At approximately 0700 EST, reports began to emerge of a crash during an air exhibition practice at Zaragoza Air Base in Spain. By 0800 EST, reports confirmed that a Spanish EF-18 had crashed and the pilot had safely ejected.
Se ha estrellado un caza en la base aérea de Zaragoza. El piloto ha podido eyectarse antes de la colisión. Desconocemos su estado. Esperamos que no haya víctimas #Zaragoza pic.twitter.com/yvNcovcIwO
— Zaragoza Denuncia (@ZGZDenuncia) May 20, 2023
By 0800 EST, the Spanish Air Force had also confirmed that the pilot was being treated for leg injuries and other non-life threatening trauma. The aircraft belonged to Wing 15 (ALA 15) the “NATO Tigers”. According to their website:
“The 15th Wing (Ala 15) Was created on December 16, 1985. The Wing’s Tiger However dates back to September 1956, with the formation of the 2nd Fighter wing, flying the F86-F Sabrejet.
In July 1986 the first four EF-18 Hornets arrived with a direct flight from the USA. And the new 15th Wing became airborne. With from 1995 onwards 2 Fighter Squadrons and 1 Operational Conversion Squadron under it’s command.
Ala 15, together with Ala 12, had the honors to perform the longest Spanish Air Force deployment, from 1994 until 1999 the SpAF participated in the international Operations following the conflict in the former Yugoslav Republic, locally called operation ‘ICARO’. Ala 15 Hornets perform a wide variety of tasks, including Air To Air, Air To Ground and SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) missions.
The wing participated in a NATO Tiger Meet for the first time in 2006, hosted by that other SpAF Tiger Unit 142 Squadron from Albacete. During Ocean Tiger 2008 (NTM-2008) they where awarded Full NTA Membership status.”
The Spanish Air Force maintains around 80 EF-18s.