Read More: Popular Mechanics
The U.S. Air Force has refused to reveal the aircraft involved in a crash last week that claimed the life of the pilot. The incident, which took place at a training facility in Nevada, has sparked speculation that some kind of previously unknown aircraft was involved. The incident took place on Tuesday, September 5. Unusually, the Air Force waited about three days to make the crash public. Consider two other crashes the service reported last week, one involving two A-10 Thunderbolt fighters and the other an Iraqi Air Force officer flying an F-16. In both cases the incident was reported the next day. The more cryptic accident took place on the Nevada Test and Training Range, about 100 miles northwest of Nellis Air Force Base. The NTTR bills itself as the "the largest contiguous air and ground space available for peacetime military operations in the free world", with 2.9 million acres of land and 12,000 square miles of airspace to test equipment and train U.S. military forces. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Eric Schultz, 44, died from injuries sustained in the crash. Schultz, who had been denied entry into the pilot training program three times due to poor eyesight, went into academia, where he earned six degrees including a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Caltech and an MBA from Penn State. Later, he was a senior scientist and business development manager at engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, and a rotary wing test engineer at the Naval Air Warfare Center. After receiving corrective eye surgery, Schultz immediately joined the Air Force and became a fighter pilot. He had more than 2,000 flight hours in a variety of aircraft, including the F-15E Strike Eagle (which he flew on 50 close air support missions over Afghanistan) and Canadian CF-18 Hornet. Schultz was the 28th pilot to fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.