The pilot, who escaped with minor injuries, reported mechanical trouble during the training mission in the plane, which was built in 1986 or 1987, Air National Guard Brigadier General George Degnon said. There were no injuries on the ground or damage to buildings.
Degnon said the District of Columbia Air National Guard plane was training with three other National Guard aircraft when the pilot experienced trouble shortly after takeoff and turned around.
The plane went down about 9:15 a.m. (1315 GMT) some 12 miles (19 km) south of the U.S. capital after the pilot realized he could not land safely, Degnon told a news conference at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, where the aircraft had taken off.
"He made the decision to manoeuvre to a wooded area to avoid the risk to the local community and ensure public safety before initiating ejection," Degnon said.
Local television showed video images of the pilot drifting to a field under a parachute while a cloud of black smoke rose from the burning plane. Firefighters were called to put out the blaze.
A witness, Kent Roberson, told Washington's NBC television affiliate that he heard a loud boom when the plane went down. "Like how a large tree falls and shakes the ground," he said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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