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 July 29, 2015

News: Lockheed F-35s reliability found wanting in shipboard testing¬†– The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.   Business: Rockwell Collins to upgrade Boeing comms system¬†– Rockwell Collins will upgrade the low-frequency transmi...
 
 

News Briefs July 29, 2015

U.S. Navy examines health concerns near Guantanamo court A complaint lodged with the Pentagon has prompted the U.S. Navy to look into the possible presence of anything that may cause cancer in a section of the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a military spokeswoman said July 28. The Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center and...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier

New interrogation system installed on AWACS, more in pipeline

Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier An E-3 Sentry AWACS from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., prepares to land May 16, 2015. AWACS have the capability to detect enemy as well as friendly aircraft at great distances usi...
 

 

Remains of Pearl Harbor victims raised for identification

The military July 27 exhumed more caskets containing the unidentified remains of USS Oklahoma crew members killed in the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency disinterred five coffins from four grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, where they have rested for decades. The work is...
 
 
Boeing photograph

Boeing Oklahoma City expansion grows facilities, business presence

Boeing photograph July 29, Boeing broke ground on a new laboratory facility in Oklahoma City. Mayor Mick Cornett, Commissioner Brian Maughan, President of Boeing Global Services and Support Leanne Caret, Oklahoma Governor Mary ...
 
 

NASA awards contract to support agency’s human spaceflight programs

NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories Inc., of El Segundo, Calif., to provide biomedical, medical and health services in support of all human spaceflight programs at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The work supports ongoing research aboard the International Space Station and helps enable the journey to Mars. The Human Health and Performance contract...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>