Two F/A-18 Hornets stationed under the Marine Corps 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing have collided. One pilot was recovered, the other landed safely at NAS North Island.
Two F/A-18 Hornets based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar collided during a training mission over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, California. The collision happened about 11:43 PST.
One pilot was recovered in the ocean after safely ejecting from the aircraft. The pilot was recovered approximately 30 minutes after the collision. The San Diego Union Tribune reported that the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson participated in the rescue effort. The other pilot landed safely at Naval Air Station North Island. As per standard operation procedure, the nearest suitable divert is where aircraft land after such an incident.
Both pilots are reported in stable condition.
The Marine Corps, and particularly 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, have had a rash of aircraft mishaps in 2016. In August, a Marine F/A-18C Hornet crashed five miles east of Naval Air Station Fallon, located approximately 60 miles east of Carson City, during a functional check flight. The pilot was able to eject safely.
In July, a F/A-18C Hornet from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed near Twentynine Palms, CA killing the pilot Maj. Sterling Norton. Both of the aircraft in those crashes were from Marine Fighter Squadron VMFA-232.
It is has not been reported what squadron these two aircraft are from.
Recently the USMC has had to pull aircraft from the boneyard in Arizona to provide a gap filler for the aging Hornet fleet. Low flight time has also been a factor in maintaining readiness for the Marine Corps pilots.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
You can read the official 3rd MAW press release here.
Top Photo: A VMFA-232 jet takes off. File from FighterSweep