ENID, Okla. – Air Force officials Friday identified the two airmen killed in a crash landing of a trainer jet at Vance Air Force Base as student pilot Lt. Travis Wilkie, 23, and instructor Lt. Col. John “Matt” Kincade, 47.
The deadly accident occurred Thursday morning as two T-38C Talon jets were returning to the base from a routine formation training exercise when one of the planes flipped upside down and slid off the runway.
The two airmen aboard the second jet were not injured.
Col. Corey Simmons, commander of the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance AFB, said an investigation is underway into the cause of the accident.
It was the third fatal crash involving Air Force officers in the T-38C Talon trainer jet in two years. The others occurred at Laughlin AFB in Texas in November of 2017 and November of 2018.
Air Force investigators blamed those crashes on hydraulic failure and loss of engine compression, respectively. The trainer jets were flying solo and both pilots died.
Student pilots preparing to fly fighter jets typically train in the T-38Cs during the third and final phase of their training program. Different versions of the plane have been used to train fighter pilots since the 1960s, but it is scheduled to be replaced by a new jet trainer in the next three years.
The T-38C Talon is a twin-engine, supersonic jet trainer made by Northrup Grumman.
The Enid, Okla., News & Eagle contribution details to this story.