

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 19:34

Bet you ten thousand dollars somebody brings it up as a failing of the F-35 or "we need to cancel it because it's already compromised from dropping a panel over China" or something equally stupid.
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krorvik

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 20:18

Tyler Rogoway is already hinting in that direction on twitter.

Bet its going to be reeeeally easy to find it ;)
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 20:23

Here is a closeup of the panel involved. What is clear is that it's a non-powered door (ie you have to open it manually and even have to "prop" it open".

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Here is a video of the door being opened (2:05)

Last edited by SpudmanWP on 01 Dec 2017, 21:22, edited 1 time in total.
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sferrin

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 20:39

krorvik wrote:Tyler Rogoway is already hinting in that direction on twitter.

Bet its going to be reeeeally easy to find it ;)


Well he is vying to take over Sprey's role as Pied Piper of the Basement Dweller crowd.
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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 21:03

8) :twisted: :devil: Mebbe it was a 'no corrosion treatment' issue and some part(s) corroded away? :doh: :drool: :roll:
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tomcattech

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 21:09

Looks like a standard refuel panel with an intercom interface for ground crew.

That panel is opened up frequently due to its use.

That's why you have the panel prop and only the sides have standard panel screws.
(Push button fasteners on the bottom)

My guess is the aircraft had a morning mission, stopped by the fuel pit and then took off again.

If that's the case there may be someone from the fuel pit in hot water for not securing the panel correctly or verifying that it was secure. I bet there was a pissed off airframer as well...

Luckily the fuel panel isn't in front of the intake or it would have been a bad day.
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grab6303

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 22:47

That is known as the Maintenance Interface Panel (MIP). Otherwise known as door 2108. The bay has fuel, B sys hydro, MVI, and comm connections along with an IPP start switch. We have had longstanding issues with the latch design of this panel. Note the white paint markings on the still intact MIP latches pictured. That was a result of the last time this happened (~2014). Plenty of measures in place to ensure all of those latches are secured (has a poppet that springs flush with the surface once latched and we have 7 level crew chiefs inspect after close).

Educated guess...Over time one of the latches on the leading edge loosened or an indention developed on the airframe itself which allowed air to slip under the door. Impossible to simulate BFM vibrations on the ground. I chalk it up to sh*t happens and we need better latches. The good news is it doesn't look like there was significant damage to the airframe. Sparing any composite repairs, she'll be ready to fly an hour after the 34th gets a replacement. Grab
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tomcattech

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 23:16

That's excellent info.

Thx Grab!
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kimjongnumbaun

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Unread post01 Dec 2017, 23:58

Had a similar situation happen at my unit. A pilot opened up the tail drive shaft cowling to check it, as required for preflight. Forgot to secure it before taking off. It stayed attached to the hinges so imagine the rotor system causing it to buffet against the tail boom for an hour and a half. Sheet metal was pissed. The truth is people are human and sometimes make (expensive) mistakes. Thankfully, as in this case with the F-35, no one was hurt.

As to the original question about the panel recovery...while getting the panel could provide useful intel about stealth materials, recreating the production process is a whole different ballgame. The Russians had access to the shot down F-117 and they still took a decade to make the SU-57 which, supposedly, isn’t that stealthy.
Last edited by kimjongnumbaun on 02 Dec 2017, 00:02, edited 1 time in total.
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popcorn

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Unread post02 Dec 2017, 00:00

Oh no.. time to ground the fleet. :mrgreen:
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atenpas

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Unread post02 Dec 2017, 02:54

Dragon029 wrote:http://www.airforcesmonthly.com/2017/12/01/kadena-f-35a-loses-panel-in-flight/

Image

Image

Nothing dramatic, probably someone screwed up when they forgot to properly screw in a bolt or lock the panel closed, but it did make me wonder; how much effort would the US put into finding that panel? If it dropped into the ocean then probably not much, but if it landed over land, I wonder whether they'd send out search parties to prevent random civilians or foreign actors getting their hands on the RAM?


Copyright of the pictures: Arnold ten Pas (that would be me...:-) )
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steve2267

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Unread post02 Dec 2017, 16:32

Nice photos! Welcome to the forum.
Take an F-16, stir in a little A-7, bake, then sprinkle on a generous helping of F-117. What do you get? An F-35.
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Unread post02 Dec 2017, 20:55

atenpas wrote:Copyright of the pictures: Arnold ten Pas (that would be me...:-) )

Nice job... I just updated the KeyPub post with your Copyright, sorry about that.
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krorvik

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Unread post03 Dec 2017, 15:18

tomcattech wrote:If that's the case there may be someone from the fuel pit in hot water for not securing the panel correctly or verifying that it was secure. I bet there was a pissed off airframer as well....


A little hot water, sure, but more importantly - figure out if and how the procedures failed, and make any necessary tweaks. That procedure might be somewhere else than crew.
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