Sunday, February 24, 2008

USAF grieve for pilot as 3 planes crash

An F-15 and a B-2 Bomber in the skies over the UK

The US Air Force lost several aircraft this week which may raise concerns in military circles. One pilot died on Wednesday after two F-15 fighter jets collided. The news was only briefly reported on CNN with little or no coverage on BBC or Sky News. The two F-15C jets, costing around $30 million each, collided during a training exercise over the Gulf of Mexico, according to Air Force officials. The crash happened at about 15:00 local time [20:00 UTC], about 80 km south of Tyndall Air Force Base which is in Panama City, Florida. A statement from the 33rd said the pilots were rescued at about 18:00 local time. "The 33rd FW Nomads and Team Eglin have suffered a great loss today and my heart goes out to the family and friends of our former airman," said wing commander Col. Todd Harmer in a written statement. "We will continue to do everything we can to assist our families and airmen at this tragic time."
Two days later the US Air Force lost one of their highly prized B-2 stealth bombers when it crashed shortly after take-off at a US base in Guam, a small island some 5000 km south-west of Hawaii. It is the first reported loss of the $1.2 billion plane which has seen action in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The story surfaced on Al Jazeera early Saturday morning with CNN, Sky News and the BBC following shortly after. Both pilots of the B-2 stealth bomber ejected safely before the jet smashed into the ground at Andersen Air Force Base, pumping a huge plume of black smoke into the air.

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