Navy jet slams into Virginia Beach apartments


For residents who live under the flight paths of the Navy's East Coast master jet base, Friday's crash was a nightmare come true.

And yet, despite the wreckage, the smell of burning jet fuel and the destruction of about 40 apartments, the aftermath seemed the best outcome from a worst-case scenario.

Bystanders helped disentangle two pilots from their parachutes and assisted firefighters dragging hoses into place before police cordoned off the area.

Staff at a nearby hospital set up an incident command center in the emergency room and pitched a decontamination tent outside in case patients arrived covered in jet fuel, but didn't need to use it. As of Friday evening, no casualties were reported, though three people were unaccounted for, all from the same building.

Some referred to it as a Good Friday miracle.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said it was amazing that no fatalities were confirmed in the hours after the crash.

"I think it's an act of divine providence," he told The Virginian-Pilot.

The Navy fighter jet from Oceana Naval Air Station plunged into the senior citizens apartments shortly after takeoff, around 12:05 p.m., exploding into a fireball. It left a crater in the complex. Roofs and floors crashed down, leaving gaping holes in five buildings. Witnesses described it as an inferno. For hours afterward, the smell of jet fuel hung in the air.

About 100 people lived at Mayfair Mews.

The aviators in the two-seat F/A-18D Hornet ejected moments before the jet crashed, sending inky plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. The Navy said it was investigating the cause of the crash, citing a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction."

The pilots were taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital with minor injuries; the Navy said Friday night that both were doing well. In addition to the pilots, the hospital treated two patients for smoke inhalation and one who blacked out at the scene. Later, they treated a police officer injured in a fall and an EMS worker with knee pain.

Oceana's 300 fighter jets regularly scream over the neighborhood near Birdneck and Laskin roads, the roar of their dual engines momentarily drowning out all other sounds. The skies have been particularly busy since December, with squadrons practicing landing maneuvers at Oceana while a nearby practice site is renovated.

After touring the site with firefighters Friday afternoon, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms said he was stunned by the wreckage and feared people probably had died in the crash.

"We're blessed so far nobody has been found dead," he said. "I don't expect that to be the case by the end of this.... Right now, I just pray that our fatalities are low."

The jet, a two-seater, belongs to VFA (Strike Fighter Squadron) 106, a training squadron for pilots learning how to fly F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets.

The squadron, nicknamed the Gladiators, trains about 100 Navy and Marine pilots a year. They start with daytime flights, then progress to air-to-air and air-to-ground combat training missions, usually over the Atlantic Ocean or at Dare County Bombing Range in North Carolina. Before leaving the squadron, they master the skills needed to land on an aircraft carrier.

Cmdr. Phil Rosi, a Navy spokesman, said an experienced instructor was in the back seat of the F/A-18D, with the student pilot in the front seat. The pair was intending to head out over the Atlantic for a routine training flight along with three other jets.

They took off using Oceana's longest runway, 5R, following the typical pattern Oceana jets use to head over water. The route takes them over Interstate 264, Laskin Road and the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

Something went wrong soon after they were airborne.

Robert Cunningham was in the shower when he heard two explosions and felt the building shake.

"I thought it was a really big earthquake," said Cunningham, who lives in an apartment about 100 feet from the crash site. "When I ran outside, ashes were coming down out of the sky."

Sea Pines apartment complex resident Harvey Campbell also ran outside when he heard the crash. He was overwhelmed by smoke, he said, and hit the ground after a series of explosions.

His hands shook as he spoke with a reporter an hour later. His clothes still smelled of smoke and fuel.

"I hear those jets flying over every night," he said. "We always feared this would happen - always knew it was possible. I just thank God it didn't hit us, and pray everyone else is OK."

The fire set off by the crash took about an hour to bring under control.

Police shut down Interstate 264 and blocked off Birdneck Road between Virginia Beach Boulevard and Laskin Road, snarling traffic for much of the day. Residents and gawkers desperate to get a look at the wreckage parked at strip plazas and hiked several blocks to the scene. Some biked in from nearby neighborhoods after watching TV reports, following the black plume that marked the wreckage.

At a McDonald's a few blocks away, a packed dining room huddled around a flat-screen TV and watched CNN coverage of the crash. The restaurant briefly served as a meeting place for residents who were unable to get through police blockades and return to homes. Jason Pollard stood cross-armed and stared at the footage from a news helicopter.

"I live across the street," Pollard said. "That could have been me."

Authorities set up a shelter at Birdneck Elementary School for those displaced by the accident.

Witnesses described jet fuel being dumped from the plane in the moments before it crashed.

George Pilkington had just arrived at Cape Henry Racquet Club when he noticed the jet overhead. "The nose was up, it almost looked like it was trying to land," he said.

This wasn't like the jets that normally fly overhead, he said. "The engines were straining, but there was no smoke coming out of the plane," he said.

Then his car was splashed by jet fuel.

A moment later, he saw smoke and flames.

Amy Miller was standing outside the cleaners where she works on Birdneck Road when she saw the plane coming down with fire on its wing.

"I saw two parachutes eject. I saw them open up and then head toward the ground to the right of the jet."

About two seconds later, the plane crashed. It appeared to have its landing gear down, she said.

The two pilots' lives probably were saved by the doomed jet's ejection seats, which use multiple rockets to get occupants out in a matter of seconds.

Tom Pavlik is a consultant for Martin Baker, the company that makes the seats in every Navy F/A-18 Hornet. He said the seats use solid-rocket propellants.

After a pilot pulls the ejection handles, two rocket motors embedded in the frame of the jet's canopy push the glass away from the plane, he said. Another set of rockets thrust the backseat out of the plane with the front seat following in a different direction. A third set of rockets deploy the parachutes.

"The whole idea is to get out of the airplane and under a parachute as fast as possible, particularly when you're at low altitude," Pavlik said. "One or two seconds is the difference between life and death."

Pilot writers Kerry Dougherty, Stacy Parker, Cindy Clayton, Kathy Adams, David Schleck, Patrick Wilson, Lauren King, Jennifer Jiggetts and Julian Walker contributed to this story.

