Spanish Hornet Crashes During Take Off From Torrejon Air Base Killing Pilot

The Spanish Air Force has just suffered another deadly accident: an EF-18 Hornet from Ala 12. It’s The 12th Major Incident Involving A Hornet In The Last 17 Months.

Just five days after losing a Eurofighter Typhoon at Albacete, the Ejército del Aire (Spanish Air Force) has suffered another accident this morning, when an EF-18 Hornet belonging to the Ala 12 crashed during take off from its homebase at Torrejon Air Base, near Madrid.

According to the Spanish MoD, the pilot was killed in the crash.

Images emerging on social media show a column of smoke pouring from the crash site:

No further detail about the accident and its route causes has been released at the time of writing.

However, it’s worth of note that not only does the one at Torrejon is the second deadly accident in 5 days involving a Spanish combat aircraft but it is also the 12th incident involving an F/A-18 of any variant since May 2016.

Dealing with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fleet, four aircraft were lost (fortunately resulting in 0 fatalities): two VFA-211 F/A-18F jets from NAS Oceana collided and crashed 25 miles E of the Oregon Inlet, Nags Head, NC on May 26, 2016; then, on Apr. 21, 2017, a VFA-137 F/A-18E crashed during a landing attempt on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the Celebes sea, between Indonesia and the Philippines; whereas an F/A-18E of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146 assigned to the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) departed the runway forcing the pilot to eject during an emergency landing at Bahrain International Airport on Aug. 12, 2017.

Legacy Hornets are crashing at an even more alarming rate: two U.S. Marine Corps F-18 Hornets from MCAS Miramar crashed on Nov. 9, 2016, near San Diego. Another F/A-18C crashed near USMC Air Ground Combat Cente, Twentynine Palms, on Oct. 25, 2016. A U.S. Navy F/A-18C belonging to the Strike Fighter Wing Pacific, Detachment Fallon, crashed on Aug. 2, 2016, 10NM to the south of NAS Fallon. On Jul. 27, 2016 a USMC F/A-18 belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed during a night strafing run on a weapons range near Twentynine Palms (killing the pilot). On Jun. 2 a Blue Angels Hornet crashed after taking off from Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport (KMQY), Smyrna, Tennessee: the only pilot on board was killed in the incident. For what concerns the international accidents (both causing the death of the pilots), a Swiss Air Force Hornet was lost on Aug. 29, 2016, a Canadian CF-188 was lost on Nov. 28, 2016, and the Spanish Hornet on Oct. 17.

About David Cenciotti 4453 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.


  1. Another plane crash in Yemen, though few details have been released so far:

    “Two pilots from the United Arab Emirates died in Yemen after their planes crashed
    as a result of technical failure.

    According to state news agency WAM, Major Pilot Ali Saeed Saif Al Mesmari and
    First Lieutenant Pilot Bader Yahiya Mohammad Al Marashdeh were martyred as a
    result of the crash of their aircraft following a technical defect while performing their
    mission in the coalition forces in Yemen.”


  2. A Japanese helicopter also crashed:

    “The Japanese Defense Ministry believes that the debris discovered
    floating on the sea near the Japanese town of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka
    prefecture could be parts of a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF)
    helicopter that earlier disappeared from radars, Japanese Defense
    Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday.”



    There was also the crash of a French Army charter plane a few days ago:

    “Four Moldovan citizens were killed and two others were injured on Saturday
    when a cargo plane chartered by the French military crashed into the sea
    near the airport in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan, Ivorian and French officials



    Lots of crashes lately.

  3. I dont know, but there are always casualties when problems in the take off, is the pilot trying to save the aircraft when they notice that something is wrong?. The same happened with a Russian SU-24 a week ago, both pilots dead. The problem always happens with standard combat pilots, not test pilots, looks like the last ones are used to pull the handle in any eventuallity. RIP

  4. Quite disturbing that in the last series of crashes pilots aren’t making it alive

  5. That four crashes this year, all with different airforces, tree of them involving an typhoon eurofighter.
    An Italian air force eurofighter crashed during Terracina airshow. Was a F2000A and the root cause is still to determinate. (maybe human error ) A RAF’s typhoon overran the runway on landing at Pardubice airport. It was supposed to land at another place but it was forced to land at Pardubiec due to the bad weather .A Saudi eurofighter Typhoon crashed in Yemen’s Abhian province while carrying out a combat mission. (so, it’s understandable ) The Spanish eurofighter Typhoon crashed at Albacete somedays ago. Today is not an eurofighter but it’s sad as well.

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