Pilot dies in F-22 Raptor crash

March 26, 2009 at 12:21 AM
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EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., March 26 (UPI) -- A test pilot was killed Wednesday when his F-22 Raptor fighter jet crashed in a California desert, the U.S. Air Force said.

The pilot was David Cooley, 49, of Palmdale, a 21-year Air Force veteran who joined Lockheed Martin Corp., the aircraft's primary contractor, six years ago, the Los Angeles Times said. He was pronounced dead at a Victorville hospital, the newspaper said.

It is the second crash of one of the state-of-the-art stealth fighters, which cost $140 million each. In 2004, an F-22 crashed in Nevada. The pilot survived by ejecting from the fighter.

The F-22 went down while on a test mission about 35 miles northeast of Edwards Air Force Base. The plane was assigned to the 411th Flight Test Squadron.

A military spokesman declined to provide details about the flight, the Times said.

"Aircraft that fly at Edwards Air Force Base fly test missions to evaluate everything from airframe structures to propulsion and avionics and electronic warfare, all with the aim of ensuring weapons systems are suitable for their intended combat missions," Air Force spokesman Vince King said.

The cause of the crash was being investigated.

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