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Navy jet crash remains a mystery, search for pilot continues

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(stock photo of fighter jet)

The search for the pilot of a jet that crashed near a U.S. Navy range in Nevada continued Sunday, the Navy said in a press release. The pilot’s name is being withheld until family is notified.

The crash of the U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C happened at about noon ET Saturday at Naval Air Station Fallon, about 60 miles east of Reno. The aircraft appears to be a “total loss,” the Navy said.

It took several hours for Navy personnel to reach the crash site because it was in remote, mountainous terrain, and an overnight snowstorm made getting to the scene more difficult.

The Navy had initially incorrectly said the aircraft was a Navy Hornet, but it was actually a Marine Corps F/A-18C on loan to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center for use as a training aircraft, the Navy said. The aircraft was not carrying any weapons or other munitions on the training flight, the Navy said, and no other injuries or property damage have been reported.

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Naval Air Station Fallon is a popular training site because of its weather, which provides “more than 300 clear flying days per year” and its facilities, which include four bombing ranges, an electronic warfare range and a 14,000-foot runway, the longest in the Navy, the base’s website says.


  • Dick Hale

    One of the best COMBAT RESCUE TEAMS in the world is supposed too be stationed at NAS FALLON. What took so long. Weather wasn’t that bad.

    • Beej

      Let’s see, it crashed in mountainous terrain, I can testify to the terrain because I’ve been to Fallon, when I was in the Navy, for training. Secondly, there was an overnight snowstorm. I guess you could have found them in that, huh, Dick??
      As for type of aircraft, it really doesn’t matter.. What matters is that the pilot is missing and that’s some nasty terrain and weather up there. May God have mercy on him and his family.

    • Sagehopper

      I have deer hunted in that area several times…Both the Shoshone and Toyabe mountains.It is incredibly rugged, cut by deep and sharply steep canyons. I was sitting on a rock once in the Shoshones, and a Navy jet almost blew me off the rock, it was silent coming up, and then the sound. So, is very easy to lose something like a plane in that country..And transponders may or may not have been destroyed in the crash.

  • Edward

    The combat rescue teams (USAF PJ’s) are stationed at Nellis AFB near Las Vegas, not Fallon NAS.

  • Captain

    I was stationed at NAS Fallon for 4 years and worked on the UH1N for the SAR team. Did some training missions with them and lots of flight time and can attest to the terrain especially in the mountains during windy conditions.

  • Joe

    I was in the same situation 44 years ago with a Lt commander I will leave his name out( he was a great guy and commanding officer) he went down a4 a6 do not remember.
    We did not find him until morning. the glitter with the morning sunrise..
    God bless, best wishes to his family hopes and prayers to them
    sincere price 1

    • doc

      Idiots refer to others as idiots, get United America and fight the real fight for America.
      Nam Vet said that, to sick and old to be of value, it’s up to the young.

  • Jim

    Obviously the critics and bath-tub sailors are not nor could they be military or former military making extremely dumb and ignorant comments re. a pilot down.

  • Frank

    Many years ago, during the late war in Asia, a group of comrades, friends and fellow enlisted person would go in by foot to recover air crew who had gone down, hopefully before someone else found them. Quick was everything. We seldom failed. Once a pilot told us we were better suited for the jungle walking than the pilots were and one of our people told him it was because we never slept under clean sheets, had steak nights or happy hours. After we got him back, once a month we would get a shipment of steaks and beer from that airbase, sent from the Clean Sheet Guys. By the way, we were not in the least interested if they were flying Piper Cubs, B-52’s or 5 ton ammo trucks. They were down and we got them out.

  • Dave

    Not a good sign that they do not appear to be picking up the beacon or his PRC radio, but it is mountainous terrain….

  • Dan Leidal

    Interesting “Hornet” argument… Its still a Hornet!!! As for the pilot, that area is quite remote and rugged… With snowfall, it is likely very difficult to reach the area… Lets hope the pilot is found and rescued, and not worry so much about the other things!!! I drive a truck, and have been down most of the roads in that area; have also delivered many loads there to NAS Fallon… Lets not judge the rescuers…

  • Fixer

    We ask our father above to keep that pilot safe and that he is found quickly. May God hold you Airmen and Military safe and well in your Military Career.

  • Robert Burkes

    He is not a AIRDALE< OR a Airman he is not a Piolit. He is a Marine AVIATOR!, I am sure the Commander in Chief morns this brave sole. YEA SURE!

  • Ron

    Prayers for him, family, and SAR team. All who have served know what it is like to face the possibility of losing a shipmate.

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