An Air Force T-38 Talon jet from Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, made an emergency landing in Oklahoma during a training flight Monday, the service confirmed.
Two American aviators who were onboard the training jet weren’t hurt, and the aircraft isn’t damaged, Sheppard spokesperson George Woodward told Air Force Times. It landed at the Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport, about 50 miles north of Sheppard.
It was a routine, procedural landing that’s common in training missions, Woodward said. The jet didn’t crash, he added, comparing the event to a car’s “check engine” light turning on. The Lawton Fire Department did not provide further details when contacted.
The T-38 was participating in the base’s Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, which often flies over Oklahoma. The 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard runs the training program, a 55-week initiative where foreign airmen can earn U.S. pilots’ wings as well as those of their home country and are rated as a pilot.
A second aircraft that was paired with the first jet for training also arrived at the airport, Woodward added.
“About half of our training ranges are in Oklahoma,” he said. “We use the Fort Sill range for Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, and typically those training sorties are two-ship operations.”
The Air Force will investigate the cause of the emergency landing.
Sheppard hosts several training programs spanning aircraft operations, maintenance, weapons management and more. Its Euro-NATO jet pilot school has graduated more than 7,500 combat pilots for 14 NATO allies in the past 40 years, and is the only fighter pilot training source for Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.
Multiple emergencies have recently shaken the T-38 enterprise. Four people have died in T-38 accidents in the past year and a half, including one incident in November 2019 at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, and another on Feb. 19 at the Alabama Air National Guard’s Dannelly Field.
An Air Force pilot in California also crashed a Talon jet earlier this year when the plane’s landing gear was raised too early during takeoff. Neither the pilot nor their instructor were hurt.
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.