The plane was not part of a flyover to honor hospital staffers and first responders who are battling the coronavirus, but those jets were recalled by Air Force officials after the crash.

EGLIN AFB — An F-22 fighter jet with the 43rd Fighter Squadron crashed at about 9:15 a.m. Friday on the Eglin Air Force Base reservation. The pilot, whose name has not been released, ejected safely from the aircraft and was taken to the Eglin AFB hospital. The pilot was the only person aboard the jet.


By early Friday afternoon, the pilot was receiving visits from friends and family at the medical facility, according to a base spokesperson.


The plane went down 12 miles northeast of the main part of the sprawling base, in what Ilka Cole, chief of media operations for the 96th Test Wing Public Affairs office, called "a closed area" of the installation. The 96th Test Wing is the host unit at Eglin AFB.


Attempts to gain access to the crash site throughout Friday morning and afternoon were unsuccessful.


"There was no loss of life or civilian property damage related to the accident," the base noted in a news release issued shortly after the crash.


The F-22 Raptor, part of the 325th Fighter Wing, was on a routine training mission with the 33rd Fighter Wing at the time of the crash, according to Cole.


Cole added that the crashed plane was not part of a flyover scheduled for Friday morning to honor first responders and hospital personnel in Bay and Gulf counties for their work on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.


The crash prompted Eglin AFB officials to recall the four jets, already in the air, that were involved in the flyover, according to Tyndall Air Force Base spokesman Don Arias. The 325th Fighter Wing, to which the crashed F-22 belonged, was moved from Tyndall AFB to Eglin AFB as a result of 2018’s Hurricane Michael, which all but destroyed Tyndall AFB.


According to Arias, there will be two investigations into the crash, a safety investigation and an accident investigation. The safety investigation, involving pilots, will consider the actual conduct of the flight. The accident investigation will comprise what Arias called a "cross-disciplinary team" that will attempt to determine a cause for the crash.


Results of the safety investigation won’t be made public, but the accident investigation report will be a public document. Accident investigations can, however, take months or even years to complete.


It was not clear Friday whether the crash sparked any fire, a concern in an area where wildfires have consumed hundreds of acres in recent days, and which remain a threat in the area’s current hot, dry and windy weather pattern.


The F-22 is the most sophisticated fighter plane flown in the military. It has radar-evading stealth capabilities and the ability to destroy multiple targets. Its production was halted during the war in Iraq when it was viewed as too expensive and ill-suited to the counter-insurgency wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air Force lists 183 F-22s in its inventory and its cost at $143 million per plane.


Update: 12:55 p.m.


The name of the pilot of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet that crashed Friday morning on the Eglin Air Force Base reservation has not been released, but he has been visiting with family and friends at the base hospital, where he was taken after the crash, a base spokeswoman said.


It was not clear Friday afternoon whether the crash sparked any fire, a concern in an area where wildfires have consumed hundreds of acres in recent days, and which remain a threat in the area’s current hot, dry and windy weather pattern. Eglin public affairs officials were checking Friday afternoon to determine whether there was any fire associated with the crash.


Ilka Cole, chief of media operations for the 96th Test Wing Public Affairs office, said shortly before 1 p.m. that the base likely would not be releasing additional statements on the crash today, nor did she anticipate the release of any statements during the weekend.


Update, 11:55 a.m.


While the F-22 Raptor that crashed Friday morning on the Eglin Air Force Base reservation was not part of a flyover slated for 9 a.m. to honor hospital staff and first responders in nearby Bay and Gulf counties on the front lines of the local COVID-19 response, the crash prompted Eglin AFB officials to recall the four jets, already in the air, that were to be involved in that event, according to Tyndall Air Force Base spokesman Don Arias.



The aircraft that crashed, along with the aircraft in the flyover — a separate F-22, an F-35 fighter jet and two T-38 training jets — are among aircraft originally assigned to Tyndall AFB that were moved to Eglin AFB before and after 2018’s Hurricane Michael, which laid waste to Tyndall AFB.


According to Arias, there will be two investigations into the crash, a safety investigation and an accident investigation. The safety investigation, involving pilots, will consider the actual conduct of the flight. The accident investigation will comprise what Arias called a "cross-disciplinary team" that will attempt to determine a cause for the crash.


Results of the safety investigation won’t be made public, but the accident investigation will be made available to the public. However, accident investigations can take months, and sometimes years, to complete.



Update, 11:26 a.m.


The Team Eglin Public Affairs has issued the following news release on this morning’s crash of an F-22 Raptor jet on the Eglin Air Force Base reservation:


"An F-22 assigned to the 43rd Fighter Squadron, and part of the 325th Fighter Wing currently based at Eglin AFB, crashed at approximately 9:15 a.m. this morning. The location of the accident was 12 miles northeast of Eglin main base on the test and training range.



"The pilot ejected safely from the aircraft and has been transported to the 96th Medical Group hospital on Eglin for evaluation and observation. He is currently in stable condition. The name of the pilot has not been released.


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"There were no other individuals in the aircraft. There was no loss of life or civilian property damage related to the accident.


"First responders from the 96th Test Wing are on the scene. The crash site has been secured.


"The mission was a routine training flight with the 33rd Fighter Wing. A board of officers will investigate the accident."


ORIGINAL STORY


EGLIN AFB — An F-22 fighter jet with the 43rd Fighter Squadron crashed shortly after 9 a.m. Friday on the Eglin Air Force Base reservation, a base spokeswoman has confirmed.


The pilot, whose name is not immediately being released, ejected from the aircraft and was taken to the Eglin AFB hospital, according to Ilka Cole, chief of media operations for the 96th Test Wing Public Affairs office. The 96th Test Wing is the host unit at Eglin AFB.


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The plane went down 12 miles northeast of the main part of the sprawling base, in what Cole called "a closed area" of the installation. The Eglin reservation covers hundreds of thousands of acres across Northwest Florida.


First responders were on the scene of the crash late Friday morning, Cole said.


The F-22 Raptor was on a routine training mission at the time of the crash, according to Cole, who added that the plane was not part of a flyover scheduled for Friday morning to honor first responders and hospital personnel in Bay and Gulf counties for their work on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.


The F-22 is the most sophisticated fighter plane flown in the military. It has radar-evading stealth capabilities and the ability to destroy multiple targets. Its production was halted during the war in Iraq when it was viewed as too expensive and ill-suited to the counter-insurgency wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air Force lists 183 F-22s in its inventory and its cost at $143 million per plane.


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