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Pilot Unhurt in Hawker Hunter Incident

FAA Cites Engine Failure as Likely Cause of Atlantic Ditching

A 63-year-old, single-seat, Hawker Hunter Mk 58 has gone down off of North Carolina’s Atlantic coast. The aircraft—operated by Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC)—was supporting U.S. Navy training exercises in the capacity of a mock-aggressor.  

The U.S. Navy subsequently confirmed that the downed Hawker’s pilot was able to eject before the aircraft hit the water, and that the aircraft had been supporting the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group's COMPTUEX. 

Composite Unit Training Exercise [COMPTUEX) is the final phase in a carrier strike group's workup prior to deployment.

The FAA has issued a formal initial report in which it confirmed that engine-failure was the immediate cause of the incident that brought down N337AX. The agency further attested that the pilot of the downed Hawker suffered no injuries, and that damage to the aircraft was "substantial."

The full statement reads:

On June 20, during the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group composite training unit exercise, a civilian pilot ejected from a commercial air services Hawker Hunter aircraft off the coast of North Carolina after reporting an engine malfunction. The pilot was recovered by a U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter and transported to the New Hanover Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina. The incident remains under investigation at this time.

The incident was not the first involving an ATAC Hunter. Since 2012, there have been at least four additional occurrences involving the company's Mk 58s, including a well publicized 2018 mishap in which one such aircraft went down off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

ATAC's more recently acquired fleet of Dassault Mirage F1s has suffered its own share of incidents, though no direct links between the Mirage and Hunter misadventures have been identified. 

FMI: https://atacusa.com


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