ATAC Civilian Hawker Hunter Crashes Off Honolulu, Pilot Injured During Ejection.

The ATAC Hawker Hunter that crashed was photographed by Nedra Muir-Lowery as the pilot ejected over the water just off Honolulu. (Photo: Nedra Muir-Lowery via Twitter/Hawaii News Now.)

Private “Red Air” Adversary Simulator Aircraft Crashes Within Sight of Shore.

An ATAC private contract adversary Hawker Hunter crashed off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii shortly after takeoff from Honolulu airport close to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at around 2:25 PM local time on Wednesday. Photos posted on Twitter showed the pilot ejecting from the aircraft just off shore. According to local news media outlet Hawaii News Now, the pilot was a 47-year-old civilian contractor flying for ATAC. Some reports described the pilot of the aircraft as a “Hawaii Air National Guard civilian contractor”.

While the cause of the crash is under investigation, the photos posted on Twitter showed the aircraft flying back toward Honolulu as the pilot ejected suggesting he may have been attempting to recover the aircraft from an in-flight emergency.

Some footage, including a couple of clips showing the aircraft crashing into the water can be found here.

The pilot was initially rescued by a civilian sailboat in the area of the crash and then transferred to a U.S. Coast Guard vessel responding to the emergency. The accident scene is 3 miles south of Oahu near Honolulu’s Sand Island.

ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Company) is a private defense contractor that provides threat simulation aircraft for training of U.S. air crews. They are known for having experienced flight crews and well maintained aircraft. ATAC also has demonstrated a consistent safety record.

The aircraft that went down, a Mark 58 Hawker Hunter single-seat, single engine tactical fighter, was participating in a large-scale training exercise over the Pacific called Sentry Aloha. The Hawker Hunter, a British made aircraft, first flew in 1951 and earned a reputation of durability and dependability in service with Britain’s Royal Air Force and the Lebanese Air Force. The aircraft has been used in combat in the Middle East and Africa.

According to the reports, two ATAC Hunters were at Hickam  for Sentry Aloha: N323AX and N324AX. The first one, using callsign ATAC02 declared an emergency and crashed:

Here’s a shot of the aircraft that went down:

At least 30 aircraft deployed from 9 states are participating in the large scale tactical training exercise including USAF F-15 Eagles, F-22 Raptors, E-3B AWACS and F-16 Fighting Falcons.

About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on,, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.