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The pilot of the crashed F-35, who the Japan Air Self-Defense Force identified as 41-year-old Maj. Akinori Hosomi, is still missing. He was taking part in an air combat training mission with three other F-35s on Tuesday evening when the pilot and aircraft lost contact with other members of the flight and disappeared from radar approximately 85 miles (135 kilometers) east of Misawa Air Base in the northern part of Japan’s main island of Honshu.
The Misawa-based aircraft disappeared soon after Hosomi — who had 3,200 flight hours under his belt that included 60 on the F-35A — told the other pilots taking part to end the training portion of the flight. No other communication was subsequently heard from him, and none of the other pilots saw the aircraft crash.