Air Force T-38 Talon crashes in California killing one

May 22nd, 2009 - 3:29 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Northrop T-38A Talon An Air Force T-38 Talon jet on a training mission from Edwards Air Force Base in California has crashed in the Mojave Desert, killing one crew member and injuring the other.

The T-38 Talon, a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer, went down at 1.15pm (PDT) about nine miles (14.5km) north of the base.

Kern County fire crews responding to a report of smoke in the area found debris from the downed aircraft spread over a wide area.

A Kern County fire official said one person was found dead at the crash site and the body collected by the coroner and the other crew-member was airlifted to hospital with undisclosed injuries.

Built by Northrop Corp., the T-38 Talon was the world’s first supersonic trainer and first flew in 1959. The United States Air Force acquired more than 1,100 before production ended in 1972.

T-38 s are a little over 46-feet (14m) long and have wingspans a little more than 25-feet (7.6m). Equipped with two, General Electric J85-5A afterburning turbojets, the T-38 Talon can reach Mach 1.3 (858mph or 1,381km/h), has a range of 1,140 miles (1,825km) and a service ceiling of 50,000 feet (15,240m)

It was the second crash of an aircraft from Edwards in less than two months. On March 25, an Air Force F-22A Raptor went down about 35 miles north of the base, killing a Lockheed Martin Corp test pilot.

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