F-22 crashes at Eglin AFB; pilot is in stable condition after ejecting

By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 15, 2020

An F-22 Raptor pilot is in stable condition and recovering at an Eglin Air Force Base hospital in Florida after a training accident Friday morning, according to Air Force officials.

The single-seat fighter jet was assigned to the 43rd Fighter Squadron, part of the 325th Fighter Wing now based at Eglin. The jet crashed at about 9:15 a.m. in a test at the training range located 12 miles northeast of the main base, according to a news release about the incident.

The pilot ejected safely from the aircraft and has been transported to the 96th Medical Group hospital on the base for evaluation and observation, according to the release. His name has not been released.

A board of officers will investigate the accident, according to the release.

The crash site is located in a heavily forested, secure portion of the training range, said Ilka Cole, spokeswoman for the 96th Test Wing, which oversees operations at Eglin. First responders from the 96th Test Wing remained on scene and have secured the crash site.

Though there are some facilities in the area, none were impacted by the crash, Cole said. There was no loss of life or civilian property damage related to the accident.

All flight operations at the base were grounded as a result of the crash, which was part of a routine training mission with the 33rd Fighter Wing, according to base officials. That unit flies F-35A Lightning II fighter jets and is also part of Eglin.

The F-22 Raptor employs long-range, air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, according to the Lockheed Martin, which builds the plane.

Located in the Florida Panhandle, Eglin is under the command of the 96th Test Wing, which tests and evaluates Air Force equipment and systems. It has more than 9,800 military, civilian and contractor personnel working at Eglin, according to the base website.

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