Information on aircraft gives the type, and if available, the serial number of the operator in italics, the constructors number, also known as the manufacturer's serial number (c/n), exterior codes in apostrophes, nicknames (if any) in quotation marks, flight callsign in italics, and operating units.
Lockheed U-2C, 56-6714, Article 381, 21st airframe of first USAF order, delivered August 1957, to 4080th SRW, Laughlin AFB, Texas, as a 'hard nose' sampling aircraft; transferred to the Central Intelligence Agency and converted to U-2G in mid-1965; transferred to Strategic Air Command; flyable storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, 1969. Returned to U-2C configuration for Advanced Location and Strike System (ALSS) project, 1972; damaged 2 May 1974 on landing at Davis-Monthan AFB, repaired. Written off after crash on 31 January 1980, Capt. Edward Beaumont surviving. Pilot suffered catatonic seizure, and, amazingly, descended to make uncontrolled landing in cow pasture near Oroville, California, even clipping power lines just before touchdown. Cessna T-37 Tweet trainer, flying locally, had rendezvoused with U-2 and two crew could see pilot unconscious in the cockpit. After landing, pilot revived sufficiently to shut down engine, but then, as he climbed out of the aircraft, accidentally caught the D ring of his ejection seat, which he had not safed, which fired, tossing him in a somersault, but suffered only a chipped tooth. Airframe repaired for display at 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing headquarters, Beale AFB, California. Pilot removed from U-2 program on medical grounds.
A contingent of American military aircraft embark on a commando raid to rescue a group of American hostages held by Iran. An unexpected sandstorm forces 2 USMCSikorsky RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters to divert before reaching the first rendezvous point in the Great Salt Desert of Eastern Iran, near Tabas, and causes serious mechanical damage to a third, prompting commanders to abort the mission. While attempting to evacuate personnel and equipment that had already arrived at the rendezvous point, the pilot of another Sea Stallion, BuNo 158761, due to loss of visual references while hovering in a dustcloud collides with a USAFLockheed EC-130E Hercules, 62-1809, c/n 3770, of the 7th ACCS, killing five USAF aircrew aboard the C-130, and three USMC aircrew in the RH-53, shrapnel from the collision damaging other helicopters. Five other RH-53Ds had to be abandoned at the site after the raid force commander (Col Charles Beckwith) ordered all participants to get on board the remaining C-130s or be left behind, despite classified documents that the helicopter crews were attempting to destroy. These were BuNos. 158686, 158744, 158750, 158753 and 158758. At least one airframe was assembled from the abandoned helicopters, to join six RH-53Ds supplied by the United States to the Iranian Navy in 1978.
Lockheed U-2R, 68-10333, Article 055, fifth airframe of the first R-model order, first flown 8 May 1968, registered N812X, delivered to the CIA on 28 May 1968. To 100th SRW, mid-1974, to 9th SRW, 1976. Damaged at Akrotiri, Cyprus, this date. Repaired.
First prototype Rockwell HiMAT (highly manoeverable advanced technology) remotely piloted research vehicle (RPV) is damaged on its fifth flight when the landing skids break away during touchdown on the dry lakebed at Edwards AFB, California. Repairs are made and flight testing resumes 28 October 1980.
A seven-year-old boy is killed and several others are injured when he manages to fire an ejection seat in Lockheed S-3A Viking, BuNo 159769, c/n 394A-1098, of VS-24, at NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania during an open house.
While performing routine maintenance in a LGM-25C Titan II silo at Damascus, Arkansas, a repairman dropped a heavy socket wrench, which rolled off of a work platform, bounced, and struck the missile, 62-0006, holing a pressurized fuel tank. The launch complex was evacuated and a specialist team called in from Little Rock Air Force Base. Approximately 8½ hours after the initial puncture, fuel vapours exploded, fatally injuring one team member and injuring 21 others. The missile re-entry vehicle, which contained a nuclear warhead, was recovered intact. There was no radioactive contamination.
Fifth prototype Mikoyan MiG-29, 'samolet 908', which first flew on 5 April 1979 is utilized for powerplant testing after the loss of the third prototype. It, too, is lost when, on its 48th flight on this date, a combustion chamber fails and the resulting fire burns through control runs. Aircraft dives into the ground. A. V. Fedotov ejects while the aircraft is pulling negative G and receives a spinal injury that keeps him in hospital for several months.
