Plane crash raises red flags during Nellis training exercise

by Daniel R.C. DeLuca

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, NV — It is safe to say that January’s iteration of the Red Flag exercise out of Nellis Air Force Base has started with a bang.  Marking the beginning of the three week event, Saturday morning saw an aborted takeoff of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) EA-18G Growler.  Around 10:40 A.M., the Growler burst into flames on the runway, reportedly due to an engine malfunction.

According to a press release from the United States Air Force, “…All personnel are safe…No serious injuries are reported.”  A later update to the media made mention that five individuals are being treated for minor injuries related to the incident.

Despite these difficulties, Red Flag will continue as scheduled.  Residents of Sunrise Manor know well the familiar and continuous streaking of fighter jets over their neighborhoods as a multinational smorgasbord of military aircraft cruise through the Vegas Valley skies.  According to Nellis AFB’s featured publications page, Red Flag Exercise 18-1 will incorporate “a variety of attack, fighter, and bomber aircraft” in this month’s activities.

Participants currently include Australia’s RAAF and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force; February’s docket lists the Columbian Air Force among others.  Training exercises and departures, orchestrated by the 414th Combat Training Squadron, will occur twice a day until February 26th and may be seen in the northeast region of the valley.