Shortly before noon on Friday, U.S. Navy Lt. Christopher Casey Short died and another pilot received minor injuries when their A-29 Super Tucano light attack plane crashed near Holloman Air Force Base within the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Short, who grew up in Canandaigua, New York, was hailed as a pioneer by the commander of the 49th Wing out of Holloman, Col. Houston Cantwell:
There’s no way to describe the shock of this loss and the sadness we feel for his family. He did pioneering work in aviation that will help shape American air power for years to come. We’re thankful to have known him and grateful for his devotion to duty.”
The Navy remained tight lipped about the incident for the better part of 36 hours, acknowledging only that there had been a crash and that two pilots were involved. The incident itself is under investigation, with few details released to the public thus far.
The A-29 was participating in the second phase of the U.S. Air Force’s light attack aircraft experiment, which aims to field less expensive combat aircraft in operations that don’t require the advanced capabilities allotted by platforms like the F-35, which are not only far more expensive to produce, but far more expensive to operate per flight hour.