Two Active-duty U.S. Air Force pilots ejected from an F-15QA aircraft at MidAmerica airport near St. Louis after the jet departed the runway May 18, the service said. Both pilots received minor injuries.
The cause of the accident is under investigation, but the Air Force has not grounded its own two F-15EX jets, which are based on the F-15QA, nor has it issued a safety grounding on the F-15QA or similar aircraft. A service official said, “There is no indication at this time that a stand-down is necessary.”
The jet departed the runway upon landing, ending up on an adjacent grass strip. The Air Force did not disclose why the pilots ejected. The mishap occurred just after 7:00 a.m. local time in overcast conditions with some rain.
The F-15QA had recently been accepted by the Air Force and was to be transferred to Qatar under the Foreign Military Sales program. Images of the aircraft taken by local news media showed the aircraft with the canopy and both ejection seats missing. There appeared to be no other damage to the factory-fresh fighter.
Initial reports indicated only one crewmember ejected from the aircraft.
Boeing uses MidAmerica, located in Mascoutah, Illinois, for some F-15QA training functions. It builds the F-15 series at its plant adjacent to Lambert Field, St. Louis.
The Air Force recently took delivery of its first two F-15EX aircraft, which flew last week in the Northern Edge exercise in Alaska. The F-15QA, EX, and SA—for Saudi Arabia—all have a new fly-by-wire control system. The F-15EX is undergoing a streamlined and concurrent developmental/operational test program at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, made possible by extensive USAF testing of the F-15SA.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 6:04 p.m. EST to include additional information from the Air Force.