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Life's Rich Pageant

We Must Salute The Guy Who Drove An F-35 Straight Into The Ocean

Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Let’s just get this out of the way: The pilot involved in the crash that you are about to witness is alive and well. So you are free to let a chuckle or two escape your mouth as you watch an F-35 lazily roll off the runway of a British aircraft carrier and splash right into the sea:

It’s unclear when exactly this crash took place, but the BBC reports that it happened while the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth was performing maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea. The Ministry of Defence had previously confirmed that the crash had taken place and that the pilot had managed to eject from the plane and return safely to the ship. After video of the crash began to circulate online Monday, the Ministry told the BBC that it was still too early to determine what exactly had caused it. There has been speculation that the crash was caused by simple pilot error, or because an engine cover was left on the plane.

No matter what specifically caused this very expensive piece of military equipment to pathetically roll into the ocean and sink to the bottom, I think we can all agree that the pilot who put it there is a hero to all. I’ve watched the video of the plane splashing into the water probably a dozen times, and each time the experience has evoked memories of dumb, panicked shit I’ve done while behind the wheel of a vehicle. There was the time in high school when I backed my car down the driveway and directly into my neighbor’s car parked across the street. There were all those winter mornings when I drove to work with a totally frosted windshield, save for the tiny square of space from which I scraped away just enough ice to see through. There was the time more recently when I picked up a Zipcar from a garage in Brooklyn, only to discover that the garage door would not re-open from the inside and that I was in fact trapped, which led me to frantically put the car in reverse and smash one of the side mirrors into the wall I was far too close to.

We’ve all been there! (Haha, right??) But I’m not sure if anyone has been there harder than this particular F-35 pilot. I eventually managed to get out of that garage, and Zipcar never even charged me for the dinged mirror, but this dude put a £100 million aircraft into the ocean in front of everyone. How must that feel? Pretty bad for him, I imagine. And yet the rest of us can take solace in his error. No matter how many dumb fender-benders we get into, we will never be the guy who oopsied an astronomically expensive piece of military equipment into the blue abyss. For that, he has my thanks.