Former Area 51 commander dies in crash

Message posted by Peter Merlin on October 07, 2008 at 17:41:23 PST:

Col. Gregory R. "Crash" Jaspers (USAF, Retired) died Sunday, October 5, 2008, in the crash of a Thunder Mustang while preparing to land at Reno, Nevada. Following a landing gear malfunction, Jaspers sideslipped the aircraft at pattern altitude in an apparent attempt to dislodge the stuck gear. The Thunder Mustang, a homebuilt replica of the P-51, suddenly snap-rolled and spun in. Jaspers was killed instantly.

Jaspers graduated from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School in 1990. On July 11, 1997, he assumed command of the 410th Flight Test Squadron at AF Plant 42, Palmdale, Calif., where tested the F-117A Nighthawk until July 31, 1999. He served as Operations Group commander at Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center (DET 3, AFFTC), at Groom Lake, Nevada, from April 2002 to March 2004. He was then promoted to wing commander at DET 3 where he served until July 2006. He retired from the Air Force a few months later and took a position with Denmar Technical Services, Inc., a Reno-based company that provides radar measurement systems and services.

Jaspers was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and flew a Cassutt IIIM in the Formula One Class of the 2008 Reno Air Races. He served on the Board of Directors for both the Flight Test Historical Foundation at Edwards, Calif., and the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.


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