Marine aviator updates – F-35, Ospreys

| September 21, 2023


Did see an interesting factoid about the Marine F-35 which went down over South Carolina. Everyone has been wondering why the pilot punched out of an airplane which went on to fly 60 miles further before it crashed, especially with a known airfield only a mile away.

The Marine Corps’ variant of the F-35 is different from the Air Force and Navy versions in that it can take off and land like a helicopter — which allows it to operate on amphibious assault ships. But it’s also different in that it’s the only one of the three variants that has an auto-eject function on its ejection seat, according to seat manufacturer Martin-Baker.

Hartford Courant

So the question now is whether the ejection seat decided to auto-eject the pilot? One has to wonder whether the ejection charges were made by Takata… or Skynet.


And the hits just keep coming for the CV-22 Osprey. After several forced landings – okay, let’s call a spade a spade and call them “crashes” – attributable to a ‘hard clutch’ description, the Marines in Okinawa had not just one, but THREE forced landings last week when emergency lights came on and caused the pilots to ground as a safety precaution.

According to the Marines, none of these were due to the ‘hard clutch’ issue which has caused several crashes (including a fatal one.) reported last week that two Okinawa Ospreys made forced landings on the southern islands of Japan within two hours of each other. Two days later, a third Osprey diverted to Oita Airport on the southwestern part of the mainland, marking three total in two days.

“When a caution light appeared in each cockpit, the pilots and aircrew complied with safety procedures and diverted their aircraft, landing safely so each aircraft could be assessed,” Martins said.

The first two Ospreys were diverted on Sept. 14 and returned to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa within the following few days “after completing necessary troubleshooting and maintenance actions,” Martins said.

The third Osprey that diverted landed at Oita at around 4:35 p.m. local time on Sept. 16. The pilots and aircrew followed proper landing procedures and diverted “out of an abundance of caution.”

I’m guessing that when a pilot sees his warning lights Christmas-tree on an aircraft which has killed many of his fellow Marines, “abundance of caution” is probably a bit of an understatement. Kudos to the pilots for keeping all from getting killed!

Trivia contest of the day: How long has it been since we brought a major system on line a) on time b) under budget and c) reliably? Me, my money is either on the B-52, the P-51 Mustang or the Jeep – sure can’t think of anything since. Your turn.


Oh, and a new food group for Marines (as long as they are getting all the grief today) Guess who is getting into the flower delivery business?    Crayola  CNN







Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Marines

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I have a thought on being “on time and on budget”. Congress (and the American populace who pays attention for that matter) have an unrealistic expectation for how much advanced tech cost or how long it takes to get right. As time goes by, we expect gear that is more and more cutting edge. Cutting edge takes a lot of time and failures to get it right. Elon Musk lands rocket boosters on barges in the middle of the freaking ocean – something that never gets old. How many failures did he take to get there? How much of his own (or his company’s) money did that take? I bet ya a whole hell of a lot. If he had been doing it for the government, he wouldn’t have been able to say “I imagine I’ll have a bunch of failures that most will call humiliating but I will call opportunities for learning and they will be very expensive. As such, I really can’t say when it will be done or how much it will cost, but I’ll get there.” That’s what it takes. Instead, corporations have to go to congress saying, “Sure we’ll be able to do this in five years for X dollars because I’m sure we won’t have too many issues.” If it didn’t happen to every single complex project, you might chock it up to a company, but it’s every project every time. It’s what super duper high tech takes. The B-29 went from submission of a model in May of 40 to first flight in Sept of 42 (today, actually, Sept 21st) and introduction two years after that. We couldn’t do that today because there are so many more systems to design and integrate, software to program and deconflict with the multiple systems, etc. The B-29, while cutting edge, still wasn’t as complicated to build once you had the design. We have the design for the F-35, but I bet we can’t build them that quickly because of the complexity not just of the whole, but of each of the parts. I could tell you… Read more »


FuzeVT, thanks for your post. The issue I have had with the F-35 fiasco is that we had the F-22. The F-22 flies higher, faster, and farther with a larger payload than the F-35. But in the usual Obama lack of wisdom, it was canceled. Canceled in favor of a pipe dream of one aircraft that could do everything. It is a jack of all trades and a master at none. We could have Lockheed Martin retool and restart the F-22 production for less than we will end up spending on the F-35. Perhaps my math is off but I am sure Lockheed Martin still has the plans and specs to do this.


