Two Navy training jets collided in mid-air today over Texas, but both sets of student pilots and flight instructors survived, the Navy announced.
“Two T-45 Goshawk training aircraft from Training Squadron 22 collided in mid-air in Ricardo, Texas, at approximately 11:00 CST today,” according to a statement on the Chief of Naval Air Training’s (CNATRA) Facebook page.
“One aircraft was able to safely land at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, and the other aircraft’s instructor and student pilot safely ejected about nine miles south of Kingsville in Ricardo, Texas. One pilot was taken to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Kleberg for minor injuries. The incident is currently under investigation and the U.S. Navy is cooperating fully with local authorities.”
The T-45C is the training jet that new pilots use in flight school, before they being training on the aircraft type that they’ll fly in the fleet. Students conduct training in a simulator and in live flights alongside an instructor pilot.
Training Squadron 22 flies out of Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas. Ricardo, where the crash took place, is about a 10-minute drive south of the air station.
Though the T-45s are used for the earliest stage of training new pilots, operations are usually quite safe. Earlier this year, the Navy announced a single-plane mishap where the student and instructor ejected from the T-45 and the jet crashed to the ground just outside a landing field. Both the student and instructor reported just minor injuries, the Navy said.
The last fatal T-45 incident occurred in October 2017, when pilot Lt. Patrick Lawrence Ruth and student aviator Lt. j.g. Wallace Eugene Burch crashed near Tellico Plains, Tenn. The Navy investigated the incident and found that aggressive and unsafe behaviors, including thrill-seeking maneuvers at low altitudes, were the cause of the crash.