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PALMDALE : Experimental Aircraft Crashes; Pilot Ejects Safely

A NASA X-31 experimental aircraft crashed in the desert north of Edwards Air Force Base on Thursday, but the pilot ejected safely and was alive, a spokeswoman said.

The plane went down about 2:40 p.m. in an unpopulated area in Kern County, said Maj. Janet Reese, of the base’s public affairs office.

The pilot’s exact condition and identity were unknown, she said, but he was up and walking when found by rescuers. He was taken to the hospital for a precautionary examination, Reese said.

The X-31, based out of NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center on the base, is an experimental airplane developed by Rockwell at its aerospace facility in Palmdale, according to a NASA fact sheet on the aircraft.

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