If I remember correctly, Robert Gates, the SecDef at the time, and Boorock Obama, killed the F-22. Then they had the dies for the F-22 destroyed so no more could be made in a manner that wasn’t cost-prohibitive.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Crayola Flowers…….I thought it was going to be crayon based artificial flowers. I’m glad I was wrong.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Marine Corp variant or not, it still doesn’t answer the question, does the thing have a beacon or not. If not, why not? If it does, why couldn’t the searchers find it?


What sort of beacon do you have in mind? Like a homing beacon of some sort?

Seems to me something like that would be kind of detrimental to that whole “stealth” thing.

I retired from Naval aviation maintenance 20 years ago so things have changed, but we didn’t have any sort of “beacons” on the aircraft back then…I doubt that they do now

They do have transponders…but they can and regularly are turned off. Honestly I don’t know why they turn their transponders off when flying in the US during training missions, but they do. Maybe for plausible deniability when they draw penises in the sky?

We have three major military airfields in our local area (Chamber’s field, Oceana and Langley) so when people are taking private pilot lessons in this area, they are warned repeatedly not to trust the transponders because military planes often won’t have them on.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Ok. Not being a zoomie with unbuttoned flaps, I’m not up on all the proper techno babble ( 😉 ). What I meant (I think) was what you said, a transponder that could be manually turned off or on during normal ops, but that would automatically turn on during an emergency, to find the pilot/plane in case of a crash.

Acceptable?  😋 

I believe the ELT is on the ejection seat….


Got it.

Back in the day, the IFF system was set to go into emergency mode when the ejection seat was deployed, but the IFF had to be turned on for that to happen, it didn’t turn on the IFF, just set it to squawk emergency.

I don’t know if they still do that or if they even still have IFF or if something newer’s come along, but I’d imagine they’d be configured about the same way.

I think the idea is if the Pilot has turned off the system, the assumption is that it’s for a reason and they don’t want planes in a combat zone throwing emergency signals around for the enemy to pick up when they’re trying to be sneaky…so if it’s off, it’s off.

Why it would be turned off while flying in US airspace during a training hop is beyond me however.

Keep in mind that fighter pilots (especially Marine fighter pilots) are essentially fully grown adolescents with egos the size of Mount Rushmore. It wouldn’t surprise me if the pilot was doing something…um…questionable…for bragging rights or something and didn’t want to leave an electronic evidence trail for Mom and Dad to find.


“Survival Locator Beacon. Compact, military grade emergency beacon providing tri-band operation with GPS. Easy to install: designed for use in ACES II® and Martin-Baker ejection seat packs, and BA-22 parachutes.”

It does have a transponder but you can turn it off in order to be all stealthy. It seems this one was stealthing about when the pilot got some fresh air.


I don’t know, if it was a grail shaped beacon there wouldn’t have been a big problem finding it although the circumstances after the fact there would’ve been some disciplinary actions involved.


I thought the VTOL capability was inherent in all F35s. So do they turn that off for the Air Force models? I’m not a flier, so maybe I don’t understand, but why would you not want such a function if the design already has it?


This article describes the 3 F-35 variants:

Prior Service

the VTOL ability cuts into the ordnance load. The Navy assumes it will always have carrier decks, and the AF doesn’t plan to be so far forward as to need no runways so opt for higher ordnance and less engineering complexity. Only USMC wants its CAS immediately proximate to the fight. quicker turns, for higher sorties generated may offset lower bomb load.




