Airworthiness authorities for the Navy and the Air Force yesterday approved the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter fleet to resume limited flight, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
In a statement issued this morning, Kirby said this is a limited flight clearance that includes an engine inspection regimen and restricted flights that will remain in effect until the root cause of a June 23 engine fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is identified and corrected.
The fleet was grounded July 3, putting in jeopardy a long-awaited appearance by the F-35 at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. In his statement, Kirby said officials remain hopeful that the F-35 can make an appearance at Farnborough.
“This information is an encouraging step, but no final decision has been made at this time,” he said, noting that safety remains the overriding priority.