WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– As search and rescue teams continue to look for the missing pilot, 22News went to Barnes Air National Guard in Westfield to find out more about the jet the pilot was flying at the time of the crash.
The 104th fighter wing are ready at a moment’s notice to protect the skies from the Canadian -U.S. border down to Washington D.C.
One kind of jet they use is this single-seater F15C eagle, the same jet that crash in Virginia on Wednesday. Some of those jets were built back in the 1980’s.
While these jets are maintained daily they still have the same air frame as when they were originally build, but that doesn’t concern one Westfield resident.
“Because they wouldn’t fly them if they didn’t think they were safe. And it’s just like a car, I mean cars break all the time, on day it starts up and runs fine the next day it starts up and something’s wrong with it,” Cheryl Thivierge, from Wesfield, said.
Major Matthew Mutti of the 104th fighter wing told 22news they frequently test those original air frames to make sure they can hold up at the high rates of speed upwards of 400 miles per hour and at altitudes as high as 30,000 to 40,000 feet up.
Mutti also said most of the operating systems and internal components of the jets have been modernized throughout the years to meet today’s needs and threats.
“The F15’s we are flying today have new engines, Pratt and Whitney 220 engines, that have more thrust and more reliability that the older version that it was originally built with,” Major Mutti said.
Mutti also said that censors and communication systems on board have also been updated since the jets were first built.