Hacked F35s vs Earth, with some Sabaton,

AW1 Rod

Trivia contest:

That would be the P-51 Mustang.


I’m betting the B-52 was way over budget, but given it’s incredible longevity, we may have overcome that. The newest airframe is 60 years old, I’d call it a long-term win.

*Fair disclosure: I’m an Air Force brat that grew up climbing all over B-52’s with all the other crew kids, using it like our own personal jungle gym. My opinions on this particular aircraft might be just tad biased.

Prior Service

Dad was navy pilot, mom was a model (I got neither pilot skills nor model looks-hence army…). We were stationed at a USAF base where I climbed all over the BUFFs and my mom did a fashion show with the BUFF’s wings as the “runway.” Probably can’t do that anymore.


My dad retired in ’68, times were surely different! I can recall sitting in crewchief’s lap in the pilot’s seat, my little hand on a throttle lever with this giant paw (that was attached to an enormous Master Sergeant) on top of it, running up engines the night prior to a training mission. Try that now lol.

Prior Service

Ha, yep. my navy dad leaves USAF base and we wind up at an Army base (EUCOM). me and my brother go look at some M60 tanks. Soldier comes out and says he has to sweep out underneath, do we want to ride in them while he moves them? Heck yeah!! Wasn’t until I was in the army myself that I realized the dude must’ve been on extra duty on Saturday. Cant imagine someone doing this now. not sure what I would have done if presented with this as an army leader!

Dennis - not chevy

I got caught doing something like that on Saturday mornings when my daughter was about 5 – 6 years old. The base fire chief would call me and tell me one of his fire trucks had broken down and he didn’t care if I wasn’t on stand-by, I was going to un-ass my rack and get it to work. I told him he’d get me the way he’d get me and that included having my daughter tag along. It got to the point where my daughter would wake me up early on Saturday to go to the fire station. She loved it when I got all sweaty and dirty and she and the Chief would raid the freezer in the dining room. I sweated like a hog while those two chowed down on ice cream.

One morning a fire truck needed more work than I could do at the fire station, so I call vehicle op’s to pick it up with a wrecker. A more senior NCO saw my daughter and I riding in the wrecker.

I got called into the office for a chewing out on Monday. They said the General would have had my backside if he saw us. I asked the powers that were what would the General want: his firetruck fixed; or wait until I could get someone to watch the kid? I heard no more about it.


I watched a Betty getting refueled by a Pegasus over
Halifax yesterday on an ADS-B feed. The Betty wasn’t
displaying a callsign but that’s normal.
The old girls are well respected throughout the world.

Mike B

In the summer of 81 (Between my 8th and 9th grade years) at Homestead AFB, FL. My dad was Production Super over Aircraft Maintenance, the Wing Commander’s aircraft had a nose steering problem. Well Maintenance fixed it again, and dad and the Commander met to verify the job as done.

My mom, was in Holland visiting her family, so dad brought us (Brother and I) along, to keep us out of trouble. The Wing King arrives, talks to my dad a bit, I get a tour of the back seat of the F-4 (Told what not to touch, and how to talk with the pilot). I get a headset then down goes the rear canopy, I’m a little confused at this point. The Commander is up-front and I can hear and feel the engines spool up, figured they were doing an engine run/check. Then off to side I see my dad showing my brother how to marshall the aircraft out. The Wing King conducted several high speed taxi checks on the runway with me in the backseat. Talk about a rush, and a story.

Won’t see that happening anymore that is for sure.
It was a different time, and different world we Military Brats grew up in back then. Memories of climbing all over aircraft during open houses, or when dad took us to work with him.

USAF Retired


“attributable to a ‘hard clutch’”

Probably the throw out bearing. Either that or from
the pilot side stepping it.


Well, smoke, and noise, is expected when one side steps the clutch.