An military Ka-27 helicopter on a ferry flight from the manufacturer runs out of fuel and crash lands on a busy intersection in the city of Kazan, damaging a tram. In the Post-Soviet states the crash is known as The Collapse of the Kamov-27 in Kazan. While no one was killed in the crash, rumors circulated in the Soviet Union that supposedly numerous people in the tram had been killed by the rotor blades and that the Soviet government would want to hide the alleged disaster.
A U.S. Navy pilot ejects from stricken Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk, BuNo. 154626, 'JH', of VC-10, on flight from NAS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after engine failure and fire, spends 30 hours in the water before rescue shortly after midnight on Wednesday, 31 December, from the Atlantic ~45 miles S of Bahamian island of Mayaguana by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. Two Skyhawks departed Gitmo on routine training mission at 1500 hrs. on Monday, second pilot sees pilot Cmdr. Frank Riordan successfully eject from burning fighter with a good canopy ~240 miles NE of Guantanamo. Observer aboard U.S. NavyP-3 Orion out of NAS Jacksonville, Florida, spots strobelight on pilot's life jacket on Tuesday night, 28 December. Riordan recovered in good condition "except for a slight case of exposure", said a Coast Guard spokesman in Miami, Florida.
View of the flight deck of USS Nimitz (CVN-68) after the crash of the EA-6B.
Grumman EA-6B Prowler, BuNo 159910, of VMAQ-2 Detachment Y, crash landed on flight deck of USS Nimitz, off the Florida coast, killing 14 crewmen and injuring 45 others (some reports say 42, some 48). The crash was the result of the aircraft missing the last arresting cable, while ignoring a wave-off command. Two Grumman F-14 Tomcats struck and destroyed (BuNos. 161138 and 160385), 3 F-14s, 9 LTV A-7 Corsair IIs, 3 S-3A Vikings, 1 Grumman A-6 Intruder and 1 SH-3 Sea King damaged. Forensic testing conducted found that several members of the deceased flight deck crew tested positive for marijuana (the officers on board the aircraft were never tested, claimed one report). The responsibility for the accident was placed on the deck crew. The official naval inquiry stated that the accident was the result of drug abuse by the enlisted crewmen of the Nimitz, despite the fact that every death occurred during the impact of the crash, none of the enlisted deck crew were involved with the operation of the aircraft, and not one member of the deck crew was killed fighting the fire. As a result of this incident, President Ronald Reagan instituted a "Zero Tolerance" policy across all of the armed services—which started the mandatory drug testing of all US service personnel. In another report, however, the Navy stated that pilot error, possibly caused by an excessive dosage of brompheniramine, a cold medicine, in the blood of pilot Marine 1st Lt. Steve E. White, of Houston, Texas, "may have degraded the mental and physical skills required for night landings." The report described brompheniramine as "a common antihistamine decongestant cold medicine ingredient." "Last October , Rep. Joseph P. Addabbo, (D-N.Y.) said that an autopsy conducted on the pilot's body disclosed up to 11 times the recommended dosage of a cold remedy in his system." This report seems to bely the above account that no testing was done on the flight crew.
The Bell X-14B, NASA N704NA, originally USAF 56-0422, upgraded from the A-configuration with an onboard computer and digital fly-by-wire control system installed to enable emulation of landing characteristics of other VTOL aircraft, and used in this test role, is damaged beyond repair in a landing accident this date. Airframe was saved from being scrapped and is now under restoration at the Ropkey Armor Museum, Crawfordsville, Indiana.
During a NAVAIR weapons release test over the Chesapeake Bay, a McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18A-3-MC Hornet, BuNo 160782, c/n 8, out of NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, drops a vertical ejector bomb rack with an inert Mk. 82 bomb from the port wing, which shears off the outer starboard wing of Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk camera chase plane, BuNo 156896, c/n 13989, which catches fire as it begins an uncontrolled spin. Two crew successfully eject before the Skyhawk impacts in the bay, the whole sequence caught on film from a second chase aircraft. Video of this accident is widely available on the web.
