What: US Navy – VFA-106 $29 million McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D Hornet twin-engine supersonic fighter plane en route from Naval Air Station Oceana
Where: Virginia Beach
When: April 6 2012, 12:00 pm
Who: 40 apartments damaged, no fatalities, 5 injures
Why: Going 170 mph, a student pilot was in the front seat of the two-seat Hornet and the experienced instructor was in the rear when the plane experienced a “catastrophic mechanical malfunction.” Pilots dumped fuel just before it dived into a Virginia Beach apartment complex in the Hampton Roads area (Birdneck Road, Virginia Beach, near NAS Oceana). No residents of the Mayfair Mews complex were killed in the crash, and the pilots ejected before impact. The plane experienced “catastrophic engine system failure” right after takeoff. The crash site is two miles from the base and a mile from the ocean.
The fuel and the carbon fibers from the burning composite were a special toxic concern for first responders.
There were seven injuries on the ground in addition to the two pilots, but no fatalities have been reported. Witnesses on the scene saw smoke billowing from the building. Bystanders found the young pilot still in his parachute, and cut him free before escorting him farther from the fire. Six buildings were damaged, but now the residents, mostly elderly, are homeless.
The trainee in the front had at least 1 1/2 years of intensive training before boarding the F/A-18D, which is used in training and in combat. The jet was not carrying live ordnance,
Within 24 hours of the crash, sources confirm no one was killed in the crash. The mayor, and the us fleet forces commander agree that it is miraculous that there were no fatalities.
A fund has been established for those made homeless by the fire.