An F/A-18 from VFA-151, "the Vigilantes." A similar aircraft from the squadron crashed on Wednesday flying through what aviation enthusiasts refer to as 
"Star Wars Canyon" in Death Valley, California.
Enlarge
/ An F/A-18 from VFA-151, “the Vigilantes.” A comparable airplane from the squadron crashed on Wednesday flying through what air travel lovers describe as.
” Star Wars Canyon” in Death Valley, California.

VFA-151, United States Navy

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The United States Navy has actually validated the death of a pilot in the crash of a Boeing F/A-18 E Super Hornet in Death Valley National Forest in California on Wednesday. The pilot, who has actually not yet been called, obviously crashed into the wall of what is called “Star Wars Canyon”– a location regularly utilized by the Navy and other services for low-altitude flight training, nearby to the Naval Air Defense Station at China Lake. The location, called “Jedi Shift” by the military, is open to the general public and is a hotspot for military airplane professional photographers and lovers due to the fact that of how close airplane pass when passing through the location. 7 observers suffered small injuries as an outcome of the crash.

The Navy is awaiting alert of member of the family prior to launching the pilot’s name. Navy spokesperson Lieutenant Leader Lydia Bock stated in a press declaration that the airplane– from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 (” the Vigilantes”), out of Naval Air Station Lemoore in California– crashed at about 10 am PST on Wednesday. “The reason for the crash is under examination,” Bock stated. At the time of the preliminary release, the status of the pilot was unidentified, and search and rescue workers were at the scene.

[Update, 5:32 PM] The Navy has actually now recognized the pilot as Lt. Charles Z. Walker,33 ” The NAS Lemoore air travel household is grieving the loss of among our own,” Capt. James Bates, Leader of Strike Fighter Wing Pacific stated in a declaration. “Lt. Walker was an extraordinary marine pilot, partner and boy. He was an important member of the Vigilante household, and his lack will be acutely felt on this flight line. Our pilots comprehend the danger connected with this occupation, and they purposefully accept it in service to our country. The unforeseen loss of a fellow pilot and shipmate discomforts all of us. Our genuine acknowledgements head out to his friends and family.”

Star Wars Canyon, so called due to the fact that of its distance to a location utilized as the area for shooting scenes on the imaginary world Tatooine in the initial Star Wars movie, has actually been utilized for low-level flight training by the services because the 1930 s. When Death Valley ended up being a national forest in 1994, the armed force was provided a waiver to continue to utilize the location for flight training. In 2010, the National forest Service set up railings along the canyon due to the fact that of the appeal of the area for plane-watching. Like the Mach Loop in Wales, it is among the couple of locations where professional photographers can regularly take images of military airplane from above as they fly past.

An F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter flies near the "Jedi Transition" on February 27, 2019 in Death Valley, California.
Enlarge
/ An F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter flies near the “Jedi Shift” on February 27, 2019 in Death Valley, California.

Jerod Harris/ Getty Images

Video of airplane flying through “Star Wars Canyon”

Witnesses stated that the F/A-18 crashed at high-speed straight into a canyon wall. The airplane blew up in a fireball, burning the rocks. The pilot never ever ejected.

VF-151 belongs to Provider Air Wing 9, the air group that just recently returned from release aboard the USS John C. Stennis( CVN-74). The Stennis is now in Norfolk after an around-the-world release, getting ready for mid-life refueling of its atomic power plants.