Kate Wiltrout, 757-446-2629, kate.wiltrout@pilotonline.com



In 1978, the Navy created the Air Installation Compatible Use Zones map to help local governments limit residential growth in areas exposed to loud jets and the risk of crashes. Friday's crash at the Mayfair Mews apartment complex was inside the boundaries of an Accident Potential Zone on the most current map, drawn in 1999. The zones are areas where a mishap is most likely to occur.

This map also shows the multiple flight patterns off runway 5R, the longest runway at Oceana, which was in use Friday.



 Clear zone

  Accident potential zone 1

  Accident potential zone 2

Posted to: Military Navy jet crash News Virginia Beach

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Wouldn't that be Birdneck

Wouldn't that be Birdneck Elementary? It's 957 S. Birdneck.

mayfair mews apts.

Mayfair Mews Apts. east of the dog training school and UPS Store.


South Birdneck is the elementary school, this was off of North Birdneck, the story is mistaken.


This would be off the 500 block of North Birdneck.


The apartments are off N Birdneck. The one picture they show is Birdneck Rd North and Fleming Drive.

Incorrect location data

The crash site is actually on North Birdneck Road, nowhere near the elementary school.

jet crash

great reporting by Pilot Online. sorry for any and all victims of this tragic accident. my prayers to all involved.

How is initially reporting

How is initially reporting it over a mile away great reporting?

This is a real tragedy

I feel for those folks who have lost everything. I hope nobody was injured.

By the way, this was NOT in APZ-1 (the area the BRAC targeted).

Thanks, VP

Thanks for sending out a text alert about this, VP!

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God Bless

God Bless all those involved. I pray there was not many people at home. My thoughts and prayers are with them all.

Prayers for all affected by

Prayers for all affected by this. Praying for the safety of all involved.


I live in Great Neck Area. I've been saying for years its just a matter of time before this would happen. These Jets need to move from here. There are just to much here now for it to be safe to fly over this area like they do. I can tell you they sometime fly to low over our houses. You can not hear the tv at night sometimes its so loud.And please do not say move if you do not like it cause i've been here 60 years long before these loud jets. They fly over 6 schools and a hospital. This jet could hit any of those areas just as easy.ITs just not safe. You do not train your kid to drive and start them on the interstate. You should not train student pilots
over our neighborhoods.God Bless those in the houses and the pilots.

pilot training

this is not the only place they train pilots...besides this was a take-off that had malfunction apparently... it was not - so far by accounts written, not a training/pilot error... i bet you are going to tell the world that hey if a car accident, let's stop driving cars? oh, we have a commercial airport, if it malfunction, i expect you'd say let's stop flying from here on out? do you like our country to be defended? we have these jets flying here for many years... how many crashes have they had over those years? um... we have had air shows! are you going to tell me it's not worth the public to see our military? the military brings in a good amount of income to this area... oh, when you rode your first bicycle, did you ever crash?!


No matter how sad and even tragic this event is for some, the training must continue.


If a hazardous industry attempts to move into a community, the community can work to regulate it. If a community develops around a hazardous area, over time, the community can work to regulate or move it. In this instance, the community can not regulate, and if anyone from the community even questions the potential risk, their intelligence, motivation, and/or patriotism is questioned.

Thumbs down? Thanks!

Thank you for the thumbs down. It proves my point that one cannot state an objective fact without being abused.

Sure I crashed,but pretty

Sure I crashed,but pretty sure I never took out any apartment buildings.

They are safe.

I have been here since the mid 70's and can only recall 2 other crashes. One was a training jet that crashed near the runway on the base, the other in a non-populated area on Oceana Blvd around the golf ball radars that involved an A6 that actually killed a lady and her child when the jet hit their car as it was crossing over Oceana Blvd. More people had died in accidents at the toll both when it was route 44 than with plane crashes around here. In fact, you are probably 100 times more likely to die on Shore Drive than with a plane crashing.


Sure, you don't start a kid driving on the interstate. However, these are not beginning pilots, they have already earned their wings. A better comparison might be a driver upgrading to driving a truck.

Thats funny, because Oceana

Thats funny, because Oceana was bought in 1940 and completed in 1941. It was commissioned in 1943. So were you here 60 years before the planes or have you been there for 60 years. If you were there 60 years before the planes I would like to meet you because that would make you 129 years old. Now if you have been there 60 years does it mean you have lived in that same place born and raised for 60 years or have you lived in VA Beach for 60 years? Just some things to think about. And by the way its not time for them to go its time for you too go if you cant back our military.


"...its time for you too go if you cant back our military." Sounds much more like a statement to be heard in the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany as opposed to the US.

whatever. I love the people

whatever. I love the people that when nothing is happening they dont want the military or law enforcement around. But I bet if this country were attacked again you would have all the same people screaming where was the military how did they let this happen. We need to support our military personnel at all times and if you cant support our military then you need to go somewhere else. These fine men and women support our freedoms and rights with their lives and we treat them like crap. When was the last time anyone has walked up to a member of the service and told them thank you for defending us. They have to train so that they can be the best at what they do.If you cannot defend our military then get out.


They volunteer to serve. It is a service, not a trapeze act. They should not be there for the applause. In any case, the point is that it is possible to support them without providing blind support. Some seem to feel that the military is above or beyond the law, or that they are, in effect, a separate branch of government which the local government must submit to at all times. Conceptually, this is wrong. And, as a federal agency, if they want something off base, if they do not have the power to compel it, they must act in a lawful manner, which means paying for restrictions on property use.


I think the 900 block of Birdneck is closer to General Booth Blvd. Looks like this was well north of that location.


The 900 blk. of South Birdneck is near General Booth. It changes to North Birdneck at Southern Blvd. From the picture, it appears to be closer to the 600 blk. of North Birdneck.

Mayfair Mews Apartments


I Heard....

...from a good source at Oceana that the pilots were attempting to land on I-264, which they would have been trained to do.

My prayers go out to all involved.

Interesting. Emergency

Interesting. Emergency landings are actually one of the reasons interstates have long straight runs.

I'm telling you...

Ike was a genius. For them to see years in advance the need for emergency landing areas! ! !

Its a Myth per a Geography Website

"According to Richard F. Weingroff, who works in the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Infrastructure, says "No law, regulation, policy, or sliver of red tape requires that one out of five miles of the Interstate Highway System must be straight." He says that it's a complete hoax and urban legend that the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System requires that one mile in every five must be straight to be usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies. Besides, there are more overpasses and interchanges than there are miles in the system so even if there were straight miles, planes attempting to land would quickly encounter a overpass on their runway."

