An ATAC MK-58 Hawker Hunter prepares to take off aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort June 27. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ashley Phillips.
Airborne Tactical Advantage Company’s pilot, Matthew Pothier, is expected to fully recover from injuries obtained when his Hawker Hunter aircraft crashed Wednesday off the coast of Hawaii, company officials said.
“Matt suffered ejection-related injuries and was taken to a local hospital in Honolulu. We are encouraged by his condition and spirits, and he should be released within two to three days,” John Zentner, ATAC’s director of business development, told Air Force Magazine on Friday afternoon.
Pothier was flying in support of Exercise Sentry Aloha, which is hosted by the Air National Guard and the 154th Fighter Wing, when an in-flight emergency forced him to eject shortly after takeoff. Videos posted on social media show the aircraft, which has been in service with ATAC in support of the Defense Department for more than 15 years, crashed into the waters about five miles off the coast.
“ATAC cannot speculate on the cause of the accident at this time. We are fully cooperating with authorities to investigate the incident and cannot further comment on the cause until the investigation is complete,” said Zentner.
ATAC, a Textron Airborne Solutions company, was founded in 1994 and has been flying contract adversary air for the Defense Department—mostly the US Navy—since 1996. It is one of the companies that bid on the Air Force’s massive adversary air and joint terminal attack controller training contract, which could be awarded as early as February.
“The aircraft are maintained by exceptional aircraft technicians whose dedication is reflected in ATAC receiving the FAA’s prestigious Aviation Maintenance Technician Diamond Award for the past five years,” said Zentner. “In addition, ATAC aircraft are inspected for airworthiness by the US DOD on a routine basis and have been deemed safe for flight.”
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Memorial Day is a time to remember all those who died fighting for their country, just like A1C William Pitsenbarger, an Air Force pararescueman who took part in more than 250 rescue missions before he was killed at the age of 21. His selflessness and valor in the Vietnam War earned him an Air Force Cross and, eventually, a Medal of Honor.
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