U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C crashes at NAS Fallon, Nevada. The last of a series of Hornet incidents

An F/A-18C operating over Naval Air Station Fallon Range training complex crashed into the desert on Sept. 1 at around 3.15pm local time.

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