F-35Bs Cleared for Return to Flight

The F-35 Joint Program Office restored flight clearance for the F-35B strike fighter variant, announced F-35 spokesman Joe DellaVedova. He said the JPO issued the return-to-flight order on Feb. 12, rescinding a cautionary suspension instituted on Jan. 18 after the failure of a fueldraulic hose on an F-35B jet during a training sortie on Jan. 16 at Eglin AFB, Fla. The hose enables actuator movement for the F-35B’s vectoring exhaust system, explained DellaVedova. Defense Department and contractor engineers determined that the hose was improperly crimped. Maintainers have inspected all the hoses of this type on the current fleet of 25 F-35Bs and will replace those out of tolerance, said DellaVedova. Once compliant hoses are installed, the airplanes may fly, he said. The flight suspension involved only the F-35Bs, not the Air Force’s F-35As or Navy’s F-35Cs.