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 30, 2014

News: Software to power F-35 running as much as 14 months late¬†- Software needed to operate Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, may be as much as 14 months late for required flight testing, according to a Pentagon review.   Business: Lockheed will turn on JLTV production line In August; 6-D truck...
 
 

News Briefs July 30, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,197 As of July 29, 2014, at least 2,197 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,819 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 

 
boeing-chinook

Boeing delivers first U.S. Army multiyear II configured Chinook

Boeing July 29 delivered the first multiyear II configured CH-47F Chinook helicopter to the U.S. Army one month ahead of schedule. The delivery was celebrated in a ceremony at the production facility in Ridley Township, Penn. ‚...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Angela Stafford

Engineers developing safer, more accurate tracer round

Army photograph Tracer rounds enable the shooter to follow the projectile trajectory to make aiming corrections. However, the light emitted by these rounds also gives away the position of the shooter. Engineers at Picatinny Ars...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

Katherine Lott awarded NASA Armstrong employee scholarship

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas Katherine Lott, the recipient of the 2014 NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship, is congratulated by NASA Armstrong center director David McBride. Flankin...
 




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>