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2 pilots eject from F-15 fighter jet on runway in Illinois

F-15QA1 and F-15QA2 fighter jet designed for Qatar Emiri Air Force. (Boeing/Released)
May 18, 2021

Two U.S. pilots ejected from an F-15QA fighter jet on the runway of MidAmerica St. Louis airport in Mascoutah, Ill. on Tuesday morning.

“An F-15QA, recently accepted by the Air Force from the Boeing Corporation, departed the runway today at Mid America Airport, Ill. Two U.S. active duty pilots who were on board ejected safely and received minor injuries. The aircraft was slated to be transferred to the Qatari Air Force through the Foreign Military Sales Program. The incident is currently under investigation,” Scott Air Force Base told American Military News in a statement.

A dispatcher had previously confirmed to St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the two pilots ejected while the plane was on the ground, and one of the pilots suffered injuries.

It’s not yet clear what kind of problem the plane encountered.

Video from local news outlets showed the fighter jet on the runway and surrounded by emergency crews.

Scott Air Force Base had announced in February that the new Qatar-bound F-15QA would be operating out of MidAmerica airport while Air Force personnel trained Qatari pilots.

“Formal training and instruction will be given to the pilots of this new aircraft over the next several months–supported by Scott’s OSS team!” the base said in a Feb. 23 tweet.

In November, Boeing announced it had three contracts worth more than $800 million with the U.S. Air Force to train and support the Qatar Emiri Air Force for its new F-15QA fighter jets.

“The QEAF will send pilots and weapon system operators to the U.S., where the aircrews will learn how to independently operate the F-15QA ahead of receiving their new aircraft. Training will include in-person instruction, simulation events and flying operations and will be held near Boeing’s F-15 production facility in the U.S. through mid-2021,” Boeing’s statement said.

Boeing said it would begin delivering 36 F-15QA fighter jets to Qatar in 2021.