A United States Navy Grumman EA-6B Prowler, BuNo 159582, 'AC-604', of VAQ-138, from NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, crashes at 0850 hrs. in a rural field near Virginia Beach, Virginia, killing three crew. Wreckage sprayed onto nearby houses, a barn and a stable with 35 horses, but no fires were sparked and there were no ground injuries. The Prowler had departed NAS Norfolk with three other aircraft at 0832 hrs., bound for the USS John F. Kennedy, off the Virginia coast before crashing three miles from NAS Oceana. Navy officials said they did not know if the pilot was trying for Oceana.
United States Navy Grumman F-14 Tomcat, BuNo 159623, NG-205, of US Navy Fighter Squadron 24 VF-24 is lost during a carrier landing mishap aboard USS Constellation, deployed in the Indian Ocean. Aircraft caught the #4 arresting cable, which was set for the wrong aircraft weight. Pilot and RIO ejected successfully and were rescued by an SH-3 flown by HS-8 (now HSC-8). The Tomcat sank after floating a few minutes. Video of this mishap is posted on YouTube.
Lt. Colleen A. Cain, the U.S. Coast Guard's first female HH-52 Seaguard helicopter pilot, died in the line of duty when HH-52, CG-1420, on which she was co-pilot, crashed into a mountainside 50 miles E of Honolulu. The pilot, LCdr. H. W. Johnson, and aircrewman AD2 D. L. Thompson, were also killed.
The Diamond Crash, the worst accident in U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Demonstration Team history involving show aircraft, when four Northrop T-38A Talons, Numbers 1-4, 68-8156, -8175, -8176 and -8184, crashed during pre-season training on Range 65 at Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nevada (now Creech Air Force Base). While practicing the four-plane line abreast loop, the formation impacted the ground at high speed, instantly killing all four pilots: Major Norm Lowry, leader, Captain Willie Mays, Captain Pete Peterson and Captain Mark Melancon. The cause of the crash was officially listed by the USAF as the result of a mechanical problem with the #1 aircraft's control stick actuator. During formation flight, the wing and slot pilots visually cue off the #1 lead aircraft, completely disregarding their positions in relation to the ground. The crash of a team support Fairchild C-123 Provider on 10 October 1958 killed 19.
An Eglin Air Force BaseGeneral Dynamics F-16B Block 5 Fighting Falcon, 78-0112, of the 4485th Test Squadron, crashed into a green at Rocky Bayou Country Club, near Niceville, Florida. The pilot had just finished a test bombing run over Eglin's Range 52 and lost power in the engine. The pilot was able to get the aircraft to an altitude of about 3,000 feet and a speed of between 285 mph and 345 mph before the engine gave out. The pilot, and a weapons officer decided to eject, expecting the F-16 to continue north and crash into a wooded area of the Eglin reservation. According to officer in charge of Eglin's safety office, the dual ejection caused the plane to roll to the right and slam into the golf course's sixth green, narrowly missing several homes. The two airmen landed on the 18th green and didn't suffer any major injuries. Air Force investigators were able to later watch the entire crash because a chase plane that had been photographing the test mission caught the crash on film. When F-16 experts recreated the accident they discovered a sequence of control switch moves that would restart an F-16 engine. The procedures were added to F-16 instruction manuals.
Lockheed F-117A, 80-785, crashes on take-off on its first test flight at Groom Lake, Nevada, due to crossed wiring of the yaw controls, coming to rest inverted adjacent to the runway. Lockheed test pilot Bob Ridenhauer survives with serious injuries and retires from test flying. He has to be cut out of the overturned cockpit section. This was the first loss of a production Nighthawk and occurred prior to Air Force acceptance. This was almost exactly the same wiring mistake that caused the loss of a Lockheed A-12 on 28 December 1965.
