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Super Hornet pilot ejects safely as jet crashes in California

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 20, 2020

WASHINGTON — A fighter pilot ejected safely Tuesday as the F/A-18E Super Hornet that the pilot was flying crashed in California in what the Navy described as a “mishap” while training, according to a service spokesman.

The fighter jet was from Naval Air Station Lemoore and conducting a routine training flight near Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake at about 10:10 a.m. local time when it “experienced a mishap,” Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

NAWS China Lake is located in the western Mojave Desert in California, a few hundred miles southwest of NAS Lemoore.

The pilot was able to eject safely and was taken to a local medical facility to be examined, Harrell said. Navy and local authorities are investigating the incident.

No other information was provided Tuesday by the Navy regarding the condition of the pilot, the pilot’s unit, or what caused the “mishap.”

In June, two aviators from the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154 from Naval Air Station Lemoore were flying an F/A-18F Super Hornet for routine pilot-proficiency training when they had to eject over the Philippine Sea. The aviators were assigned to the carrier wing on the USS Theodore Roosevelt at the time of the incident.

NAS Lemoore is located about 37 miles south of Fresno and is home to the Navy’s Strike Fighter Wing Pacific that supports its Pacific Fleet, according to the base’s website. NAWS China Lake supports the Navy’s research, testing, and evaluation missions, according to its website.

Kenney.Caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter: @caitlinmkenney