Every other July, military and aerospace (mil/aero) professionals and aviation enthusiasts from all over the globe flock to the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA). This month was no different, and this mil/aero geek found himself among a crowd of roughly 100,000 at FIA2014 in Farnborough, England.
Attendees, to both the trade days and the public days, were anxious to see several commercial and military aircraft that were making their debut at FIA2014, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner commercial passenger jet and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) single-seat, single-engine, fifth-generation multirole military fighter aircraft.
F-35B Lightning II military aircraft were also on track to appear at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. Four F-35 jets in total were slated to fly from the U.S. to the U.K. to take part in both events, yet all F-35s were grounded just before the fourth of July, Independence Day in the U.S. A potentially life-threatening aircraft engine issue was the culprit.
The entire F-35 fleet was grounded on 3 July 2014 in the wake of a 23 June 2014 engine fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida. No one was injured during the incident.
“While we’re disappointed that we’re not going to be able to participate in the airshow,” says Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby. “We remain fully committed to the program itself and look forward to future opportunities to showcase its capabilities to allies and to partners.”