Your Informed Source

probably isn't. I doubt anyone in the know would have speculated on such a thing to a member of the general public.

Care to quote your source for the record?


It has been reported that they just took off. Winds are out of the north, so they probably used runway 8, which you can draw a line from the end of and it will lead you almost straight to the crash site. They probably wouldn't try a 100 or so degree turn to line up with the interstate when there less populated areas like tidal waters and some golf course fairways just off the nose.


They were probably just trying to minimize damage. Not many options when there is a massive malfunction, the plane stops flying, and you are too close to the ground.


think they were trying to land on a busy interstate highway or even train for that. They should have headed out to sea and certainly not eject over a congested area. I'll wait to judge the pilots until after the investigation, however bailing out over a highly congested area....not impressed!!

they did not seem to have

they did not seem to have many options. thank your developers.


Considering the pilots landed practically on top of where the jet impacted, it is safe to assume they waited to eject until pretty much the last second. I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they made some attempt to point the nose towards an unpopulated area before ejecting. It is difficult to judge where the airplane will glide once you suddenly remove upwards of 500 lbs of pilots and ejection seats from the nose though.

I hope the steering and

I hope the steering and brakes never go out on your car in a congested area, leaving you with no way to keep from crashing in to other cars. No one ever wants to hit anyone or anything, but when equipment fails, sometimes, it's unavoidable. Those guys did everything they could to mitigate the loss of life, including initiating a low-altitude ejection at the last minute. So glad we have people like you to tell us what the pilots should have done; I'm sure you would have done a better job if you had been flying.


Then again, how different is their comment from all those active duty and veteran military members who consistently question the practices and decisions of local, state, and federal agencies, as well as those of the private sector, though they lack experience and training in those areas?

Lots of erroneous information

It appears at least one other news source had the north-south Birdneck address wrong. The Mayfair apts are a block east of North Birdneck Rd. I heard a wing fell off (before the crash?) but there will be rumors galore.

Very wishful thinking no one was home... :( My thoughts and prayers go out to all involved.

Another Reason to Move OUT of VB.....

Ahhhh... the "Sounds of Freedom" when you hear these annoying (unsafe) FA-18 Hornets fly over your house that I'm constantly reminded..."Oh, I'll take hearing the jets any day of the week". BOOM! Maybe it's time BRAC needs to close NAS Oceana and convert it to a multi-purpose training facility ("Joint Forces Command"). Now reality just set in that it's NOT SAFE for Jets to be flying over residential areas. Helllloooooo, anyone out there?

Patriot - get a grip. They

Patriot - get a grip. They have been flying way longer than 90% of the homes and people nearby.


let the door hit ya!

Sproadic History

It has been a long time since one crashed off base in this area, but there is a history of it. In the late 1970s and early 1980s: a USN passenger jet crashed near the southern end of Oceana Blvd, not far from the commissary; an F14 went down off of the northern end of Oceana Blvd, near Southern Blvd., killing the pilot, REO, and a pregnant civilian woman driving there; a fighter went down near a large salvage yard off of VB Blvd;and, another fighter went down into the woods off of N. Great Neck Road near Mill Dam (now neighborhoods). One helicopter crash near the oceanfront. Most interesting, there was one in which the pilots ejected after aiming their plane towards the ocean. The plane turned and crashed where Lynnhaven Mall now sits.


"an F14 went down off of the northern end of Oceana Blvd, near Southern Blvd., killing the pilot"

No. It was an A-4.


it was an A-6.


I never new that, and I was on the scene. Thanks.

I believe it was an A6

I believe it was an A6 intruder.


Just a quick FYI when the base was built it was purposely built out in the sticks. However, developers started buying up property cheap & developing the heck out of it.

When people started building & buying house there they knew that this is the risk you take. So it's not really fair for you to blame the military and call for their moving of the base. They were there first. If you don't like it you have the option to live some where else no one forced them to live there.

Old Story

That is the argument often used, but it lacks context. I worked with someone who attended the old Oceana HS when the base was new. The fighters then were single engine planes, not jets, the numbers were smaller. They made less noise and, if there was a crash, created far less damage.

Who cares. The jets are

Who cares. The jets are ineffective. They did no good on 9/11. The chinese continue to steal our countries secrets from the Military's facebook terminals.

They are just a tool for the old rich people to send the young people to war against other old rich people.

I really hope to meet you in

I really hope to meet you in person one day. I really, really do. Ethan, any country with superior air power winds-period.


The Powhatan Indians?

Umm..... one small problem with your thinking

NAS Oceana was there long before most of the housing and other development in the area. While I don't know about what the requirements were long ago, I do know that at least since the mid 90's, probably earlier than that, when you purchased a house, the seller is required to disclose, and the buyer is required to acknowledge, by signature on a document for this very purpose, that the house is or is not within a flight zone. What would you say if a commercial jet crashed near Norfolk International, and crashed into some houses just south of Virginia Beach Blvd? Would you argue that Norfolk International needs to go too?

And what about the jets that

And what about the jets that fly over all the other neighborhoods from Norfolk's International Airport...these are the risks we live with...get over it.

we can tell you are not from

we can tell you are not from this area. we true born and raised in this area support our military 100%. if you dont like it MOVE.

True Born

Any anyone who questions government or its actions are not "true" Americans"


Next time you are outside, look up. You will see all kinds of aircraft flying over head every day. Chances are just as good that any one of them can malfunction and crash into the same residential areas that the Navy flies over.

Carbon Fiber

Hey Virginian-Pilot. In the pictures, there are a lot of people wandering around without breathing protection. The F18 body has a great deal of carbon fibers, which have extraordinary health hazards for those exposed to either loose fibers, or the fibers contained in the smoke. Might be an interesting thing to look into.

Seems like a reasonable thing to me...

Just wondering why people would "thumbs down" this? Seems like a reasonable thing to ask...it's not necessarily unpatriotic to ask questions out of concern for your community. In fact, I would think that's the VP's job no?

I hope the mayor is wrong and that, by some good fortune, everyone in the area survived.

