Wednesday, March 25, 2009

F-22 Crashes in California/Pilot's Fate Still Unknown


EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – One of the Air Force's top-of-the-line F-22 fighter jets crashed Wednesday in the high desert of Southern California. There was no immediate word on whether the pilot ejected.

The F-22A Raptor crashed 35 miles northeast of Edwards Air Force Base, Pentagon spokesman Gary Strassburg said. The Bureau of Land Management identifies the area as Harper Dry Lake, a vast and empty expanse of sometimes marshy flat land.

Rescue crews were at the site in the afternoon but there was no information on the status of the pilot, said Lt. Col. Karen Platt, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon.

The crash occurred at 10 a.m., said Airman 1st Class William O'Brien, a spokesman at Edwards.

Editors notes:

Reports from the public in the area at the time of the crash described what sounded like a "very loud sonic boom" which are common to the area.

According to early pressreports, the crash site is near Harper Dry Lake, a remote area located southwest of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake ranges.

Not much is known about the dry lake other than it was used by Howard Hughes in the 40s for aircraft testing and was the proposed site for Lockheed's cancelled spaceplane proposal Venture Star.

Jack Northrop also flew prototypes of his flying wing aircraft out of a landing strip ( now abandoned) at Harper Dry Lake.

Harper Dry Lake on Google Earth:

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