x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Pilot killed as air force jet crashes

An air force training jet aircraft crashes in Ras al Khaimah, killing the pilot, after the Hawk aircraft hit a hillside during a routine training exercise.

An air force training jet aircraft crashed in Ras al Khaimah yesterday killing the pilot.

The Hawk hit a hillside during a routine training exercise.

Although the aircraft is a two-seater, only one person was aboard when it crashed.

Witnesses from a nearby village said the crash happened at about 1pm in Wadi Hulailah, about 5km from the north Oman border.

Residents, who often see military aircraft in the area, reported seeing a large amount of smoke and fire from the crash site.

RAK Police set up a road block to prevent anyone from getting near the crash site while investigations into the crash got under way.

The Hawk is a British-built advanced training jet, produced by BAE Systems.

The rear seat is raised, allowing a clear view for an instructor.

More than 900 Hawks have been built and are in use with the UK's Royal Air Force (RAF), and the air forces of many other countries, including Saudi Arabia, India, Kuwait, Oman, Canada, Switzerland and Australia.

The Hawk has had a good safety record since it entered service with the RAF more than 30 years ago. The aircraft is famous as the one used by the Red Arrows, the crowd-pleasing air-show display team of the Royal Air Force, familiar at international air shows and public exhibitions.

A variant, the Goshawk, is in wide use with the United States Navy and is used for aircraft carrier training.

kshaheen@thenational.ae