U.S.

May 21, 2012

Military trainer jet crashes in California, one dead

by Jeff Wilson
Associated Press

A privately owned jet contracted by the military to play the enemy in training exercises crashed May 18 in a Southern California farm field, killing the civilian pilot, authorities said.

The Hawker Hunter jet trainer went down near Naval Base Ventura County, fire department spokesman Steve Swindle said. The pilot was the only person aboard.

The high-performance military-style aircraft took off from the base on a training sortie with another jet trainer and went down as it was returning, about two miles from the runway.

“He was on final approach. He went down,” Swindle said. He said the sky in the area was “bright and crystal clear.”

The farm field where the plane crashed is between Point Mugu State Park, Camarillo Airport, and the Naval base, some 50 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Debris from the crash covered an area about the size of a football field, Swindle said. There were no injuries on the ground and there was no fire, he said.

Sergio Mendoza, 23, was working in a nearby celery field when he saw the two planes flying together.

He told the Ventura County Star he saw one jet on fire and it began breaking apart in the sky as he lost sight of it.

Naval and fire personnel were at the crash site and investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board would take over the investigation, Swindle said.

The British-built, single-seat Hawker Hunter was owned by Airborne Tactical Advantage Co. of Newport News, Va., known as ATAC. It provides aerial training to the military, including the Navy’s elite Fighter Weapons School.

Matt “Race” Bannon, director of business development for ATAC, confirmed that the pilot was also from the company but would not identify him or give any details until relatives were notified.

“Our concern right now is with the family,” Bannon said.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. “I won’t even speculate as to anything,” Bannon said.

Following company procedure after accidents, ATAC was immediately halting all its flights.

The Naval base uses ATAC planes and pilots to provide adversarial support for its fleet of ships out of San Diego, base spokesman Vance Vasquez said.

“They go out and play the bad guy,” Vasquez said, “mimicking the enemy, jamming their radar, testing the fleet’s defenses.”

On March 6, one of the company’s Israeli-built F-21 Kfir jets crashed into a building at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev., killing the pilot. ATAC said at the time that although the investigation was continuing, there was no question that erratic and severe weather that had not been forecast contributed to the accident.

The May 18 crash occurred on the anniversary of the crash of a commercial aerial refueling tanker during takeoff from the Ventura base’s air station at Point Mugu. All three crewmembers escaped on May 18, 2011, before fire destroyed the Boeing 707 registered to Omega Air Inc. of San Antonio, Texas.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines September 15, 2014

News: Navy identifies pilot presumed dead in crash - A Navy fighter pilot presumed dead after two fighter jets crashed in the far western Pacific Ocean has been identified.   Business: Boeing eyes 737-700 solution for new JSTARS - Boeing is officially planning a variant of its 737-700 commercial jetliner as a competitor for the Air Force’s...
 
 

News Briefs September 15, 2014

Australia contributing planes for anti-IS campaign Australia is preparing to contribute 600 troops and up to 10 military aircraft to the increasingly aggressive campaign against the Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sept. 14. Abbott said Australia was responding to a formal request from the United States for specific...
 
 
Courtesy graphic

Lockheed Martin conducts flight tests of aircraft laser turret for DARPA

AFRL photograph The Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control turret that Lockheed Martin is developing for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Laboratory has completed initial flight testing. T...
 

 

Lockheed Martin advances live, virtual, constructive training in flight test

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jvXmOW8L3mU Lockheed Martin successfully tested a new solution for integrated live, virtual and constructive training during a flight demonstration at the company’s Aeronautics facility in Fort Worth, Texas. During the flight test, a pilot flying in a live F-16 engaged in a synthetic training exercise with a pilot flying as wing...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover arrives at Martian mountain

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet’s Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term prime destination. “Curiosity n...
 
 

Raytheon begins full rate production on TALON Laser Guided Rockets

Under a $117 million contract awarded to Raytheon, Raytheon Missile Systems has begun production of the TALON Laser Guided Rocket. In 2013, the Armed Forces General Headquarters of the United Arab Emirates awarded Tawazun a contract to procure the TALON Laser Guided Rocket. “Full rate production of the TALON LGR is a significant milestone for...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>