Chief Sara Muir, deputy public affairs officer for the Coast Guard’s District 14, said the first third of the single-seat jet including a portion of the cockpit “was pretty much destroyed on impact.”
The second third, with the rest of the cockpit and wings, was loosely attached.
“When they lassoed that tail section and began to bring it up, that piece came away,” Muir said.
But the tail section, with the engine and computerized flight information, is what the National Transportation Safety Board needs as it investigates a loss of power after the jet took off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, she said.
The tail section was being trucked to the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps base for examination when the partial government shutdown ends.
The contracted vintage jet, operated by the Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., was participating as adversary or “red air” during the Hawaii Air National Guard’s Sentry Aloha exercise when pilot Matt Pothier experienced trouble and said he looked for a clear location at sea to ditch the aircraft.