MUTUAL — A Vance Air Force Base pilot ejected before a T-38C jet crashed at 1:48 p.m. Friday near the town of Mutual in southern Woodward County. 


The instructor pilot was the only person on board and was performing a training mission before ejecting, according to a Vance press release. He was not seriously injured and was evaluated by Air Force medical personnel.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol personnel told the Woodward News the pilot reported experiencing sudden engine trouble. He was unable to restart the plane's engines and had to eject around 2,000 feet.

Vance emergency response personnel were on site by 4 p.m., and have started an accident investigation. OHP brought in a helicopter to help search for the parachute and ejection seat.

The plane crashed about 70 miles west of Vance in the Mutual-Chester area. The aircraft was a total loss. The wreckage and the pasture where it landed burned, and firefighters from Woodward, Sharon, Mutual and Mooreland responded.

Until Friday, Vance hadn't suffered a Class A mishap since Sept. 8, 2000, an Air Education and Training Command record. A Class A mishap involves loss of life or loss of an aircraft.


A T-38 takes off from Vance Air Force Base in this file photo. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

The T-38 Talon is a "twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record," according to an Air Force fact sheet.

The Talon is used by Air Education and Training Command for specialized undergraduate pilot and pilot instructor training, according to the Air Force. Student pilots at Vance have flown T-38's since December 1963. Students in the fighter/bomber track fly the Talon.

The Air Force is the process of choosing a replacement for the T-38, although no contract has been awarded yet.

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