The US Navy (USN) has started an aviation mishap safety investigation into a 6 April crash of a Boeing F/A-18D Hornet near Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The two-seat fighter, which was flown by a student and an instructor pilot from training unit VFA-106, crashed into an apartment building after the crew had ejected. The aircraft appears to have suffered from a mechanical malfunction. While no-one was killed, several people including the two aviators were treated at local hospitals for injuries.
© US Navy
"The aircraft's crash survivable flight incident recorder has been recovered and sent to Naval Air Systems Command at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, for analysis to determine what information is recoverable from the flight," the USN says. The device is similar to a civilian aircraft's flight data recorder, but does not record voice communications.
Meanwhile, USN investigators are continuing work, with aircraft parts being moved to the aircraft's home station of NAS Oceana, Virginia, for detailed analysis. The service expects that clean-up work at the crash site will be finished by the end of the week.
"The time to complete investigations can vary depending on the complexity of the incident," the navy says. "In some cases, the information needed to conclude an investigation is readily available."