Capt. Alberto N. Bencosme was piloting the AV-8B Harrier on a training mission Monday when he crashed about a mile short of the runway at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
Marine officials say Bencosme was instructed back to base shortly after takeoff by a cockpit caution light that came on, indicating that aircraft canopy latches may not have been secured.
No one else was injured when the plane went down in an unpopulated area.
Bencosme was a member of Marine Attack Training Squadron 203, based at Cherry Point. Officials say the cause of the crash is still under investigation.