At 0914 Pacific time, the single-seat fighter, operated under contract to the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command as a civil public aircraft, crashed upon landing. The solo pilot aboard was killed and the airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces and fire. The flight was attempting to return following an adversary training mission.
The pilot initiated two ground control approaches to Naval Air Station Fallon and then attempted to divert to Reno, but was unable to land there as the field was reporting below minimum weather conditions. The pilot then turned back toward Fallon and stated he was in a critical fuel state. The pilot descended and maneuvered first toward Runway 31, then toward Runway 13. The airplane struck the ground in an open field in the northwest corner of the airport property and impacted a concrete building. Weather at the time of the accident was reported as snowing with northerly winds of 23 knots gusting to 34 knots and visibility between one-half and one and one-half miles.