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Two civilian pilots safely eject before trainer jet crashes at Edwards AFB

Two crew members of a civilian training jet ejected safely Friday morning before it crashed into an uninhabited area of Edwards Air Force Base in California, officials say.

The jet, an Aermacchi Impala MB-326 operated by the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, California, crashed seven miles west of Edwards Air Force Base in California at 10:15 a.m. local time, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Edwards Air Force Base, on its website, said the crash occurred in an uninhabited area of the sprawling base.

National Test Pilot School officials told Air Force Times that the aircraft was providing flight test training and that the air crew ejected safely. A woman answering the phone at the company, who declined to give her name, said that the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified but declined to offer any more information about the status of the crew or the cause of the crash. She said more details will be provided as they become available.

The single-engine jet was manufactured in 1967, FAA records show. It operates under an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate.

It is a tandem, two-seat aircraft with a basic weight of 5,500 pounds and maximum weight of 9,600 pounds, according to the flight school’s website. It was one of four owned by the company, according to its website.

“Some aircraft are instrumented with the ability to perform loads, flutter and spin test flights,” the website states. “The NTPS MB-326s are primarily used for Performance and Flying Qualities flight test instruction. "

The flight school “is located in and uses the finest flight test area in the United States, the R-2508 Complex used also by Edwards AFB and China Lake NAS,” according to the company website. “NTPS has modern facilities employing the latest technologies including specialized laboratories, simulators, ranges, and telemetry systems. Many of the more than thirty aircraft operated by NTPS are instrumented for flight test training and no other school utilizes the variety of specially acquired aircraft to support flight test training.”

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