On May 8, 1989 two US Navy Hornets, the F/A-18A #162399 (Vandy 20) and F/A-18C #163704 (Vandy 11) from Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-4 Point Mugu Naval Air Station mid-aired at 21,700 feet MSL over the Owens Valley during air combat maneuvers. The F/A-18C sustained damage to the aft underside and nozzle area but was able to fly 45 miles south before the pilot Lt. Kenneth T. Houck ejected safely leaving his Hornet to impact into the sand dunes east of Olancha. The flight path makes it appear that he was attempting to make it to China Lake Naval Weapons Center, but wasn't able to. The F/A-18A received heavy damage to the nose section and dove into the Inyo Mountains northeast of Independence killing the pilot Lt. Cdr. John T. Ellis from the Royal Navy.