Spatial disorientation of the pilot was likely the cause of the 9 April crash of a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft into the Pacific Ocean, Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said on 10 June.
The minister deemed it “very unlikely” that the aircraft had suffered a technical issue, arguing instead that comprehensive analysis points to the pilot having likely experienced vertigo and losing his sense of equilibrium.
In a separate statement the JASDF said the 41-year-old pilot, Major Akinori Hosomi, whose body parts were recently found at sea, may have suffered spatial disorientation when his aircraft spiralled down counter-clockwise at more than 1,100 km/h.
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