Pilot Killed in Super Hornet Crash Near China Lake

A Navy pilot was killed on Friday in a F/A-18E Super Hornet crash near the service’s test range at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., Naval Air Forces announced on Friday. The fighter, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., crashed at about 2:30 PM local time near the town of Trona. “The pilot […]

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, takes off from the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in the Arabian Sea, Dec. 11, 2018. US Navy Photo

A Navy pilot was killed on Friday in a F/A-18E Super Hornet crash near the service’s test range at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., Naval Air Forces announced on Friday.

The fighter, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., crashed at about 2:30 PM local time near the town of Trona.

“The pilot is confirmed deceased,” reads the statement.
“The identity of the pilot will not be released until 24 hours after the next of kin have been notified. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake Federal Firefighters and Naval Security Forces are on site. No civilians were harmed in this incident.”

A spokesman said there were no other aircraft involved in the crash when contacted by USNI News on Friday.

The Navy uses the ranges in China Lake and area in nearby Death Valley for pilot training training

In October, an F/A-18F crashed in nearby Death Valley with the pilot sustaining minor injures. In 2020, an F/A-18E crashed in China Lake with the pilot surviving. In 2019, a pilot died in an F/A-18E died during a training flight in Death Valley.

The following is the complete June 3, 2022 statement from Naval Air Forces.

This afternoon at approximately 2:30 PM PDT, an F/A-18E Super Hornet based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. crashed in the vicinity of Trona, Calif. The pilot is confirmed deceased. The identity of the pilot will not be released until 24 hours after the next of kin have been notified. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake Federal Firefighters and Naval Security Forces are on site. No civilians were harmed in this incident. More information will be made available at the earliest opportunity.