By Ron Newberry
WHIDBEY ISLAND — The Navy lifted a temporary suspension of flight operations for E/A-18G Growlers Tuesday morning following an investigation into Friday’s mishap that injured two aircrew at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
A Growler accident on the flight line that resulted in injuries to the pilot and Electronic Warfare Officer with Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ-132 and damaged the aircraft caused safety concerns that necessitated an operational pause for all Growlers and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, which share common aircraft systems, according to a Navy release.
Naval Air Systems Command and Boeing engineers investigated and identified several factors that likely contributed to the ground mishap, according to the release. Naval Air Forces directed mitigation measures be implemented across the F-18 fleet. Once individual squadrons have incorporated the measures, they may resume flight operations, the release said.
For privacy reasons, the Navy isn’t planning to release a medical update on the aircrew, said Lt. Leslie Hubbell, assistant public affairs officer for Commander Naval Air Forces based at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.
The aircrew was transported by NAS Whidbey Search and Rescue helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Friday. KOMO had reported Friday that they were critically injured.
“As far as we know, they’re still in the hospital at this point,” Hubbell said Monday.