All the best to the first responders; indeed to the displaced residents and the pilots as they rebuild their lives from this disaste r. Hopefully, this will bring out the best in the Hampton Roads community.


I agree. I tried to question it earlier, but the system would not let me post - it showed as a continuation of my post. The USN knows the hazard - they provide specialized training and equipment for uniformed and civilian personnel working with the materials. The earlier videos and photos didn't show many wearing respiratory protection, though they have started to do so in later pictures and discuss it in latter announcements.


I'm sorry this happened and hope there's no loss of life however the Navy told everyone not to build to close from the start but they did maybe the people should move.

Did anyone else catch this?

"Sam Iam lives in a townhouse nearby"

Sam I am?


I caught that too. Can't believe the paper ran with it!

I noticed that too

Sam's parents had quite a sense of humor!!!

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My daughter lives in VA Beach and called me about this crash. I was telling her about Sam Iam and went to pull up the article but Sam Iam's interview is gone! :-(

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"Now we'll have to see the extent of injuries and death ! "...

....said the mayor. Sounds to me like he was looking forward to having new ammunition to push a personal political agenda. No doubt to the Navy's detirement and the developers profit.

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Hope everyone is alright. I was looking at Wavy 10's chopper video, Why is 264 closed? I can totally understand closing the Birdneck road exit, but why 264 Eastbound at Rosemont?

Cars on 264 will kill you before a Navy Jet will

You have a better chance of being killed on 264, or any other road in Hampton Roads, by some teenager texting or some drunkin idiot then you do by a Navy Jet coming in or out of Oceana. To all the people that live here in Virginia Beach and don't the like the jets flying over your house or over the streets that you drive on...MOVE!!! The risk from the jets at Oceana is a lot lower than the risk you take every time you get behind the wheel and drive around this town or the risk you take just walking/driving around some of the neighborhoods in Virginia Beach. The jets are the least of your worries here in Virginia Beach! And like I said, if you don't like it MOVE, Virginia Beach doesn't want/need residents that don't support the military!

While True...

There is a standard set by the government for the minimum distance houses and businesses can be around any airport and OCEANA doesn't meet these requirements. This is why BRAC wanted to close OCEANA 5 years ago. You'll of course know about Botanical Gardens in Norfolk being the emergency landing area for the airport, OCEANA doesn't have enough clear area and that's not right. Accidents and emergencies will happen, but the city has been allowing more and more encrochment into OCEANA's emergency space and this is exactly what BRAC said would happen.

First Come

Oceana was here first. Move if you don't like the noise but the fault lies with DEVELOPERS and anxious hungry city fathers.

Here First

I believe there were Native Americans on the shore before any of us landed. Are you suggesting that we vacate the nation?

Invest in a map

Oceana has 4 to 5 times more open space around it than the Botanical Gardens provide Norfolk International. I am not saying there is enough open space, just that your comparison is not correct.


It is possible to support the military, without feeling the need to support everything they do. It is possible to question military operations, without having your intelligence or patriotism questioned. Military personnel swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution, which includes a right to request redress of grievances. One should not be told to move for making use of that right.

Thumbs down?

I can only presume those that gave a thumbs down do not understand the Constitution, or believe it is only applicable to those who share their own political views.


Just because you don't like living in a jet noise/crash zone, doesn't mean that you don't support the military.

how did all those houses and apartments get in the way?

In November 1940, the U.S. Government purchased 328.95 acres that was to become NAS Oceana and constructed a small airfield with 32 officers and 172 enlisted men assigned. At that time it was located in an almost inaccessible area--too far from Norfolk for civilian usage, but close enough to the Atlantic Ocean for the Navy's purposes.

Just a guess, but with all that hazardous material out there

The Navy, Police, Fire Fighters, Investigators don't need 100,000 nosy looky loos wandering around. And if folks are inconvenienced, too bad. Everyone should know 3 ways to get everywhere they need to go, now would be a good time to put that GPS or old map to good use.

Calm down everybody!

Calm down everybody! Everything's gonna be fine. Andy Fox just arrived.

Is he ...

... "past perpendicular" yet?

while most of us are concerned...

somewhere a developer is salivating.

VB allowed all that developement!

Oceana was there long before VB ever became a city!!!....1940's!!!
The Navy shouldn't have to leave. Since VB allowed and approved all that development then (greedy) VB should be responsible to pay to clear the way !!! Homes, schools, shopping malls...along with ALL those folks who hate JET NOISE!!! Clear a 10 mile radius around Oceana and you'll never have to worry about TRAFFIC again!!! It will solve the biggest problem to the most congested poorly planned city on the east coast!!!...and the city should FOOT THE BILL!!!

Agree but

I agree with your comments however please don't suggest that the city pay because they are reaching into our pockets just about to the pocket lint and suggesting that the city or gov't pays, means our taxes rise.

The city

and MB will want to put up a new taxpayer funded hotel after memory fades.

Lay offf ...

... this is neither the time nor the place for that.

know your history

The town of Virginia Beach was incorporated in 1906.

There was a resort here from the late 1800's.

Probably should know your history as well...

And despite that, when Oceana was built all of the residential development currently in the danger areas didn't exist. In fact, Virginia Beach didn't technically exist. In 1943, Oceana was built in Princess Anne County, with the town of Virginia Beach only existing at the ocean front. Into the 70's, this encroachment didn't exist. When the Navy's presence at Oceana waned with lower air traffic, residential development pushing into the crash zones jumped into overdrive "because the base isn't that busy". Oceana was there before the City of Virginia Beach was created.

jets vs. props

Jets didn't exist when Oceana was built.

These jets should have been moved DECADES ago.

The west coast master jet base NAS LeMoore is one hour outside of Fresno in the middle of nowhere. Why can't the east coast master jet base also be out in the middle of nowhere.

I blame the Navy's top brass--most of them Admirals.

Oh so wrong

The houses just outside the gate in Oceana Gardens are much older than the base itself.


The military serves the nation. For you to believe that the City should do whatever the military asks, is nonsensical. For you to believe that the local government should cover all costs to support a federal enterprise is ludicrous. In reality, all that development was subject to USN review and feedback. When most of those areas were developed, they were not in crash zones or high-noise zones. The environment changed as the USN facility usage and equipment changed. Whose fault is that? No one - it is progress.

