Released: Sept. 15, 1997

F-117A crashes near Baltimore

MIDDLE RIVER, M.D. - An Air Force F-117A Nighthawk crashed Sept. 14, at 3 p.m. (EST) while performing a fly-by demonstration for an airshow at Martin State Airport, 12 miles northeast of Baltimore.

The pilot, Maj. Bryan Knight, safely ejected. He suffered minor injuries and was taken to Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews AFB, Md., for treatment and observation.

The aircraft crashed into a house, destroying it and damaging another. The F-117A was making its third pass of the airfield when it crashed, said 1st Lt. Jeff Legeer, public affairs officer for the Maryland Air National Guard. According to national media reports, four people on the ground were injured and 10 families displaced by the crash, said Legeer.

The F-117A and Knight are assigned to the 7th Fighter Squadron at Holloman AFB, N.M. Knight is an experienced instructor pilot and has more than 2,770 flying hours, 500 in the F-117A.

The aircraft had left Syracuse, N.Y., and was performing at the airshow while en route to Langley AFB, Va. It was one of two F-117As temporarily located at Langley to support community and military airshows in the eastern United States.

Officials at the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman have identified no indication that problems encountered by the mishap aircraft would affect any other F-117A. However, to confirm this, the 49th FW has implemented a precautionary stand down from routine flying operations. This action will allow Air Force and manufacturer maintenance specialists to assess presently available information and validate that routine flying operations can resume.

The F-117A Nighthawk is the world's first operational aircraft designed to exploit low observable stealth technology. The F-117A is a single-seat fighter and is designed to penetrate dense threat environments as well as attack high value targets with pinpoint accuracy.

A board of officers will be appointed to investigate the accident.

Air Combat Command Public Affairs, United States Air Force, ACC/PAI