Home » Aviation » Navy Hornet Pilot Crashes Near NAS Fallon, Safely Ejects From Jet


Navy Hornet Pilot Crashes Near NAS Fallon, Safely Ejects From Jet

U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18s with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 over the skies of Iraq on July 19, 2015. The ‘Red Devils’ of VMFA-232 are currently deployed with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command and provide offensive strike and close air support to Operation Inherent Resolve. US Marine Corps Photo

U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18s with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 over the skies of Iraq on July 19, 2015. US Marine Corps photo.

A Navy F/A-18C Hornet pilot assigned to Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center crashed a jet into an open field near Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, yesterday at approximately 10:50 a.m. PDT. The pilot safely ejected and was transported to a local hospital.

Initial reports indicate no people or structures on the ground were affected during the mishap, the cause of which is under investigation.

The jet itself was on temporary assignment to Strike Fighter Wing Pacific Detachment Fallon, from Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 232. The Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center is located at Fallon and serves as a tactical air warfare training center.

Two other F/A-18C Hornets have crashed this year, both with fatal outcomes for the Marine Corps pilots. Maj. Richard Norton, 36, died July 28 when his jet crashed near Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California during a pre-deployment training exercise. And Capt. Jeff Kuss died when his Hornet, the Blue Angels’ #6 aircraft, crashed during a training run ahead of an air show in Tennessee.

Last fall, Maj. Taj Sareen, 34, of VMFA 232 also died when his F/A-18C crashed outside the RAF Lakenheath airbase in Great Britain while returning from a six-month deployment to the Middle East as part of the anti-ISIS Operation Inherent Resolve. The jet that crashed yesterday had originally come from that same squadron, but the Navy pilot was not affiliated with VMFA 232.

  • Andre

    This is happening all too frequently. Is this a result of the airframes wearing out due to their extended use in operations in CENTCOM?

    • incredulous1

      …and a lack of maintenance in case you haven’t heard. I think they called it the “Budget Control Act?” aka “Sequestration” you know where the Pentagon gets hit by 15-17% while entitlements grow during the “across the board 10%” cuts? Perhaps you have heard about the squadrons having to cannibalize aircraft because they cannot obtain spares. I also think that a lack of routine training, not enough hours is behind this. Reminds me of the neglect we saw in 1979-1980 and 1999-2000. Some suppliers including myself are no longer willing to make parts due to the way they strung us out and cancelled procurements we were promised.

  • Curtis Conway

    How many more Legacy Hornet losses before we catch up on the maintenance/rebuilds?!?!?!

  • Common Sense

    Sorry to nitpick, but that’s a pretty lame headline. A pilot crashed? From where? It may very well be interpreted to mean a Hornet pilot was flying some aircraft that crashed.

  • Christopher Byrd

    This Platform is exhausted, the community is suffering from the “dragging our heals” on aircraft selection to replace our hornets and harriers. Ten years lost on making a correct and funded decision is now going to cost more lives! God speed to our military….keeping working hard on getting the JSF through its passes and let’s get the Marine Corps back in the fight with latest technology, Semper Fi…..

    • these accidents need to be correctly and completely analysed to determine cause of the crash. if depot level maintenance is needed, they need to go to depot.

  • CK

    Its not just the legacy hornets the marines are flying . Its the fact that they pretty much get all the hand me downs from the Navy . They are notorious hard chargers , you give Marines lemons and they make lemonade , breakfast , lunch ,acid tipped bullets and lemon husk grenades.