During the Falklands War, British SAS troops deployed from HMS Antrim, attempt to reconnoitre Fortuna Glacier on South Georgia island in preparation for recapture by UK forces but are hit by bad weather. One Westland Wessex HAS.3 and two Westland Wessex HU.5 helicopters (XT464 and XT473) of 845 Naval Air Squadron attempt a rescue in difficult conditions. After loading the troops, one Wessex 5 crashes on the glacier but all aboard survive. The personnel are then redistributed onto the other two helicopters, whereupon the second Wessex 5 also crashes on lift-off, leaving seventeen stranded on the glacier (thirteen SAS and four helicopter crew). The Wessex 3 navigator Lt. Chris Parry, returning to the glacier as nightfall comes on, loads 17 into a helicopter able to carry 5, returns to the Antrim, which is pitching in a rough sea, and pilot Lt. Cmdr. Ian Stanley crashes the Wessex onto the deck, concluding the rescue of the seventeen stranded men, who would likely have perished had they not been evacuated from the glacier. Pilot Stanley and two other airmen are awarded the DSO for the rescue operation, although the Ministry of Defense suppresses news of the loss of three helicopters.
A USAF Sikorsky HH-53C, 69-5792, (conflict here—second source lists it as 69-5782) from the 1551st CCTW at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, crashed following a descent from a night time refueling mission, four killed.
A United States Air Force F-5B and a F-5F collide over Tucson, Arizona, three crew ejected but one was killed.
A Royal Swedish Air Force Saab Viggen crashed into Mount Hirvasaive, Lappland, pilot killed.
At an airshow in Mannheim, Germany, celebrating the 375th anniversary of that city, a United States ArmyBoeing-Vertol CH-47C Chinook, 74-22292, of the 295th Assault Support Helicopter Company—"Cyclones", located at Coleman Army Airfield, Coleman Barracks, near Mannheim, carrying parachutists crashed, killing 46 people. The crash was later found to be caused by an accumulation of ground walnut shells that had been used to clean the machinery.
A Greek Air Force F-84F exploded over Larissa, three people on the ground killed.
An Indian Air Force Mil Mi-8 crashed in Mizoram province, nine killed.
Shortly after completing a training mission, a USAFBoeing B-52G Stratofortress, 59-4766, suffered hydraulics fire in nose gear, exploded at the end of the runway at Castle AFB, California, but crew of nine escaped before it was fully engulfed. Aircraft commander ordered evacuation as soon as he learned of the wheel fire.
One of two USAFMcDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom IIs of the Michigan Air National Guard sent on a Special Military Instrument Intercept Clearance Mission to intercept a private Beechcraft D-55 Baron, registered N7142N, that strays into restricted ADIZ zone off the North Carolina coast, collides at 1641 hrs. EST in poor visibility with light-twin piloted by Waynesboro, Virginia lawyer Henry H. Tiffany, the jet's port wing slicing through the Baron's fuselage and cabin, killing all seven on board. Although suffering damage to wing's leading edge, and loss of port wing tank assembly, the F-4C returns safely to Seymour-Johnson AFB near Goldsboro, North Carolina. Pentagon report, prepared by the National Guard Bureau of the Army and the Air Force, issued 18 May 1983, notes that Tiffany, 47, en route from vacation in the Bahamas to Norfolk, Virginia, had failed to adhere to his flight plan, and also failed to notify controllers when he entered the restricted air space 20 miles S of MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. Phantom pilot, Capt. John A. Wellers, was found to have closed on the Beechcraft at higher than intended speed while doing radar search and was faulted for failure to maintain 500 foot vertical separation as per instructions. The report notes that the Aerospace Defense Command radar operators at Fort Lee, Virginia, gave Wellers incorrect altitude data about his target, and that personnel at the FAA's flight control center in Leesburg, Virginia and military controllers at Fort Lee "were slow to react or acted improperly in the process of identifying the unknown aircraft." Flamboyant lawyer Tiffany had been imprisoned for two months in 1978 after a plane he was piloting was forced down with engine trouble in Haiti with more than a ton of marijuana on board. U.S. drug authorities said later that Tiffany was implicated in a major Northern Virginia smuggling ring. In fact, on the fatal flight, Tiffany was by-passing his flight plan's required U.S. customs stop in Florida and was attempting a direct flight to Norfolk, said a National Transportation Safety Board report issued 23 August 1983.
Five maintenance airmen are killed and eight injured when a USAF Boeing B-52G-90-BW Stratofortress, 57-6507, c/n 464212, of the 319th Bomb Wing, catches fire due to an overheated fuel pump and explodes at 0930 hrs. on the ramp at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. The Stratofortress was undergoing routine fuel cell maintenance after flying a training mission the previous night.
