Pilot ejects safely from jet at Fallon Naval Air Station | NevadaAppeal.com
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Pilot ejects safely from jet at Fallon Naval Air Station

STEVE RANSON
Nevada Appeal News Service

A civilian pilot ejected safely Thursday afternoon before his A-4 Skyhawk jet from Naval Air Station Fallon crashed in an alfalfa field north of the base shortly after takeoff.

Churchill County Sheriff Rich Ingram said dispatch received the call at 1:44 p.m. Fire departments from both the base and Fallon/Churchill County arrived at the scene along with law enforcement personnel from the Nevada Highway Patrol, Churchill County and the base security. No structures or homes were damaged.

Base spokesman Zip Upham said the jet was owned by Aircraft Tactical Advantage Co. The contractor simulates enemy aircraft for Navy pilots during training exercises. Upham said the pilot was a civilian who worked for the company.

An ambulance crew transported the pilot to Banner Churchill Community Hospital. Upham said he learned the pilot is not suffering any life-threatening injuries. He also said no one on the ground was injured.

Two residents who lives near the base saw the incident.

“I was leaving the house and saw the jet tail on fire,” said Andrea Zeller. “The jet was heading back toward the base. There were two jets in front of him. The other guys were descending, but he was descending faster and lower. He started dropping.”

Zeller said she saw the pilot eject.

“I then heard the ‘putt-putt’ of it (the jet) and then ran back in the house and grabbed my boyfriend,” she said.

Another resident who lives near the base also saw the accident.

“It came over the house. It came off the runway a couple hundred feet off the deck,” said Rick Gregory. “(But) I couldn’t see if he had ejected.”

Since it is a civilian aircraft, Upham said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident.