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News Briefs II

The Washington Post

Two single-seat military jets crashed in separate incidents Thursday, one off Maryland's Atlantic coast and the other on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Both pilots were missing as of early evening.

In the first incident, a Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet plummeted into the sea about 36 miles southeast of Ocean City, Md., about 10 a.m. The attack jet, attached to a reserve unit at Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington, was on a training mission, according to a Marine spokesman.

In the second incident, an Air National Guard A-10 plane crashed about 1:25 p.m. in a marshy area of Fishing Bay, a Dorchester County, Md., inlet of the Chesapeake Bay.

The two-engine anti-tank jet, also known as a Warthog, was flying from Willow Grove Air Reserve Base near Philadelphia on a maintenance test flight after repairs, according to Fred Walters, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

Near Ocean City, a fishing boat captain who said he was about five miles away from the crash recalled that he saw no impact or explosion, just "a huge wall of water" after the plane plunged into the ocean.

The captain, Eddie Berger of the boat "Fish Tales," said he then looked up and saw another plane flying away. A Marine Corps spokesman confirmed that other jets also were training in the area.

FAA Proposes Safety Changes In Boeing 737 Fleet

The Washington Post

The Federal Aviation Administration Thursday proposed changes in the flight-control systems of Boeing 737s, the world's most numerous airliner.

The changes grew out of an in-depth "critical design review" of the systems following the crash of USAir Flight 427 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 8, 1994, which killed 132 people. That crash, as well as the crash of United Airlines Flight 585 at Colorado Springs on March 31, 1991, which killed 25 people, are still unexplained.

A sudden full deflection of the rudder is suspected as one of the causes of the USAir crash. The rudder, a panel at the rear of the vertical stabilizer, assists in keeping the aircraft stable and sometimes is used to assist in turns.

Tom McSweeney, director of aircraft certification service for the FAA, said the special design review found the 737 in full compliance with FAA requirements and discovered nothing that could have contributed to the Pittsburgh or Colorado Springs crashes.