Pilot ejects safely before Navy Hornet crashes

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A Navy pilot ejected safely before his F/A-18A Hornet assigned to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center crashed Tuesday morning in the Fallon Range Training Complex about 25 miles east of Fallon.

According to a Navy spokesman, the crash occurred at about 8:30 a.m. in remote mountainous terrain near the U.S Navy Centroid Facility, which is north of Highway 50. After the crash, the Navy dispatched emergency vehicles to the site.

Paramedics from the Federal Fire Department transported the pilot to Banner Churchill by ground ambulance. Foggy conditions near the crash site provided too many challenges for a helicopter to transport the aviator to Fallon. The spokesman also said the pilot was treated for bruises and abrasions at the medical center.

The flight was part of the routine training mission conducted by NAWDC at the training range. The FRTC, which consists of four Bravo training areas throughout rural Churchill County, conducts Carrier Air Wing training, advanced instructor training, fleet-replacement squadron training, integrated air-to-air and air-to-ground unit level training, joint exercises and tactics development.

The Navy has begun an investigation of the crash.

This is the first jet mishap in almost two years when a Marine Corps pilot died after his jet crashed on a training flight over the rugged Nevada terrain more 140 miles east of Fallon. A debris field was found within the training area.

At the time, the pilot was flying a U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C, but it was on loan to the NAWDC for use as a training aircraft. The jet had been conducting a training flight on the U.S. Navy Range Training Complex when it reportedly crashed at 3 p.m. on March 1, 2014.

Search crews discovered the F/A-18c near the Monitor Mountain Range in Lander County, an area noted for its beauty but also known for its majestic jagged mountain peaks that rise above the valley floor.

NAWDC is the center of excellence for naval aviation training and tactics development. It provides service to aircrews, squadrons and air wings throughout the Navy through flight training, academic instructional classes, and direct operational and intelligence support.


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