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Led by Lowell "the Hammer" Stanley...

Did you hear all those sirens in Va Beach
this afternoon? They weren't rescuers...
they were lawyers.


This was going to happen eventually.

There is lots of blame to go around:

Va Beach - with dollar signs in your eyes you allowed developers to build in the flight path and right up to the fences of Oceana. SHAME ON YOU.

Developers - Your overwhelming greed drove you to build homes and shopping areas where eventually a fighter jet would crash. SHAME ON YOU.

Navy - You morons closed Cecil Field in Florida and moved the F-18s here. STUPID MOVE. Cecil Field had unencroached air space, and room to grow, yet
you closed it and moved them here. SHAME ON YOU.

Close Oceana now. Move the fighters.

So you want to choke off one

So you want to choke off one of our main economic sources and send this state into a recession rivalling that of Michigan? Okay.

Your name...

...says more about you than your post.

yeah, yeah, yeah

So would you demand the Norfolk Airport close if a commercial plane crashed? Things happen. It was just one of those unfortunate days that fortunately doesn't happen too often.

Personally, I'd rather see everyone who hates our military move. I'll take jet noise any day.

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Can only agree with one of your points....

Ya know, the BRAC did make a wrong decision with closing Cecil Field -- those that live in the flight path of NAS JAX are really feeling that way right now. Over the years the area around Cecil has not changed that much, that means not much (if any at all) encroachment. JAX would've faired MUCH, MUCH better with all that PRIME St. Johns riverfront property (oh the nice property taxes) and the residents surrounding the area would have less to worry about day in and day out. One cannot ignore that NAS JAX does not house jets, but it does house planes nonetheless.

As a kid growing up, graduating from high school in VA Beach (and college in Norfolk) the jet engines from NAS Oceana would sing me to sleep, that's how close my family lived to the base. W

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BLAME -alis navyh8ter

Your post merits some truth Va beach, Developers...however, your name shows your disgust for the men and women that protect you which is down right gross. Higher ups are responsible for closures.....

Evidently, Nature's God of Dodging Bullets, was in the vicinity

Seriously, I am thankful, albeit amazed, that no Human lives appear to have been lost. I will be more thankful if the clearing of smoke, confirms this as truth.

T Kosciuszko

Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world ~ Mr. Emerson

Can we get new bridges to

Can we get new bridges to replace our tunnels without tolls instead of more planes that we don't need?

Not the State's call.

Thing is, it's ultimately the Navy/Air Force's call about how many planes are here, rather than the state and city. Va Beach is trying to keep them here because the military and it's personel are one of the main sources of our local economy alongside tourism.

Depends...can we get a replacement for you??

Those "planes we don't need" are the very instrument that protects the First Amendment of our constitution and are they very thing that enables you to continually spout your "opinion" without fear of retribution by the government....
"Better to to be thought a fool than to open mouth and remove all doubt"

I'm jus' sayin'

I feel more protected when

I feel more protected when the soldiers are at home, not halfway across the planet playing in the sand.

LoL those planes belong to

LoL those planes belong to the govt that represents the corps working hard to take away the freedoms of the citizens.

Expensive planes did no good on 9/11 iirc.

But they worked great when our leaders lied and got us tons of enemies for our future (iraq).

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City Development

Many in this discussion seem to hold that the City was wrong to develop in the area because the base was there first. OK, fair enough. If the City regresses to that state, the USN has to as well. No jets. Less than 500 people. No planes comprised of toxic materials. No heavy ordinance beyond what was available in 1943. Is this reality? No, of course not. The city and the DoD have a symbiotic relationship. To demand that one side yield to every demand of the other, putting oneself in a wholly subservient role, is not democracy and is un-American.

The issue point where many

The issue point where many folks feel the city has more of a role to play in this, is that they kept the crash zones clear until air traffic slowed down (yes, JET air traffic), and then allowed development encroaching into the crash zones. When Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County joined together to form the City of VB, F-4 Phantom IIs were flying in and out of Oceana. So the jet traffic was already there. If someone tells you not to put something behind their car because it's a dangerous place to put it, and you put it there anyway and it gets driven over, do you blame the driver because you chose to ignore their warning?

Get a Grip

Ok folks,

Unless you can get VA Beach to condemn all of the development around Oceana (including Lynnhaven mall and other shopping centers not to mention the houses worth several thousand dollars each) you just have to live with it. The Navy runs that base not the City.

Secondly, The bill from the crash seems to be property damage as it stands now and a very,very few injuries. This thing could have fallen out of the sky onto I-264 during rush hour or even one of the oceanfront hotels in the middle of tourist season. It was an accident and they happen. Just get a grip and stop trying to pin blame on someone.

Thirdly, If you do not like the jet noise from Oceana or living in a crash zone, then find another place to live that is not in a


Maybe, but as you state, much of that was done when the USN was downsizing and flights were greatly reduced. Using your own analogy, if a neighbor has several cars, but gets rid of many and rarely uses the others, tells you that he won't be backing out as often, and, when he does back out, changes his backing direction randomly and with little notice, often permitting new drivers to practice their backing, and, when a bike is backed over he rejects all accountability, questioning your intelligence and patriotism for even asking why, would you get rid of your bike and move, or would you complain to the authorities that someone is driving recklessly?

If one consumes the entire cake, then demands another slice,

one is not rational.

The airfield’s footprint was laid out and constructed to facilitate the US Navy’s operational and training activities. There was little, and most likely no consideration, regarding backyards and bikinis in their planning endeavors.

The US Navy’s focus is on defending our nation—the City of Virginia Beach’s focus is on city planning, development, tourism and other commerce—the dynamics of suburbia.

I do not doubt the City’s interest in maintaining a “symbolic relationship,” for it is in the economic interest. However, symbolic relationships are a of very little use to the Navy, for operational functionality in the substantive of their purpose.

T Kosciuszko

It appears that someone ate the la


OK, but I said symbiotic, not symbolic

Forgive me...tired eyes...and I missed some word plays too.

Purely symbiotically is precisely depicted by the symbiosis between the bird and the hippopotamus.

In contrast, a purely symbolic relationship is not one of symbiosis; for Navy Jets and suburban backyards are not symbiotic.

