On Tuesday of last week, a Boeing F/A-18C Hornet from the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron 106 caught fire aboard the U.S.S. Harry Truman, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. At the time, the carrier was conducting routine flight operations off the coast of Virginia.
The aircraft was manned when the fire broke out, but the pilot was able to recognize the emergency and eject. The aircraft was parked on the “six pack” area of the flight deck, a particularly dangerous place to punch out–given its proximity to the ship’s island structure and all of its various masts and antennas. More amazingly, when the pilot ejected, he landed back on the flight deck instead of in the water. Although hurt during the ejection sequence, the pilot’s injuries were not life-threatening. Another sailor working in close proximity to the Mishap Aircraft was also injured in the blaze, but not seriously, and both men were transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina for further evaluation.
Naval Air Forces Atlantic said the fire was “immediately extinguished by the ship’s flight deck firefighting team,” which worked to put out the flames within 30 seconds of ignition. The aircraft is not in flyable condition and officials are determining whether it would be worth repairing. The fire was contained and extinguished quickly enough to limit the damage.
According to Navy officials, the incident should not have any impact on the Truman‘s upcoming fall deployment. In fact, the flight operations schedule was back to normal within two days of the fire.
Captain Ryan Scholl, the Truman‘s commanding officer, said in a Facebook post “The important takeaway is that all involved are going to be okay.” He also stated, “Our thoughts and prayers are with our shipmates and their families, as we wish them speedy recoveries.”