Shortly after take-off from NAS Jacksonville, Florida, around noon, for a flight to Leeward Point Field at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, the port engine of a Navy Convair C-131F Samaritan, BuNo 141010, c/n 293, caught fire. The pilot radioed that he was returning to the base. As the aircraft was over the St. Johns River, ~1/4 mile from the runway and at ~200 feet altitude, the port wing separated from the aircraft. When the fuselage hit the water, the plane exploded, killing 14 of 15 on board. The sole survivor grabbed onto the first floating object she could reach: her own suitcase.
During air-to-air combat training over the Negev Desert, an Israeli Air ForceMcDonnell-Douglas F-15D ''Baz'', 957, "Markia Schakim" (Hebrew: מרקיע שחקים, "Sky Blazer"), of 106 Squadron, collides with an Douglas A-4N Ayit, 374, at between 13 and 14 thousand feet altitude, causing the attack jet to explode (the pilot, last name Shraga, reportedly successfully ejected), and tearing off the starboard wing of the fighter ~2 feet outboard of the engine nacelle. Pilot Zivi Nedivi goes to afterburner to try to stop spinning aircraft, and unaware of the condition of the jet due to fuel leaks obscuring the extent of the damage, makes a blistering 250-260 knot landing at nearest air base at Ramon, tearing off the arrestor hook and coming to a stop just 20 feet from the runway threshold. Pilot later comments that had he known the true state of the aircraft, he and his weapons operator would have ejected. F-15 is reportedly repaired and returned to service in ~two months.
A U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3B-65-LO Orion, BuNo 152733, c/n 185-5173, of VP-1, makes a wheels-up landing at NAS Barbers Point,Hawaii, due to pilot error, ending a 14-year squadron record of over 101,000 hours of accident-free flying. Airframe struck off charge.
A Canadian Forces Lockheed CF-104 Starfighter, 104813, of 439 Sqn., explodes in mid-air during airshow performance at Rhein-Main Air Base, Frankfurt, Germany, wreckage falling onto parked cars in woods near the airport, setting several afire and killing three adults and two children watching the display, Reuters news service reported. A Canadian Forces spokesman said that the CF-104, flown by Capt. Alan J. Stephenson, 27, was in a formation of five Starfighters, and that he was to do a solo display. He had done two complete circuits and had leveled off for a low-speed fly-past when the plane malfunctioned. He ejected safely. The spokesman said that a board of inquiry has been convened to investigate the cause of the crash.
A Boeing-Vertol UH-46 Sea Knight loses power on lift-off from the deck of Spruance-class destroyerUSS Fife during her first deployment, strikes the NATO Sea Sparrow missile mount, leaving the stricken helicopter hanging over the ship's starboard side. Fife's damage control teams quickly lash the UH-46 in place and all 16 personnel are rescued without serious injury. After pulling into Singapore to crane off the damaged helicopter, the warship sails west to Diego Garcia to receive a new Sea Sparrow mount.
Lockheed U-2R, 68-10333, Article 055, fifth airframe of first R-model order, first flight 8 May 1968, registered N812X; delivered to the CIA, 28 May 1968. To 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing mid-1974. To 9th SRW in 1976. Damaged at Akrotiri, Cyprus, 24 April 1980 - repaired. Crashes this date at Osan Air Base, South Korea, pilot Capt. David Bonsi survives. Aircraft suffers tailpipe failure on climb-out at ~3,000 feet forcing an ejection. This was the first of three such tailpipe-related crashes.
Second prototype Rockwell B-1A Lancer, 74-0159, of the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, California, crashes 22 miles NE of the base, in the desert E of Boron, California, when control is lost during an aft centre of gravity test. The flight commander, Rockwell test pilot Doug A. Benefield, is killed when escape pod parachutes fail to fully deploy, module impacting in a right nose low attitude. The Co-pilot and flight test engineer are badly injured.
The first of three Northrop F-20 Tigersharks, 82-0062, c/n GG1001, N4416T, during a world sales tour, crashes at Suwon Air Base, South Korea, killing Northrop chief test pilot Darrell Cornell. During the last manoeuvre of the final demonstration flight at Suwon, the aircraft stalled at the top of an erratic vertical climb and dove into the ground from 1,800 feet. High-G pilot incapacitation was suspected as the cause, as the investigation found no evidence of airframe failure.
