Losses and Aviation Safety

This USMC AV-8B Harrier is the fourth US military plane crash in the month of May

The AV-8B was based at nearby Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (NC) and belonged to the 2nd Marine Air Wing, Marine Air Group 14.

On May 20, 2019 a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) AV-8B Harrier crashed in North Carolina.

The pilot, who ejected safely, suffered minor injuries and was able to walk away from the crash scene after he parachuted down. He was brought to a nearby hospital for precautionary treatment.

The AV-8B was based at nearby Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point (NC) and belonged to the 2nd Marine Air Wing, Marine Air Group 14. According to Scramble Facebook News Magazine, at Cherry Point four Harrier squadrons are based: Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 223 Bulldogs (‘WP-xx’), VMA-231 Ace of Spades (‘CG-xx’), VMA-542 Flying Tigers (‘WH-xx’ ) and Marine Attack Training Squadron (VMAT) 203 Hawks (‘KD-xx’), all operating the AV-8B, AV-8B+ and AV-8B+(R), while the training squadron also operates the TAV-8B and TAV-8B+ dual seat Harriers.

Noteworthy this mishap follows two other Class A mishaps within Marine Corps Aviation this month. On May 3, an F/A-18D Hornet had an engine bay fire during a post-maintenance check flight. The aircraft was landed on an airfield and the aircrew were not injured, according to an entry in the Naval Safety Center log of Class A mishaps, or those involving more than $2 million in damages or the loss of life. On May 6 as we have reported an F-35B Lightning II had to abort a takeoff due to a bird strike. There were no injuries or damage to nearby infrastructure, but due to the complex and expensive engine and fans that allow for vertical takeoff, the bird strike caused more than the $2-million threshold of damages to the plane.

The Navy too suffered a Class A aviation mishap this month, when on May 10 a T-45 Goshawk training aircraft had an engine failure on final approach to the runway at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas. The student and instructor pilots both ejected safely.

This was also the fourth U.S. military plane crash in the month of May. The Harrier in fact followed a T-6A Texan II (1 May), a T-45C Goshawk (10 May) and an F-16C (16 May).

Photo credit: WCTI

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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