Pilot rescued off Honolulu, hospitalized after plane crashes during military exercise

HONOLULU – A civilian contractor pilot hired by the Hawaii Air National Guard was in serious condition Wednesday after crashing his plane during a military exercise off the coast of Honolulu, authorities said. A private sailboat rescued the unidentified 47-year-old pilot about 3 miles south of Oahu near Honolulu's Sand Island where he was then transferred … Continue reading “Pilot rescued off Honolulu, hospitalized after plane crashes during military exercise”

HONOLULU – A civilian contractor pilot hired by the Hawaii Air National Guard was in serious condition Wednesday after crashing his plane during a military exercise off the coast of Honolulu, authorities said.

A private sailboat rescued the unidentified 47-year-old pilot about 3 miles south of Oahu near Honolulu's Sand Island where he was then transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Honolulu Emergency Services spokesman Dustin Malama said the pilot appeared to have suffered traumatic injuries and was taken to a hospital.

The Hawker Hunter jet went down in the ocean around 2:25 p.m. after taking off from Honolulu's airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The Hawker Hunter is a British jet developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, according to the website of defense contractor BAE Systems.

The pilot had been participating in a military exercise called Sentry Aloha, which was being hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard and involved about 800 personnel and 30 aircraft from nine states. The exercise was temporarily suspended after the crash.

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The cause of the crash was under investigation, the military said. Departing flights from the Honolulu airport were held as a precaution for about 20 minutes, Hawaii News Now reported.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman did not release further details of the pilot's condition.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

Vermont colonel forced to resign after flying F-16 to meet love interest: report

The former commander of the Vermont Air National Guard was forced to resign in 2015 after flying an F-16 fighter jet to a work meeting in Washington, D.C., that doubled as a romantic rendezvous, according to a report.

Col. Thomas Jackman – whose aviator callsign was reportedly "Snatch" – had been exchanging flirtatious emails with an unidentified Army colonel who worked at the Pentagon for two months before they arranged to meet in January 2015, when he would be in town for a work conference, according to the report by local Vermont website VTDigger, which cited three former Guard members with knowledge of the incident.

Jackman, who was married at the time, told the outlet that he was not involved with the female Army colonel. He reportedly declined to comment on whether the trip forced him to retire.

Jackman, 55, the commander of the 158th Fighter Wing, reportedly used his authority to fly an F-16 nearly 500 miles from Burlington to Andrews Air Force Base, located just outside Washington D.C.

When bad weather forced the base to shut down the runway the morning of the trip, Jackman wrote to the woman that he would possibly fly to Langley Air Force Base instead. It was unclear where he landed, the report said.

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In a statement to the website, 1st Lt. Mikel Arcovitch, the Guard’s media spokesman, said it’s “not common practice” for pilots to fly fighter jets to work conferences.

However, "when it has occurred, pilots conduct training and complete annual requirements to and from the conference location," he added.

Members of the 158th Fighter Wing Maintenance Squadron train in Alpena Michigan. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by A1C Jon Alderman)

The Air Force and Vermont Air National Guard did not immediately respond to Fox News requests for comment.

The hourly operating cost of the F-16 is about $8,000, according to the Department of Defense. It was not immediately clear if Jackman was required to reimburse the Guard for flying the plane.

Though Jackman stayed on the base the night after the conference, he also booked hotel rooms in Alexandria, Va., and Washington D.C. for stays on the 27th and 29th of January, the site reports.

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Guard leadership somehow got wind of the trip and ordered him home on a commercial flight, the report said. Another pilot retrieved the jet.

Jackman, whose 32-year military career included two tours each in Iraq and Afghanistan, was pressed to step down and given advanced notice so he could retire with full benefits, the report said. He was reportedly allowed to keep his security clearance.

Vermont’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Steven Cray said rank and file servicemembers had lost confidence in the colonel's leadership.

Jackman now works as a postmaster for the U.S. Postal Service in Vermont.