Navy F-18 Hornet Crash Is Third This Year

ABC News' Mark Greenblatt reports:

NEW YORK - Friday's crash involving an F-18 Hornet fighter jet in Virginia Beach is the third crash involving the aircraft so far in 2012 and adds to a growing list of other problems and mishaps the military has faced with the aircraft.

An F-18 crashed Feb. 26 in Bahrain, just two days after another F-18 went down during a training flight in Nevada.

Before that, in August 2011, the Navy suffered two more major incidents involving the aircraft. Both are thought to have involved problems with the jets' airflow systems and resulted in emergency landings.

In 2008, the U.S. government was ordered to pay $17.8 million to the survivors of  four people who were killed after an F-18 crashed into their San Diego-area home.

Much like Friday's crash, the 2008 incident also happened in a residential neighborhood. A Marine Corps investigation blamed that crash on a mechanical failure related to the plane's engine and fuel system as well as human errors.

It was no the first time residents near the San Diego air station had seen an F-18 fall from the sky. In 2006, a pilot ejected shortly before his Hornet crashed and burst into flames in the middle of the afternoon. The crash took place in an open field less than a mile from a large housing development near the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station - the same Air Station featured in the movie "Top Gun."

The F-18 Hornet is a supersonic, twin engine, all weather, night fighter and attack aircraft and can be refueled in flight. It can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the facts surrounding the crash in which a plane went down on a home in the San Diego area. This was an error inserted during the editing process and has been corrected.

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