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Pilot Killed Flying Same Plane Tom Cruise Flies In Top Gun: Maverick

Pilot Killed Flying Same Plane Tom Cruise Flies In Top Gun: Maverick

Navy officials said the incident is 'currently under investigation'

The US Navy has identified the pilot who was tragically killed when his fighter jet crashed during a training exercise.

Lt. Richard Bullock had been flying an F/A-18E Super Hornet, the same plane Tom Cruise's character flies in Top Gun: Maverick, when it went down near Trona in a remote area of the Mojave desert, California.

The incident unfolded on Friday, 3 June, at approximately 2.30pm and no other civilians were harmed, although a new statement confirmed officials are investigating the secured crash site.

Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake Federal Firefighters and Naval Security Forces were confirmed to have responded to the crash.

Lt. Richard Bullock.
US Navy

Navy officials wrote: "U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Richard Bullock was killed when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed in the vicinity of Trona, Calif., at approximately 2:30pm (PDT), June 3.

"Bullock was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., and was flying a routine training mission at the time before his aircraft when down in a remote, unpopulated area. No civilians were harmed as a result of this incident.

"The incident is currently under investigation and the scene of the crash is secured by Navy and local authorities while recovery efforts are ongoing."

They added: "The Navy mourns this tragic loss alongside the family, friends and shipmates of Lt. Bullock."

The aircraft Bullock had been flying is manufactured by Boeing, which states on its website: "The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet is the newest highly capable, affordable and available tactical aircraft in US Navy inventory.

"The Super Hornet is the backbone of the US Navy carrier air wing now and for decades to come."

The F-18 jet features in the Top Gun sequel, although Cruise himself wasn't permitted to fly the aircraft and the scenes were filmed with the assistance of Navy pilots.

A US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter aircraft.

As reported by Mail Online, the crash is the third to have occurred in the last three years during Navy training exercises.

Last October, a F/A-18F Navy Super Hornet crashed in Death Valley and in 2020, a pilot crashed a F/A-18E in China Lake, with both incidents leading to injuries.

While neither of these accidents were fatal, a pilot was killed in 2019 when their Super Hornet crashed in Death Valley National Park, also injuring seven park visitors who were hit by plane debris.

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Featured Image Credit: US Navy/Alamy

Topics: Military, US News