T Kosciuszko

Sadly, we have not evolved to a degree that values humanity—for we do not DEMAND Honesty. A D-eye sees stereotypical—not individual. Rs claim morality, but the R-eye, is merely the other eye. Like Ds, many Rs, are one-eyed-wonders of hypocrisy who cannot see--beyond the gop's senior party advisor’s intransigent policy sheets; that were written, while they was sittin' at the table of a battle-hardened-K-street-dead-beat, to ensure that he accomplishes his feats, by sittin' in your seat.

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stop complaing

I am so sick of hearing people complain oceana. Deal with the dang jet noise..or MOVE!!!


Just to be clear, no one on this string was complaining of the noise of jets flying. It was the sound of them crashing into civilian property that tended to unsettle people.

I think a giant debt of

I think a giant debt of thanks and gratitude needs to go towards the VB EMS teams that jumped on top of this before it had a chance to be worse. We're doing a lot of blaming and trying to make snide comments and such, but these guys went above and beyond. The Coast Guardsman who rushed across the street with a stranger to get people out of their apartments and to offer aid to one of the pilots, still in his ejector seat; thank you for stepping up and showing us that we are still capable of being something better than mediocre. I also think that the pilots had a part to play in this being as minimal as it was, with the fuel dumps noted and the likely last minute ejections that landed one near the crash site itself.

Jet Crash

"The mission of the United States Navy is to protect and defend the right of the United States and our allies to move freely on the oceans and to protect our country against her enemies." Right out of the handbook. Hampton Roads,Virginia has the second largest concentration of Naval installations in the United States, Homeport of the Atlantic Fleet which includes the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek and NAS Oceana, a MASTER jet base! I consider it an honor to have the Navy in our backyard. They bring security, honor, and financial stability to our region. It is a tragedy the accident happened but all I know is that there are 2 rules to remember. Rule #1 accidents happen. And rule # 2 is we can't change rule #1.

Oh...but you can change the

Oh...but you can change the outcome! Move to a far less populated area.


Security? They destroyed an apartment complex. Honor? What of the apparently unending parade of NCOs and command-level officers engaging in inappropriate behaviors ranging from misuse of government funds to sexual harassment. Financial Stability? What of their constant threats to move from the area unless they get their way, suggesting they have the financial clout to destroy the local economy? In the end, the above are isolated incidents. However, to argue that the civilian populace should constantly be in awe of everyone in uniform, to provide support to them of all kinds without question, and to constantly be called upon to thank and praise them suggests an argument for a military state.

exhaust nozzle

Not an aeronautical engineer but in the photo of the tail end of the jet the exhaust nozzles are in different configurations. Maybe a result of the crash/fire but I'm pretty sure that during take-off they should be configured the same. I'm praying the victim list stays the same.

exhaust nozzles

I believe that supports the engines were off / not working at the time of the crash.

Just a matter of time

We all knew this would happen someday and will again (Lynnhaven mall is prime), glad I moved my family to Greensboro NC in October 2011. We sure do not miss the jet noise or fear of death from above one bit!

And we don't miss you either!!

I'm sure NC is proud to have ya.


Stihl, Inc , Lynnhaven Mall is prime area for a crash..The jets fly to low over my Holland House Apt. off hollad rd.

Chance of a crash

The sounds of the jets is the sound of freedom, that is why you can sleep at night knowing that the military has your back even when you aren't aware. The majority of the population of Va Beach knew that this was a military area when they moved here. Our military contributes so much more to the quality of you life than you can even realize. So what if the taxpayers pay to rebuild these apartments...look what we pay for that we have no control over! All of us need to thank the young men & women who are willing to give their lives to protect us and most of all Thank God for his love and protection. Let's all be thankful.

Sleep...ha,ha,ha! One

Sleep...ha,ha,ha! One hundred decibels at night sometimes past midnight. Oh, I know you will say "you know what you got when you moved there." Wrong, my realestate agreement...under 75 decibels. We had no nighttime noise for ten years,but when BRAC pulled out all rules went out the window. I have called Oceana at least once per week complaining of being able to see both pilots helmets and all. My father was a Navy pilot died for his country and he would be appalled that jets are allowed to dog fight over homes and expose citizens to noise levels that are damaging to our immune systems and hearing.

I have lived here..

33 years. Oceana was here long, long before me. Anyone who signs a lease or buys a home in this area is warned IN WRITING about the "jet noise" and the potential for a jet crashing into your home.The navy has an impressive safety record as evidenced by the 26year gap between incidents of this type. If you do not like the noise or are that concerned about your safety MOVE!!

Many more people have been struck by lightening in Virginia Beach than struck by crashing Jets from Naval installations.

To the Pilots, I know the kind of people they are. I grew up with them as my coaches, neighbors, and friends. If there was ANYWAY that this crash could have been avoided it would have been. Thoughts are with you both in the months/years ahead.

I have lived here..

33 years. Oceana was here long, long before me. Anyone who signs a lease or buys a home in this area is warned IN WRITING about the "jet noise" and the potential for a jet crashing into your home.The navy has an impressive safety record as evidenced by the 26year gap between incidents of this type. If you do not like the noise or are that concerned about your safety MOVE!!

Many more people have been struck by lightening in Virginia Beach than struck by crashing Jets from Naval installations.

To the Pilots, I know the kind of people they are. I grew up with them as my coaches, neighbors, and friends. If there was ANYWAY that this crash could have been avoided it would have been. Thoughts are with you both in the months/years ahead.

This was an accident. Those

This was an accident. Those of you asking for the jets to leave are nuts. The VB economy would dry up if the jets left. . What are you going to say when a plane crashes at Norfolk Int'l? Scream for the airport to close up? Get real. It was an accident and accidents happen. Everyone was so proud of the Navy when VB got the love and press for Seal Team 6 taking out Bin Laden. Now the Navy is evil because a plane crashed? You can't have it both ways. If you can't take the jets leave!!

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God Bless ALL of them.....

A real tragedy but I am praying for a gA real trageood outcome.

I am so grateful our two heroes are ok. I am sure they are going through a huge emotional ordeal inside. We love you! I am sorry there are families that are displaced, but it would be great news if that is the worse of today’s events as we can fix that. I am praying all I can that nobody lost their lives.

