It was just before 9:45 AM when Mike Smith looked up from his tractor in a Knox County farm field. Something caught his eye that normally doesnt. "Theyre everywhere, you get used to em," Smith said of the military aircraft often seen zooming overhead. Smith farms on land situated directly below one of the busiest MOAs, or Military Operations Area, in the country. Known as the Red Hills MOA, its air space that stretches over southern Indiana and Illinois. Red Hills is used frequently by Air National Guard jets as they practice air to air combat maneuvers. Wednesday, the busy traffic pattern got a little too close for comfort for Mike Smith. He watched as a $50 million fighter came screaming over a near by tree line, then crashed about a mile away. The plane came from the west, took a sharp bank only a few hundred feet off the ground, then the pilot bailed out. "It didnt sound like engine problems, he wasnt moving very fast. It was almost like he couldnt correct himself. Right before he crashed, his nose went up, down, dove... he didnt have much time to think," said Smith. Smith and fellow witness Tom Hess say the pilot may have bailed out to avoid hitting high tension power lines that were fast approaching. They jumped in their truck and rushed to the crash site, where they found the Missouri Air National Guard pilot walking towards them. When they asked if he was feeling alright, Smith says he told them, "The way my days going, pretty good." Smith says the pilot borrowed his cell phone to call for help. Knox County authorities say he was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, then taken back to his base in St. Louis, Missouri. The investigation into the cause of the crash could take weeks or months. Military officials arrived at the crash site late Wednesday afternoon. They say the fighter was practicing air combat maneuvers with three other jets at the time of the crash.