Ya think they mighta blown the tranny? In today’s military that is a clear and present danger.

Still curious as to why no one has heard anything from Mick.

On time and under budget? Don’t hold your breath.


A certain Marine Aviator sent in this bit-

What We Know About the Marine Corps F-35 Crash, Backyard Ejection and What Went Wrong |

The Marine Corps’ variant of the F-35 is different from the Air Force and Navy versions in that it can take off and land like a helicopter — which allows it to operate on amphibious assault ships. But it’s also different in that it’s the only one of the three variants that has an auto-eject function on its ejection seat, according to seat manufacturer Martin-Baker. That has raised questions as to whether the malfunction the pilot experienced was the seat itself.


The most obvious problem with the Osprey is they have the
rotors off to the side. The CH-46 has them the correct way.


I have some bad news, -beans.

bell quad.png

How long has it been since we brought a major system on line a) on time b) under budget and c) reliably? Me, my money is either on the B-52, the P-51 Mustang or the Jeep – sure can’t think of anything since. Your turn.

Pretty much anything before McNamara could be on that list, just about nothing after his reign would…

‘Saving money by spending more’ has been SOP for over a half century.

Here’s me hoping and praying the DeeDohDee becomes better stewards of our tax dollars extortions.

Fry noes.jpeg

The pilots and aircrew followed proper landing procedures and diverted “out of an abundance of caution.”

IMHO, doing anything that will keep you safe from a known and recurring failure that has killed others is not “an abundance of caution” but “common sense”.

But then again, I’m not a Marine.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Heres the deal on the pilot “Punching” out Which I should have mentioned when we had the F-35 skinny. Well, it’s like this, the pilot pulled the ejector instead of his ejaculater while reading Playboy.


Airplane fall down, go boom…


big bada boom


This is what happens when you trust computers over people. The 737-800MAX was one of the first airplanes to feature a computer that had a propensity for “thinning the heard”.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande


I can’t type…and when I edit I don’t catch everything😞


Minuteman I Missile.


I’m surprised no one caught this in 22 hours.

CV-22 – Air Force
MV-22 – Marines

Also, new variant
CMV-22B – Navy

mv-22 osprey 1.jpg

F4 bailout to see what it felt like to ‘punch out’ of with perfectly good plane? Could be a off-spring of this family?

Mike B

Ejection seat aircraft have a beacon/ELT installed in the survival kit. There is typically a plunger on the kit or lanyard that runs from the beacon to the seat. Once man-seat separation occurs the beacon starts transmitting. Don’t know if the beacons have been changed or not, but the AN/URT-33 beacon squawked on 243 MHz aka international distress frequency.

That said the beacon has a rocker switch which can be used to turn the beacon on and off.

I know some military aircraft had an ELT installed on them. The OV-10 Bronco had it in the cargo section and was notorious for activating it the door was closed too hard, or of the wind blew to hard and rocked the aircraft. I spent many a weekend and night hunting down erroneous ELTs going off on the Bronco. I believe the Bronco was an exception versus a norm when it came to military aircraft having an ELT.

The F-35 has Radar Reflectors, when configured these allow it be picked up by radar. My understanding is this configuration must be done before flight.

As for its transponder (IFF) whether it was turned off or had an isolates issue, or is an ongoing issue is beyond me.

I spent my 22 year 8 month AF career as an Aircrew Life Support Technician maintaining aircrew survival equipment and flight equipment, to include training them on ejection, bailout and survival procedures.

USAF Retired

Mike B

Correction to my above statement.

The lanyard on the ejection seat if for deploying/opening the survival kit on man-seat separation.

The back style parachute (BA-18M) has a lanyard attached to the beacon when/if a beacon is installed to activate it during deployment of the canopy.

In the AF they are not always installed in back style parachutes and when I was in AFSOC 88-92, 86-00, 01-08 they were never installed. Not being installed was an AFSOC directive.

USAF Retired