The jet, belonging to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar) also known as “Death Rattlers”, was flying a training sortie when it went down for reasons that will be investigated.
Fortunately, the pilot managed to eject safely from the stricken jet; after a short stay in the Banner Churchill Community Hospital in Fallon the was released without injuries.
The incident comes few months after a U.S. Navy F/A-18D Hornet crashed into Mayfair Mews Apartments off of Fleming Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, destroying five buildings.
On Apr. 6, at around 12.15 local time, a VFA-106 Hornet based at NAS Oceana went down for a dual engine failure. While no one was killed in the accident, several people were treated at local hospitals for injuries, including both pilots, a student pilot and an instructor, which successfully ejected at low altitude.
The investigation found that the Hornet crashed for a dual, unrelated engine failure, an occurrence tha is extraordinary unusual. The right engine stalled after it ingested a flammable liquid whereas the the left engine’s afterburner did not ignite for reasons that could not be determined because of the extensive damage to the plane.
On Dec. 8, 2008, a USMC F/A-18D (BuNo 164017) lost the only working engine (the other one had been shut down following a oil caution light shortly after departure from USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier) because of a fuel flow system problem that had not been fixed since it was identified. As a consequence of the loss of both engines (as well as a series of contributing factors, including errors by the pilot and Marine Corps personnel on the ground, who were later disciplined or relieved), the Marines Hornet, belonging to the VMFAT-101, crashed into a residential area of San Diego while attempting an emergency landing at MCAS Miramar, causing the death of four people.
Written with David Cenciotti
Image credit: U.S. Navy
- Marine Corps pilot ejects from FA-18C Hornet over NAS Fallon, Nev. (examiner.com)
- Video: Insane F/A-18 Hornet low level flight through the canyons of Northern California (theaviationist.com)
- Tony Scott, Hank Kleeman, Kara Hultgreen and the F-14 Tomcat: three (tragic) stories and a legendary plane (theaviationist.com)