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Air Force Clears Most F-35 Fighter Jets to Fly After Two-Week Grounding

  • Inspectors reviewed 706 ejector seat cartridges for flaws
  • Air Force initially cleared Europe, Pacific-based F-35s to fly
An F-35A fighter jet

An F-35A fighter jet

Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg

The Air Force cleared almost all of its 349 F-35 fighter jets to fly again after grounding them for two weeks to check for defective ejector-seat components.

Technicians replaced four of 706 cartridges used in the F-35s, Air Combat Command spokesperson Alexi Worley said Monday in a statement to Bloomberg News. Those four cartridges were later inspected and “determined compliant,” she said. The explosive cartridges, which propel the seat and pilot from the plane during an emergency, are made by Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Ltd.