An unarmed USAF Boeing B-52G Stratofortress, 57‑6479, of the 92nd Bomb Wing out of Fairchild AFB, Washington, crashed about 2100 hrs. into a mesa on the Navajo reservation in northeastern Arizona 13 miles NE of Kayenta, during a low-level training flight. Eight crew eject and recovered in a day; one ejects, missing; gunner KWF.
Second of three Northrop F-20 Tigersharks, 82-0063, c/n GG1002, N3986B, during stopover at Goose Bay, Labrador, en route to the Paris Air Show, crashes at 1350 hrs. Atlantic Daylight Time at the end of sixth practice flight of the day, in circumstances much like the loss of the first prototype on 10 October 1984. Hesitating in the inverted position at the top of a series of 9G vertical rolls, airframe dove erratically into the ground, coming down in an upright, wings-level, nose-up attitude on snow-covered ground, killing Northrop test pilot Dave Barnes. Again, G-induced pilot unconsciousness was suspected, investigation finding no sign of airframe failure.
Blue Angels Aircraft 5, BuNo 155029, and 6, BuNo 154992, (Douglas A-4F Skyhawk) collide at the top of a loop at 1532 hrs., Niagara Falls International Airport, New York, during the Western New York Air Show '85, killing Lt. Cmdr. Michael Gershon. Second pilot, Lt. Andy Caputi, ejects safely with only minor injuries. One Skyhawk crashed on airport grounds while the second fighter impacted in a nearby auto junkyard. The demonstration team resumes show duties 20 July at Dayton, Ohio but omits maneuver that resulted in crash, and flies with five planes rather than six.
A USAF LTV A-7D Corsair II, 69‑6198, of the 4450th Tactical Group, lost power, caught fire and crashed into Midwest City, a suburb of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, pilot Maj. Dennis D. Nielson staying with aircraft as he attempted to steer it towards less-populous area before ejecting, but fighter impacted house, killing one, injuring one, one missing, said a United Press International report. Second victim found on 9 August. This unit was secretly operating Lockheed F-117 Nighthawks at this time.
A U.S. Navy Boeing Vertol CH-46D Sea Knight, BuNo 151918, '72', crashed on takeoff due to an engine failure aboard the destroyer USS Fife (DD-991) in the Indian Ocean. The helicopter struck the Sea Sparrow launcher. Quick response of Fife´s damage control team extinguished the fires and secured the helicopter which was hanging from the side of the destroyer below the helicopter deck. All 16 crew and passengers aboard escaped without major injuries. The helicopter was assigned to of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 11 (HC-11) Det. 6 aboard the combat stores ship USS Mars (AFS-1).
A U.S. Navy aviator is killed at Naval Air Station Miramar, California, when, upon landing at 0910 hrs. on a slick runway after a flight from NAS Point Mugu, California, his F/A-18A-15-MC Hornet (Lot 7), BuNo 162435, skids ~5,000 feet down the 12,000 foot runway, then overturns, trapping the pilot underneath the inverted airframe. "A Miramar crash crew worked feverishly for about 30 minutes to free the strapped-in pilot from the cockpit. The crew eventually brought in a crane to lift the front of the jet fighter high enough to pull him out. Despite spilling its fuel, the plane did not burn. The injured pilot was airlifted by Life Flight helicopter to UC San Diego Medical Center, where he died at 10:25 a.m. Officials would not divulge the cause of death." Lt. John Semcken, public affairs spokesman at Miramar, identified the pilot as Capt. Henry M. Kleemann, 42, Commanding Officer of VX-4. Kleemann, who was married and had four children, was one of two Navy pilots assigned to the aircraft carrier Nimitz who shot down two Libyan fighters in the Gulf of Sirte on 19 August 1981, after the Libyans fired at the U.S. planes. Kleemann was stationed at Point Mugu Naval Air Station near Oxnard, Semcken said. Miramar officials said the plane did not deploy a drag chute when it landed, and it appeared that Kleemann was relying solely on the brakes. Navy officials are also trying to determine why the plane's canopy landed several feet away from the aircraft, and if Kleemann could have been trying to eject before the craft rolled over. "All of this is just speculation at this point. We have no real clue as to what could have caused the crash. It's under investigation," Semcken said. He said the plane has computerized landing and takeoff systems and a computerized anti-skidding system. "We're looking at the landing gear and plane's wheels to see what went wrong. The investigators are looking to see if the anti-skidding system failed." Autopsy surgeons determined that the pilot died almost immediately after the crash from a severed spinal cord. Kleemann had nearly 4,000 flight hours, but fewer than 43 in the F/A-18. The Hornet was a nearly new airframe with only 327 flying hours being used in the operational testing of the design. Investigators pinpointed the planing link on the undercarriage whose task is to guide the gear components' complex manoevers during retraction as a probable cause. If damaged during retraction after departing Point Mugu, the link may have caused the starboard wheel to be slightly out of line. As the fighter's weight settled onto the gear leg, the airframe may have swerved so sharply that the pilot was unable to maintain control. Repaired, this airframe is struck off charge on 27 June 2007, and is now displayed at Patriots Point, Charleston, South Carolina.
