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Air Force jets collide over Arizona; 1 pilot dead

File photo of A-10 Thunderbolts similar to the two that collied Thursday.
File photo of A-10 Thunderbolts similar to the two that collied Thursday.  

DOUGLAS, Arizona (CNN) -- One pilot died and another was injured when two of three U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs on a routine training mission collided Thursday afternoon about 25 miles east of Douglas, authorities said.

An Air Force spokesman said the one of the pilots ejected and parachuted to the ground.

He was in stable condition after being airlifted to Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. "It looks like minor injuries," the spokeswoman said.

The jets were assigned to the 355th Wing at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.

 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs:
Contractor: Fairchild Republic Co.
Power Plant: Two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofans
Thrust: 9,065 pounds each engine
Length: 53 feet, 4 inches (16.16 meters)
Height: 14 feet, 8 inches (4.42 meters)
Wingspan: 57 feet, 6 inches (17.42 meters)
Speed: 420 miles per hour (Mach 0.56)
Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,636 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 51,000 pounds (22,950 kilograms)
Range: 800 miles (695 nautical miles)
Crew: One
Date Deployed: March 1976
Unit Cost: $8.8 million

Source: U.S. Air Force

"We have an initial response force en route to the scene," Master Sgt. Dan Carpenter said. "As with any Air Force aircraft incident, the initial phase is known as search-and-recovery."

Davis Monthan AFB trains pilots for the A-10, a single-seat attack fighter.

The collision occurred at approximately 3 p.m. (5 p.m. EST), he said.

The plane is designed for close air support of ground forces, according to an Air Force Web site. "They are simple, effective and survivable twin-engine jet aircraft that can be used against all ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles."

The first A-10A's were delivered 25 years ago. In the Gulf War, the jets flew 8,100 sorties.

Each one costs $8.8 million. Prior to Thursday, the Air Force had 143 of them.




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