Two pilots with the Spanish Air Force died today when the plane they were flying crashed on a piece of open land near the town of Meco, just a kilometre away from the Alcalá-Meco barracks (Madrid). The Ministry of Defence will not identify the pilots until members of their family have been informed.
The aircraft, a model C-101 crashed at around 10.45 hours for reasons as yet unknown. Emergency services rushed to the scene, to help the two pilots- an instructor and his student.
Although it had been hoped that they had been able to eject before the crash, their deaths were confirmed at 12.00 hours and the area was cordoned off by the Meco local police, the Guardia Civil and the Military Police pending an investigation.
According to eye witnesses, the plane's crash was followed by a loud explosion. The charred bodies of the two pilots were found inside the plane's cockpit.
The instructor and his student were carrying out a practice flight from San Javier in Murcia, where the Patrulla Aguila aerobatic team has its base.
The C-101 Avionjet (nicknamed 'Blackbird' and also known as the E-25) is a two-seater training jet made entirely in Spain for the country's Air Force, which wanted a light attack aircraft for use for training flights. It first took to the skies in 1979.
The Ministry of Defence considers it to be a model with ideal aerodynamic characteristics, highly reliable, easy to fly, and with low operating costs. For that reason, it is also used by the Patrulla Águila, and is highly recognisable for the red and yellow colours on its nose, wings and tail.
It is the training aeroplane used by the Spanish Air Force, and Prince Felipe also flew one as part of his training. It is 12.25 metres long, 4.25m high, has a wingspan of 10.6m and is capable of reaching speeds of 734 km per hour.