A McDonnell Douglas F-15C-28-MC Eagle (s/n 80-0037; c/n 0692/C186) from the 57th FIS based at NAS Keflavik, Iceland, crashed into the northern Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern coast of Iceland. The pilot, Capt Steve Nelson, was killed when his aircraft struck the water at high speed after failing to safely complete a "split-S" maneuver during a low-altitude step-down training (LASDT) sortie. The instructor had planned the maneuver based on his own previous experience in training weapons school students at Nellis AFB in comparatively lightweight F-15As; however, the F-15C, with nearly full CFTs, was much heavier and could not physically complete the split-S despite starting the maneuver at 10,000'. The aircraft was never recovered.
The first United States multiple in-flight spaceflight fatalities. The Space Shuttle Challenger, OV-099, is destroyed 73 seconds after lift-off on STS-51-L. Analysis of the accident showed that a faulty O-ring seal had allowed hot gases from the shuttle solid rocket booster (SRB) to weaken the external propellant tank, and also the strut that held the booster to the tank. The tank aft region failed, causing it to begin disintegrating. The SRB strut also failed, causing the SRB to rotate inward and expedite tank breakup. Challenger was thrown sideways into the Mach 1.8 (1,200 mph; 2,000 km/h) windstream causing it to break up in midair with the loss of all seven crew members aboard: Greg Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Michael J. Smith, and Dick Scobee. NASA investigators determined they may have survived during the spacecraft disintegration, while possibly unconscious from hypoxia; at least some of them tried to protect themselves by activating their emergency oxygen. Any survivors of the breakup were killed, however, when the largely intact cockpit hit the water at 200 mph (320 km/h). See Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
A USAFGeneral Dynamics F-16A Block 5 Fighting Falcon, 78-0055, flown by a pilot of the 3247th Test Squadron, 3246th Test Wing, disappears from Eglin Air Force Base's radar tracking screens at 1230 hrs., crashing in the Gulf of Mexico ~30 miles S of Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The body of the pilot, Capt. Lawrence E. Lee, 31, of Kokomo, Indiana, is retrieved from the water by two rescue jumpers from a Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk at 1350 hrs., said Eglin public affairs officer Lt. Col. Bill Campbell. A parachute is found floating nearby. The pilot is thought to have drowned after ejecting from the fighter. "There were no radio transmissions ... nothing to indicate there were any problems", said Campbell. "We found no wreckage, so we can't be sure at this time what caused the crash. I don't know if we'll ever know for sure." Hypothermia may have been a factor in the pilot's death. The Gulf's water temperature averaged between 55 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday. Lee was performing what was to have been the aircraft's last test flight before it was returned to the Tactical Air Command. The F-16 had been modified for use in weapons tests by Eglin's Armament Division, then restored to its original condition. Campbell stated that he expects the Air Force will try to recover the wreckage to examine it for clues into the accident, although he acknowledged that such a crash "doesn't always leave much evidence." Lee is survived by his wife, Maj. Terri Lee, assigned to Eglin's 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing. A memorial service is held at 1 p.m. on 14 February in Eglin Base Chapel No. 2.
