A military pilot safely ejected from an F-16 fighter jet shortly before it crashed on a southern Nevada training range, Nellis Air Force Base officials said Tuesday. It was the second F-16 training crash in a day.
The cause of the Monday evening crash on the vast Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas was under investigation.
The pilot, an instructor with the 16th Weapons Squadron from the U.S. Air Force Weapons School at Nellis, was checked at a medical facility after the crash, base spokesman Justin McVay said Tuesday.
Earlier Monday, another F-16 went down off the Florida Keys during a training mission. That pilot, a member of the Air Force Reserve, also ejected safely and was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, said Lt. Col. Tom Davis, chief of public affairs at Homestead Air Reserve Base.
The Florida crash was classified as a plane malfunction, but the exact cause was still being investigated, Davis said.
Nellis, about 10 miles north of Las Vegas, holds regular Red Flag air combat training exercises. The base also is home to the Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team.
The F-16C Falcon aircraft cost $18.8 million in 1998, according to Air Force figures.