Tokyo: Human error was the likely cause of an F-35A fighter jet crash in April, Japan’s defence ministry said, and flights of the stealth jet will resume after new training measures.
The jet crashed into the sea in April after the 41-year-old pilot suffered “spatial disorientation”, in which a person loses their sense of balance, the ministry concluded.
“The crash was likely caused by spatial disorientation of the pilot, not technical problems with the aircraft,” a ministry official said.
The ministry plans to resume flights of the aircraft after pilots are briefed on spatial disorientation, and receive training in a simulation of the experience, the official said.
The state-of-the-art fighter jet went missing on April 9 while flying 135km east of Misawa, northeastern Japan, on a training mission.
It lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from Misawa Air Base with three other aircraft.
It was the first reported crash by an F-35A, according to Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force.
Last week, the ministry called off its search for the jet about two months after the accident sparked a scramble to recover the pilot and secrets onboard.
Some parts of the pilot’s body and debris have been recovered, including the jet’s tail, but the flight data recorder has not been found. — AFP