All Navy F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, Growlers grounded after incident injuring aircrew
By Andrew Tilghman
U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (May 28, 2015)- An Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) directs an E/A-18G Growler to the catapult on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josh Petrosino/Released)
The Navy temporarily grounded all F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers Friday after an aircrew was injured and a Growler damaged in an undisclosed incident Friday at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Navy officials said.
The aircrew of an E/A-18G jet assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 132 was injured in an "on-deck emergency" about 11 a.m. Friday, according to a statement from Naval Air Forces.
A Navy search-and-rescue helicopter rushed an undisclosed number to Harborview Medical Center for evaluation. The cause of the emergency is under investigation, Navy officials said. Naval Air Forces has temporarily suspended flight operations for all F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers as a safety precaution since they share common aircraft systems, according to the Navy statement.
The operational pause will allow both Naval Air Systems Command and engineers from Boeing, which manufactures both aircraft, time to investigate the incident, Navy officials said.
Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, a spokeswoman for Naval Air Forces, told Navy Times Saturday there were two aircrew involved, the pilot and electronic warfare officer. They were both admitted to the hospital.
The ground emergency involved the jet's canopy, and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident, said Groeneveld.
Navy officials say commanders can make exceptions to the fleets' grounding on a case-by case basis for operational needs.
About Andrew Tilghman
Andrew Tilghman is the executive editor for Military Times. He is a former Military Times Pentagon reporter and served as a Middle East correspondent for the Stars and Stripes. Before covering the military, he worked as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle in Texas, the Albany Times Union in New York and The Associated Press in Milwaukee.