Growler, Super Hornet operations suspended after incident

COUPEVILLE — North Olympic Peninsula residents were given a reprieve from jet noise this weekend after all FA-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler operations were suspended Friday following injuries of an aircrew.

Both members of the aircrew of an EA-18G assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 132 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island sustained injuries during an unspecified incident on the flight deck at 11 a.m.

Navy officials did not say what happened.

Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, a spokeswoman for Naval Air Forces, told the Navy Times on Saturday the aircrew consisted of the pilot and electronic warfare officer. Their conditions were unknown Saturday.

The two members were transported by a Navy Search and Rescue helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for evaluation, according to Navy officials.

The ground emergency involved the jet’s canopy, and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident, said Mike Welding, a Navy spokesperson, via email.

As a result of the incident, the Navy temporarily suspended flight operations for all FA-18 and EA-18 as a safety precaution since they share common aircraft systems. Exceptions are being made on a case-by- case basis dependent upon operational requirements.

The operational pause will allow both Naval Air Systems Command and Boeing engineers time to investigate the incident, officials said.

Information about when the flight restrictions will be lifted was unavailable Saturday.

If they remain in effect throughout the week, the flight restrictions will delay planned carrier landing practice operations at an outlying field of the air station, which were scheduled to take place Monday through Thursday, Welding said.

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Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected].

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