Exclusive: U.S. Marine Corps F-35C Suffers Nose Landing Gear Collapse While Parked


F-35C Nose Landing Gear collapse
A close-up of the nose of the aircraft resting on the EOTS. (Photo: Reader’s submission)

The pilot was climbing out of the F-35C when the nose landing gear began retracting.

A U.S. Marine Corps F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 311 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, has suffered a nose landing gear collapse while parked shortly after a training mission, photos a reader shared with The Aviationist show. According to the reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, the aircraft was at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, when the incident happened.

The photos appear to be legit and not digitally altered; and based on the details we were able to collect, the mishap F-35C is the airframe CF-89/170109, coded “WL-04”. The aircraft was parked under a sunshade after returning from an uneventful training flight on Jan. 26, 2024. According to the unverified report we were submitted, after shutting down the aircraft without problems, the pilot started climbing down the ladder when the nose landing gear began retracting slowly.

Upon reaching the halfway point, the nose landing gear fully collapsed. The photos show the aircraft resting on the Electro-Optical Targeting System’s glass fairing, without apparent damage. As far as we know, this should be the first time an F-35C nose landing gear “collapse” is reported, as similar incidents so far happened only on the A and B variants.

We reached out to NAS Fallon PAO for confirmation and further details but, at the time of writing, we haven’t received an answer yet, despite several attempts.

F-35C Nose Landing Gear collapse
The F-35C sitting on the EOTS after the nose landing gear collapse. (Photo: Reader’s submission)

Stefano D’Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he’s also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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