If, IF, it turns out that..

there are no fatalities, then don't ever tell me that miracles don't occur! I am keeping my fingers crosses that none will be found as such.

I bet the two pilots will be

I bet the two pilots will be thanking the enlisted sailors who packed the chutes and did the PMS on that ejection seat. They need to buy them guys and gals a beer. Glad there doesn't appear to be any fatalities yet, hope it stays that way.

Crew appreciation to those that maintain the survival equipment

is a tradition that I can say I'm a recipient of times 3. It's a system of last resort that HAS to work flawlessly when initiated as it did today. Kudos to VFA-106 AME's and PR's.

F-18 Crash

1) At this time, no deaths or serious injuries. That is a miracle.
2): Those who lived through this need assistance.
3): We all support the military, esp. the troops. That is not the discussion.
4): We are patriotic.
5): The pilots and the communities both need to be safe.

Who should care if the base or the community was first to develop?

The military jets have increased in volume/thrust and therefore, in noise and air pollution. So which encroached: the base or the community? One can easily state the base changed the rules on existing home owners by bringing in more and larger jets thereby decreasing the safety of both the pilots and the homeowner.

BRAC should consolidate all military air bases: Place them in non-residential areas.

The World Does Not Stand Still - Technology Continues to March

Forward . The two most dangerous phases of flight are the transition where an aircraft is in its take-off and departure phase and its approach and landing phase. Those areas should as much as possible remain clear - it is faulty logic to expect the Navy to shift it assets and use of the base away from the community thas has grown up around and in turn encrouched on these dangerous areas. Air operations will always have risk - should we shut-down Norfolk International due to the significant risk to the surrounding neighorhoods and Naval Base Little Creek? We are blessed that no lives were apparently lost - it appears the heroic efforts of the aircrew plus luck or divine providence played a role. Examine improvments yes - close NAS no.

well said!

I am tired of people who say you know what you got when you bought your home. My home is listed as an under 75 decibel level. Decibel levels have been consistently recorded over my home of over 110 decibels. A test canister from the DOQ revealed toluene, benzene and xlyene. Ridiculous comments of missing jet fuel from their coffee is offensive to those who have lost a friend or family member from cancer. And for those of you want to attack me for being unpatriotic...shame on you. I understand sacrifice. My father, a Navy pilot sacrificed his life in Vietnam for our Country. We are all relieved to know everyone is safe, but lets also remember it could have just as easy been a school where our children attend.

Fear of Crashing Jets

It is a true miracle that no one suffered the loss of life and few injuries in today's crash. But if people "fear" this occurrence, they need to look at the Navy excellent record. It certainly is not the Navy's fault. Look to the City of Virginia Beach's planning department which has authorized the encroachment of development around the base and those who have rented and purchased those properties. This accident is a wake-up call to the City of Virginia Beach. Stop allowing development in areas around Oceana! You cannot have income the base wages generate along with real estate tax revenue from the property the base requires to be vacant. Virginia Beach will have to come off the fence on this Oceana jets issue some day.


Saying that the Navy is not at fault in any way ignores how many of the past incidents were related to pilot error or equipment failure.

Years of developers greed....

Living in Virginia Beach for 40 years I remember very well how
isolated Oceana once was. Then came the building, the malls, Builders grabbing what green they could to develop. Even after the warnings clauses and noise zone maps with sales contracts they still complained.
Bottom line, Oceana was here first. I don't like the night jet fly practices at 11:30 either but take it as small sacrifice to keep our safety and freedom . Seems it is the non-military that are quick to do the verbal attacking.
This accident is tragic and horrible,just as the one well remembered in the 70's. Considering how many flights take off and land over that timespan of years, it is truly amazing the percentage of accidents that have happened.

A miracle

If there are no deaths from this accidents, it will be a true miracle.

With all the flights out of Oceana, Norfolk International, Chambers Field at NOB, Langley AFB and Newport News/Williamsburg Regional, it says a lot about how safe aircraft are these days. That shouldn't be forgotten by anyone that lives in this area.

In response to NavyH8ter....

Ya know, the BRAC committee did make a wrong decision with closing Cecil Field -- those that live in the flight path of NAS JAX are really feeling that way right now (am in JAX visiting). Over the years the area around Cecil has not changed that much, that means not much (if any at all) encroachment. JAX would've faired MUCH, MUCH better with all that PRIME St. Johns riverfront property (oh the nice property taxes - ka-ching) and the residents surrounding the area would have less to worry about day in and day out. One cannot ignore that NAS JAX does not house jets, but it does house planes nonetheless.

As a kid growing up, graduating from high school in VA Beach (and college in Norfolk) the jet engines from NAS Oceana would sing me to sleep, that'

Miracle on Flemming Dr.

No deaths, no serious injuries....... I believe in miracles now. And at Easter to. I'm not a religious person; but I am saying a prayer of thanks tonight......

Thank God the pilots made it

Thank God the pilots made it safely. Still hoping for the miracle to be true.

Hats off to Virginia Beach Fire Department

Just want to say a big thank you to the fire department.
Great job people.

plane crash 2012

I pray everyone is ok, I was eating lunch at work 50 yards from the crash it was a horrific experience very scary, and something I pray to never witness again, To see the entire event take place from begining to end it was hard to digest, the first booms from the pilots ejecting to the massive explosions fire and smoke. I hope all of my neighbhors are safe....continue with prayers!

the jet crash

I am delighted that the pilots and, at this hour it seems, everyone on the ground survived this disaster. Some are calling it a miracle and our Gov. says divine providence is to be thanked. Sorry, but I have to question that view. Possibly no, or even quite few deaths is indeed splendid, but this alleged divine miracle included dozens of people suffering the massive emotional jolt of losing their homes and all their possessions, and our fiscally strapped military losing a very expensive plane. If you show your dear ones how much you love them by burning down their homes, well, I really hope you get counseling.

Thank you Ms. Molly

Thank you, Ms. Molly.

Next we’ll have the Governor’s old pal Pat taking a little of the credit. Yes, they make a good pair.

Thanks to all of the first responders who are always there for us. Thanks to the civilians who helped their fellow citizens. And, from what I’ve read, it would seem that the pilots did everything perfectly and without their skill it would have been far worse.

You folks have a good day and take care...

