UPDATED: Navy Identifies Pilot Killed During New Mexico Test Flight

June 24, 2018 7:44 AM - Updated: June 24, 2018 11:35 AM
An Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano A-29 experimental aircraft flies over White Sands Missile Range in 2017. US Air Force Photo

This post has been updated to include additional details on Lt. Short’s service.

The Navy has identified the pilot of an Embraer A-29 Super Tucano who died on Friday following a crash over the White Sands Missile Range near Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

Lt. Christopher Carey Short, of Canandaigua, N.Y., was flying a mission over White Sand’s Red Rio Bombing Range when his prop-driven light attack aircraft crashed about 1:30 p.m. EST. Both Short and a second crew member ejected from the aircraft, according to press reports. The second crew member suffered minor injuries. Short was an active duty aviator assigned to Fighter Squadron Composite (VFC) 12, a reserve unit based in Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.

The flight was part of the Air Force’s ongoing Light Attack Experiment (OA-X) that is currently testing the A-29 and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine to see if a low-cost attack aircraft could replace higher-cost Air Force assets for certain missions. The Air Force canceled a series of test flights on Friday as a result of the crash.

“There’s no way to describe the shock of this loss and the sadness we feel for his family,” said Col. Houston Cantwell, commander of Holloman’s 49th Wing said in an Air Force statement. “He did pioneering work in aviation that will help shape American air power for years to come. We’re thankful to have known him and grateful for his devotion to duty.”

A request for additional information on Short’s role in the OA-X testing was not immediately returned by an Air Force spokesman.

The crash is now under investigation.

Short comissioned in 2008 and flew in F/A-18 strike fighter squadrons before reporting to VFC-12 in 2015.

The following is the complete June 23, 2018 statement from the Navy.

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — The U.S. Navy announced June 23 the death of a Navy pilot who was involved in a mishap at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Lt. Christopher Carey Short, from Canandaigua, New York, died June 22 when the A-29 aircraft he was piloting crashed while on a mission over the Red Rio Bombing Range, part of White Sands Missile Range, north of Holloman.

The cause of the mishap is under investigation.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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