BREAKING: Air Force T-38 Talon From Vance Down in Oklahoma, Pilot OK

The Single Pilot Ejected After Engine Trouble Forced Him Out of the Jet

71st FTW T-38. Image via USAF

On Friday 17 August 2018 at approximately 1348 local time a US Air Force Northrop Grumman T-38C Talon jet trainer crashed near the town of Mutual, approximately 70 miles west of Vance Air Force Base (AFB) in in Northwestern Oklahoma. The pilot of the jet, who has not yet been identified but is described as an instructor pilot, ejected from the aircraft at approximately 2,000 feet altitude. The pilot, who was conscious and not seriously injured, is being evaluated by Air Force medical personnel.

71st FTW T-38. Image via USAF

The pilot of the jet, assigned to the 71st Flying Training Wing, reported engine trouble and was unable to restart either of the T-38C’s General Electric J85 jet engines. After attempting restart the pilot ejected. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the plane went down five to 10 miles northwest of Seiling in Oklahoma. Vance AFB emergency response personnel arrived on site by 1600 local time and have begun an accident investigation. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol brought in a helicopter to assist in the search for the ejection seat.

71st FTW T-38s. Image via USAF

The wreckage and the pasture land where it landed burned, and firefighters from Woodward, Sharon, Mutual and Mooreland responded. Until Friday, the tenant units at Vance AFB hadn’t suffered a Class A mishap since Sept. 8, 2000, which is an Air Education and Training Command (AETC) record. A Class A mishap involves loss of life or loss of an aircraft. Student pilots at Vance AFB have flown T-38s for nearly 55 years. Currently the 5th Flying Training Squadron (FTS) Spittin’ Kittens and the 25th FTS Shooters fly T-38Cs and AT-38Cs from Vance AFB. We’ll update this story as events warrant…

25th FTS T-38s at Vance 1997. Image via USAF

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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