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Wed, Oct 31, 2007

Japanese F-2B Fighter Down On Takeoff In Nagoya

Pilots Able To Escape Burning Plane

A Japanese F-2B fighter jet crashed on takeoff Wednesday from Nagoya Airport, destroying the aircraft and leaving its two pilots with minor injuries.

The fighter was departing for a pre-delivery test flight when it suddenly tipped downward, skidding along the ground, The Associated Press reports. National television station NHK showed footage of the pilots jumping out of the burning aircraft.

The aircraft was to be delivered to the Japan Air Self Defense Force, according to Hideo Ikuno, a spokesman for the PR firm representing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the aircraft's manfacturer. Both pilots were employees of MHI.

The post-impact fire was extinguished within 10 minuted of the accident, Ikuno said, and the two pilots were transported to an area hospital.

The F-2B is based heavily on Lockheed Martin's F-16.

FMI: www.mod.go.jp/asdf/en/index.html

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