Tue, Dec 21, 2004
All Raptors Grounded Until Further Notice
The pilot's okay, but his $130 million aircraft is trashed after
the first-ever reported crash involving an F/A-22 Raptor.
It happened at Nellis AFB, NV, on Monday. The aircraft impacted
the ground after experiencing an undetermined problem during
take-off. The pilot ejected seconds before the crash and is "up and
walking around," according to a Nellis spokeswoman quoted in the
Las Vegas Journal-Review.
The aircraft was assigned to the 53rd Wing's 422 Test and
Evaluation Squadron. It's one of eight assigned to the squadron for
testing prior to full deployment. There are about 25 Raptors in
various stages of evaluation.
"It is by far the most advanced aircraft, not only in the U.S.
fleet but in the world," said Maj. Gen. Stephen Goldfein, commander
of Nellis' Air Warfare Center told the Las Vegas paper.
While it was the first F/A-22 crash ever reported, it wasn't the
first incident involving the next-generation fighter. One of the
very first prototypes made a crash landing during initial testing
All Raptors have been grounded pending inspection, according to
the Air Force. "The purpose, of course, is to prevent anything like
this from happening again," Goldfein said. "Obviously, we are
looking for the specific reason why the accident occurred."
Nellis runways were immediately shut down after the accident.
The four F-16C Thunderbird aircraft, which were in the air at the
time, were forced to land at McCarran International Airport in
nearby Las Vegas.
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