Japan MOD: F-35 Pilot Experienced Spatial Disorientation Before April Crash

The first operational Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A sits on the flightline while an F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off during the F-35A’s arrival ceremony at Misawa AB, Japan, on Jan. 25, 2018. Air Force photo by SSgt. Deana Heitzman.

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35 pilot who crashed in April likely experienced spatial disorientation before diving directly into the sea.

The F-3A, one of a four-ship training flight, crashed about a half hour after take off from Misawa AB, Japan. Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said during a June 10 briefing the jet dove into the sea at a speed of about 680 miles per hour.

“We believe it highly likely the pilot was suffering from vertigo or spatial disorientation and wasn’t aware of his condition,” Iwaya said, according to Reuters. “It can affect any pilot regardless of their experience.”

The remains of the pilot, 41-year-old Maj. Akinori Hosomi, were found last week.

The JASDF has suspended operations of its F-35s since the mishap, though flights are expected to resume soon.