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January 17, 2014

News Briefs January 17, 2014

Written by: timchisham
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Navy: Pilot rescued after his jet crashes off Virginia

A Navy fighter jet crashed Jan. 15 in Atlantic waters off Virginia and the lone pilot was in critical condition after he ejected and was rescued, the Navy said.

The crash comes a week after a Navy helicopter plunged into the ocean in the region, leaving three dead. Both aircraft were on routine training missions.

Cmdr. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces Atlantic, said the single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed at 2:35 p.m. about 45 miles off Virginia Beach.

The pilot ejected and a life raft deployed, according to a Navy statement. The pilot was initially recovered by a fishing vessel and then picked up by a Navy MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter and flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The hospital is the area’s only Level I Trauma Center.

Kafka said the pilot was conscious while being flown to the hospital, but he gave no other details about the crash or why he was in critical condition. The pilot’s name hasn’t been released.

The jet was among two on the training mission, and the pilot of the other plane helped pinpoint the downed pilot’s location. It wasn’t immediately clear how the fishing vessel found the pilot, but Kafka said it arrived within ten minutes of the crash.

The jet was based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach and belonged to Strike Fighter Squadron 143. The squadron is part of Carrier Air Wing Seven, which returned to Virginia last summer following a deployment aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to Europe and the Middle East.

On Jan. 8, a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crashed about 18 miles off Virginia Beach in the Atlantic with five crewmembers aboard. Three died as a result of that crash, while two others were treated at a hospital and released. That helicopter was on routine mine countermeasure training at the time.

A memorial service is planned Friday for the helicopter crash victims at Naval Station Norfolk, where the helicopter’s squadron is based.

The cause of the helicopter crash is under investigation. AP

N.H. senator asks for plan to restore vet cemetery

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is asking for a detailed plan to restore, operate and maintain a cemetery in the Philippines where more than 8,300 American veterans are buried, a year after President Barack Obama signed into a law a bill to restore it.

The Clark Veterans Cemetery was neglected following a volcanic eruption in 1991 and abandonment of a U.S. Air Force base. The cemetery was left covered in ash and overgrown by weeds. Since 1994, volunteers in the Philippines have attempted to maintain the cemetery without assistance from the U.S. government

Ayotte said on Dec. 16, the United States and the government of the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in restoring the cemetery.

She recently wrote to the American Battle Monuments Commission provide her with a detailed plan on the restoration work.

ìClark Veterans Cemetery is sacred ground, and I know you agree that we have a solemn duty as a nation to ensure that the brave Americans buried there have the dignified and well-maintained resting place that they deserve,î Ayotte wrote to Max Cleland, commission secretary. AP

Cheating alleged in U.S. nuclear missile force

In what may be the biggest such scandal in Air Force history, 34 officers entrusted with land-based nuclear missiles have been pulled off the job for alleged involvement in a cheating ring that officials say was uncovered during a drug probe.

The 34 are suspected of cheating several months ago on a routine proficiency test that includes checking missile launch officers’ knowledge of how to handle what’s called an emergency war order. That’s the term for the authorization required to launch a nuclear weapon.

The cheating scandal is the latest in a series of Air Force nuclear stumbles documented in recent months by The Associated Press. The problems include deliberate violations of safety rules, failures of inspections and breakdowns in training. AP

Israel strikes Gaza after militants fire rockets

Israel’s military says it has carried out air strikes in the Gaza Strip after militants there launched five rockets toward Israel. A Gaza health official says five Palestinians were lightly wounded in the Israeli air strikes.

The military says all five rockets fired toward southern Israel early Jan. 16 were intercepted by the army’s Iron Dome anti-missile battery system. The rockets caused no injuries or damage.
In response to the rocket fire, the army says it has hit targets in Gaza, including a rocket launcher and weapons facilities.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra says four children and their mother were taken to the hospital with light shrapnel wounds from the strikes.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility in Gaza for the rocket firing. AP

Bombardier CSeries not ready until mid-2015

Bombardier is delaying again the in-service launch of its much-touted CSeries single-aisle airline.
The world’s third-largest maker of civilian commercial aircraft had said the plane would be ready for service later this year but now says it will be the second half of 2015.

Bombardier says the larger CS300 will enter service six months after that.

Bombardier says the flight test phase will require more time than originally anticipated.

The Montreal-based company has said it hopes to capture half the global market of the 100-to-149-seat planes, and has marketed the plane as being 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the comparable Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 family of aircraft.

Bombardier has 198 firm orders. The delay was announced shortly after Bombardier Aerospace signed a deal with SaudiGulf Airlines for 16 CS300s. AP

Head of Washington Boeing machinists retiring

The head of Puget Sound, Wash.,-area Boeing machinists says he’s retiring at the end of January.
Tom Wroblewski cited health concerns as he made his announcement to a union council Jan. 14. He says the stress of the past three months has put him in the hospital twice since Dec. 27.

On Jan. 3, Boeing machinists narrowly approved a contract in which they conceded some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane in Washington state. The same machinists rejected a Boeing proposal in November. Wroblewski had argued against a second vote, saying the offers were too similar. National Machinists union leaders pushed for the second vote.

The 59-year-old Wroblewski has served as president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 since March 2007. He was re-elected in 2008, and again in 2012. AP




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