Two pilots aboard a Mirage F1B fighter jet suffered non-life-threatening injuries after the aircraft slid off the runway at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida Thursday morning, an official for the aircraft owner told Air Force Times.
“They are doing fine,” said John Rupp, a spokesman for Airborne Tactical Advantage Company said Thursday evening. “One of our two-seat Mirage F1Bs supporting military flight training at Tyndall, upon return, slid off the runway. One of the pilots elected to eject.”
Both pilots are recovering in a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Rupp said.
The company is still investigating to determine the cause of the accident.
Tyndall officials said the incident occurred at 11:45 a.m. Thursday “off the end of the flightline,” according to a statement, posted on Twitter, from Col. Gregory Moseley, the 325th Fighter Wing Commander.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilots and their families,” he said.
First responders were dispatched to the scene immediately and both pilots were taken to a hospital in Panama City, Florida, Moseley said.
“Tyndall is working closely with ATAC to ensure a thorough and timely investigation of the incident,” he said.
ATAC, headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, with locations worldwide, trains “Navy, Marine, Air Force, Army and International aircrews, ship-crews and Combat Controllers/JTACs in the air-to-air, air-to-ship, and air-to-surface arenas,” according to its website.
The Mirage F1B is a two-seat version of the French fighter/attack and reconnaissance aircraft developed as a successor to the Mirage III, the famous delta wing fighter, according to the ATAC site.
The French Air Force was the major operator of the Mirage F1, with 246 aircraft.
“It is a highly capable supersonic fighter, a stable ground attack weapon system, and it possesses the tactical flexibility to participate in all integrated training exercises,” according to ATAC. “The F1 is truly a threat-representative fighter able to perform all the missions required to train today’s frontline fighter pilots.”
Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.