Flight operations for Lockheed Martin's F-35s have resumed a little more than a week after an engine defect forced the entire fleet to be grounded.
F-35s were grounded after a crack was found during a routine inspection of a turbine blade of a test aircraft stationed at Edward Air Force Base. The engine was taken to manufacturer Pratt and Whitney's Middletown, Conn. Facility for testing. Company officials said the results showed the particular F-35 had been operated "for an extended time in the high-temperature environment in its mission to expand the F-35 flight envelope. Prolonged exposure to high levels of heat and other operational stressors on this specific engine were determined to be the cause of the crack."
Pratt and Whitney said no additional cracks were found during the inspections of the remaining F-35 inventory.
Pentagon officials said flights could be resumed immediately. The grounding had applied to all variants to the F-35: the A version for the Air Force, B for Marines and C carrier variant for the Navy.
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