Test Pilot Killed in F-22 Crash
Lockheed Martin test pilot David Cooley, 49, was killed in the March 25 crash of an F-22 stealth fighter about 35 miles northeast of Edwards AFB, Calif., where the aircraft was assigned for test purposes. The Air Force initially released news of the crash that afternoon, and, a few hours later, Lockheed and USAF released news of Cooley's death. According to the company statement, the 21-year Air Force veteran had joined Lockheed in 2003, working at the F-22 Combined Test Force at Edwards, where USAF and company pilots conduct Raptor testing. Maj. Gen. David Eichhorn, commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center which oversees the CTF, said in a USAF release, "This is a very difficult day for Edwards and those who knew and respected Dave as a warrior, test pilot, and friend." Lockheed officials said they "were deeply saddened by the loss of David and our concerns, thoughts, and prayers at this time are with his family." The Air Force is conducting an investigation into the accident, which is the second involving the new F-22 stealth fighter. The first crash, which was at Nellis AFB, Nev., occurred during the 2004 test and evaluation phase; the pilot ejected safely.