Military Jet Crashes in Calif., Killing Pilot
CALIFORNIA CITY, California – A military jet crashed during a training mission over the Mojave Desert, killing the pilot and injuring another crewman who ejected, the Air Force said Friday.
Capt. Mark P. Graziano, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene after his T-38A jet went down at about 1:15 p.m. Thursday near California City, about nine miles north of Edwards Air Force Base.
Maj. Lee V. Jones, a senior navigator, ejected from the twin-engine plane. He was listed in stable condition at a Bakersfield hospital, a statement from the base said.
Both men were assigned to the Test Pilot School at the base. Graziano was training to be a test pilot and Jones was training to become a test navigator.
"We are shocked and saddened by this sudden loss and our hearts and prayers go out to Mark's family and loved ones," Col. Terry M. Luallen, commandant of the school, said in the statement.
The crash is under investigation by a board of officers. The base did not disclose any other details.
It was the second crash of an aircraft from Edwards in less than two months. On March 25, a test pilot died when an Air Force F-22A Raptor crashed about 35 miles north of the base.
The T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used primarily for pilot training.
Test pilots and flight test engineers are trained in T-38s at Edwards, while Air Force Materiel Command uses the jet to test experimental equipment such as electrical and weapon systems. NASA uses T-38s as trainers for astronauts.