Thursday, March 26, 2009

US Air Force F-22A Raptor Crash Kills Pilot

An F-22 Raptor, like the one shown in this file photo, crashed north of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., March 25 claiming the life of it's test pilot, David Cooley. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel A. Kocin.)

News in Balance:

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., March 26, 2009 -- An Air Force F-22A crash March 25 near here claimed the life of an Air Force veteran and Lockheed Martin test pilot.

David Cooley, 49, of Palmdale, Calif., died when the F-22A he was piloting crashed northeast of the base here. Mr. Cooley worked as a test pilot with Lockheed Martin, and was employed at the 411th Flight Test Squadron, 412th Test Wing, on Edwards.

Mr. Cooley joined Lockheed Martin in 2003 and was a 21-year veteran of the Air Force. He worked at the F-22 Combined Test Force, where a team of Lockheed Martin and Air Force pilots conduct F-22 aircraft testing.

"This is a very difficult day for Edwards and those who knew and respected Dave as a warrior, test pilot and friend," said Maj. Gen. David Eichhorn, Air Force Flight Test Center commander. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Dave and his family as we struggle through, and do all we can to support them."

Edwards officials said they were notified around 10 a.m. that the F-22A had gone down 35 miles northeast of the base. First responders transported Mr. Cooley from the crash scene to Victor Valley Community Hospital in Victorville, Calif., where he was pronounced dead.

A board of officers is investigating the accident through an Accident Investigation Board, whose findings will be released to the public upon completion.

(Report from a U.S. Air Force news release.)

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