Pilot OK as California Air National Guard jet crashes
A California Air National Guard fighter jet crashed during a routine training mission but the pilot safely ejected.
The Guard says the Fresno-based F-16C went down the afternoon of Dec .27 about 100 miles east of Fresno. The Fresno Bee reports that the pilot was transported to a local military facility for an evaluation.
Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Drudge didn’t identify the pilot but said the pilot is a member of the Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing based in Fresno. He says the jet was flying between 12,000 and 15,000 feet when an in-flight emergency happened and the aircraft crashed in a remote area of Inyo County.
The cause is under investigation. No other details were immediately available. AP
Training expansion on hold for B-1, B-52 bombers
A plan to more than triple the airspace in which the U.S. Air Force can conduct training exercises with its Dakotas-based B-1 and B-52 bombers is still awaiting a final environmental impact statement.
The six-year effort to expand the airspace is a complex process that involves working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the region’s Native American tribes and the public through a detailed environmental review.
A draft environmental impact statement was released in August 2010, and public hearings were held in the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana later that year to solicit public comments.
Officials earlier had expected the statement to released last winter.
Air Force spokesman Maj. Matthew Reese says it’s still being finalized, and it’s currently out of the hands of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. AP
Sergeant who was murder witness sues, says retaliation
A sergeant is suing his employer, the California Army National Guard, for alleged retaliation after he testified in the murder trial of a colleague who was later convicted of killing a pregnant recruit.
City News Service reports Sgt. Erik Hein also claims infliction of emotional distress in the lawsuit filed Dec. 28 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Hein testified against Sgt. Scott Ansman and had urged superiors to investigate his colleague’s actions before the death of 29-year-old Joann Crystal Harris.
Ansman, a married father of three, beat her to death with a baseball bat in 2007 because he wrongly believed she was pregnant with his baby.
Deputy Attorney General David Adida represented the state in an earlier wrongful death suit and could not be reached for comment on Hein’s new lawsuit. AP
Iran test-fires missiles near Strait of Hormuz
Iran’s navy says it has test-fired a range of weapons during ongoing maneuvers near the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.
The Dec. 31 report by the official IRNA news agency quotes exercise spokesman Adm. Amir Rastgari as saying the Iranian-made air defense system Raad, or Thunder, was among the weapons tested.
Iran says the system fires missiles with a range of 50 kilometers (30 miles), capable of hitting targets at 22,000 meters (75,000 feet).
He said torpedoes and underwater and surface-to-surface rockets were also successfully tested.
The drill ran Dec .28 through Jan. 2. It’s one of a number of exercises Iran holds annually.
Iran has in the past said it might close the strait over Western sanctions, but has not made such threats recently. AP
Iran says it captured two more U.S. drones in past
An Iranian navy commander claims Iran captured two small U.S. drones in past missions in addition to at least four others reported earlier.
Adm. Amir Rastgari says the two drones were of the small, low-altitude RQ-11 type, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency. He said one was captured in summer of 2011 and the other Nov. 2012.
Rastgari claimed most of the data from the unmanned aircraft was recovered.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said last month that it captured a ScanEagle American drone after it entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf. At the same time, Iran claimed it had taken possession of two other simple, small ScanEagles.
In 2011, Iran claimed it brought down a more sophisticated CIA spy drone after it entered Iranian airspace from Afghanistan. AP