Inevitable disaster

I'm glad to hear there aren't any know casualties.

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Jet Crash

Everyone is hoping for the best, but I think it's wrong for the media to continuously sensationalize, "no causalities." I think it was short sighted and "news provoking." Instead they should have been cautiously optimistic.

I was glad to hear no fatalities yesterday

and even more glad to hear the same news this morning. What an Easter miracle.

For those who suffered injury and loss in this accident, I hope you find comfort and stability with your living conditions quickly.

The pilots have a very dangerous job and we are blessed that they are willing to take on the task. Thank you. I wish them a complete and speedy recovery.

Now, USN, go find a practice field where damage will be limited or get those residences out of the danger zones and put the handcuffs on developers.

jet crash

we always knew the possibility of a crash could happen. thats why the brac said quit encoaching on the base. city officials didnt listen. the next time we might not be so lucky. what is it going to take to listen . if the govt closes oceana , va beach business will suffer badly and so will the rest of the area but not as badly.

You have a point

But I think that if someone chooses to live under the flight path, you get what you get, I when I got my house I made sure that it was someplace that the chance of a jet coming through my house was zero.

This sound like people who

This sound like people who don't live in this area.I live 3 block form the crash site.We are all still in shock on what we seen as run to the site.How can anyone bring BRAC up now This is people don't see or care how many lives around here depend on that base.But the Most important I have live here all my life.Do you.Ashame of people like you .but I'm not surpise "GREED" is the word.

It frustrates me how people

It frustrates me how people want to see NAS Oceana closed down. As many others have stated, the base was there before most residents in that area. There are inherent risks living near a jet base; this incident was terrible and the fact that there are no fatalities right now is a miracle. NIMBY is a very selfish attitude and it seems a lot of Americans suffer from it. If you don't want to be in the crash zone, move out of it. The Navy never wants to see a plane crash, but they set up zones if the worst should happen. It is not like there are a lot of non-populated options anymore. Maybe it is time to start supporting the base and making it safer then laying on the blame on them.


Yes, they set up zones. You might also want to consider that when the property is private, they want the owner to not use it, without providing compensation for the restricted use, or, they want the City to pay for it, without reimbursement. You might also consider that the zones change from time to time, making previously "safe" areas now "high risk" areas, meaning the City is trying to hit a constantly moving target. You might also consider this is a long-term issue. Many on council recall the city spending tens of millions to relocate two schools they had been told were in crash zones, only to find out they were not - the USN provided inaccurate information, but declined to help the City cover costs for their errors.

Jet Crash

I live on 23th and Barberton area 3 blocks from the crash site.I was on the patio when I heard the jet engine power up and down just before is crash.I can tell this we own these Pilot a lot.I could hear the engines fighting to control that jet.Can you imagine how the must little time the Pilot had to act.They had to try control the aircraft and dump fuel and find a crash site in seconds.God these guys are good. The Plane nose up and then it seem no noise came from it. Those Pilots didn't pop that chute until that plane clear the larger Apartment complex and the nose aim for the court.Hey I which somehow I can let the Pilots know they save alot people that day.We are grateful for them.

Larry Pleasants

Image 7 -- Shirking Sworn Duty To Protect and Serve

Do your job and protect the public, Mr. Police Officer, instead of gawking at wreckage!

There you have it folks, Virginia Beach's finest hard at work during a MAJOR catastrophe. What a waste of tax dollars!

ok you need to stop

its called an investigation. there are 2 military officers, one of which is pointing something out on an ejection seat that landed on public property. to which VBPD has the right to investigate. and there were many of my friends that are part of VBPD that responded to that scene to help anyone that may have been injured putting their lives on the line to help people like you. think twice before you post something so selfish.

You can Quit Brown-nosing your PD Buddies

"there were many of my friends that are part of VBPD that responded to that scene to help anyone that may have been injured putting their lives on the line"

Doesn't look like he's helping anyone but his own job-shirking curiosity, and he certainly isn't putting his life on the line, so you can quit brown-nosing your PD buddies. My guess is that he'd rather rub elbows with military brass than do his job, which means he's probably a brown-noser too. Just glad there weren't any victims who really needed his help. And the sad thing is that VBPD will probably give him a promotion for getting his pic in the paper.

ok you must not realize what

ok you must not realize what goes on in an investigation. YOU DONT TOUCH EVIDENCE. that entire area is technicaly whats called a crime scene. that VBPD officer that is talking with those 2 Navy officers will not get any sort of promotion. he does his job everyday just like everyone else. let me ask you this, how would you feel if that jet crashed in your yard? again think twice before you post coments. and stop being so self centered.

ok you must not realize what

ok you must not realize what goes on in an investigation. YOU DONT TOUCH EVIDENCE. that entire area is technicaly whats called a crime scene. that VBPD officer that is talking with those 2 Navy officers will not get any sort of promotion. he does his job everyday just like everyone else. let me ask you this, how would you feel if that jet crashed in your yard? again think twice before you post coments. and stop being so self centered.

Lie to yourself if that's what comforts you.

Tell yourself and others sweet little lies if that's what makes you feel better. Everyone has their coping mechanisms. The fact is, this could have been a MUCH larger tragedy had this happened in the evening when parents were tucking their children in bed. The Navy couldn't have asked for a better time of day. These careless flying exercises excessively close to civilian populated areas is irrespnsible. And YES, you CAN be patriotic and STILL disagree with the military's tactics.

"careless flying exercises...tactics..?" Did I miss something..?

The NE/SW trajectory of the air-field and wind direction determines take-off and landing patterns—"careless" better defines many houses that were built subsequent to the construction of the air-field.

I am not quite sure I understand your meaning with respect to "tactics."

Is there more to your connotation in that regard?

"careless flying exercises...tactics..?" Did I miss something..?

The NE/SW trajectory of the air-field and wind direction determines take-off and landing patterns—"careless" better defines many houses that were built subsequent to the construction of the air-field.

I am not quite sure I understand your meaning with respect to "tactics."

Is there more to your connotation in that regard?

T Kosciuszko

Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment. ~ Mr. Emerson

Strange What Various Branches of Gov't Consider Safe n Unsafe

Flying a military jet over heavily populated areas safe. Surfing too close to waders unsafe.

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