A Mil Mi-8 helicopter, dropping lead pellets into the reactor area of the Chernobyl nuclear plant after it exploded on 26 April, suffers main rotor strike against a crane and crashes, killing the four crew.
Capt. Håkan Lundqvist is forced to eject from Saab Draken, 131, of F10 Wing of the Svenska Flygvapnet during an air defence sortie at low level in J2 sector outside the west coast of Sweden when he inadvertently flies through his wingman's vortices and goes into a superstall. Time from ejection until the fighter strikes the water is only 3 to 5 seconds. Pilot, suffering from spinal compression due to the ejection, is rescued by a ferry and then transferred to an F10 Wing helicopter.
US Navy Grumman A-6E Intruder, BuNo 162181, c/n I-674, of VA-65, bound for the USS John F. Kennedy at Puerto Rico, crashes on take-off from NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, at 1105 hrs., killing two crew and one motorist on Oceana Boulevard. Aircraft had no munitions but carried a full fuel load and burst into flame as it came down just outside the station perimeter, killing pilot Lt. James P. Hoban, 26, of River Vale, New Jersey, and bombardier-navigator Lt. Michael F. Wilson, 27, of Medford, New Jersey, as well as Navy wife Tammy Fowler, 25, of Virginia Beach, in the vehicle on Oceana Boulevard. Navy officials said that this was the first Navy plane crash in the area in more than two years. Witnesses reported that the Intruder's tail appeared to be on fire as it came down.
República de MoçambiqueTupolev Tu-134A-3, C9-CAA, c/n 63457, with crew of nine and 35 passengers, crashes on approach at 2121 hrs. to Maputo International Airport (MPM/FQMA), Mozambique, after flight from Mbala Airport (MMQ), Zambia, killing eight crew and 26 passengers, including Mozambique President Samora Machel, who had attended a meeting of African leaders in Zambia. While approaching Maputo, an inadvertent selection of the MATSAPA VOR frequency caused the crew to execute a premature 37-degrees turn. Although the pilot queried the turn, no effort was made to verify it by using the available navigational aids. The aircraft descended below the 3000 feet limit in spite of not having visual contact with Maputo. The crew erroneously assumed a power failure at Maputo. A 32-second GPWS warning was ignored and the aircraft collided with the ground at 2187 feet, bounced and crashed into an uphill slope. The aircraft broke up, slid across the South African/Swaziland border and caught fire.
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk crashed in desert near Fallon, Nevada, during a dog fight. Aileron on wing bent, began to spin plane uncontrollably. Patrick Paris survived with a scratch on his nose, picked up by helicopter later that day. Had been assumed dead on impact until wingman saw movement on ground 6 miles from wreckage.
A U.S. NavyGrumman F-14A-70-GR Tomcat, BuNo 162707, of VF-74 out of NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, operating from the USS Saratoga, accidentally shoots down a USAFRF-4C-22-MC Phantom II, 69-0381, 'ZR' tailcode, of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, out of Zweibrücken Air Base, West Germany, at 1550 hrs. EDT over the Mediterranean during a NATO exercise, DISPLAY DETERMINATION. Both RF-4C crew eject, pilot Capt. Michael Ross of Portsmouth, Ohio, and WSO Lt. Randy Sprouse of Sumter, South Carolina, both of the 38th TRS, and are rescued by a helicopter from the Saratoga within 30 minutes, suffering numerous injuries. A Navy spokesman said that the F-14 downed the RF-4C with an air-to-air missile, but did not know whether it was a Phoenix, a Sparrow or a Sidewinder. This was likely due to insufficient information being relayed to the spokesman; recovery of the F-14 aboard Saratoga makes it obvious the missile was an AIM-9 Sidewinder. When told by the Saratoga 's Admiral that they had been shot down, Sprouse remarks "I thought we were supposed to be on the same side?" to which the Admiral replies "We're sorry about this, but most of the time we are." The Tomcat pilot is duly disciplined and permanently removed from flying status.
28 September: A USAF B-1B Bomber, S/N 84-0052, crashed near La Junta, Colorado, following impact with an American White Pelican. Three crew members ejected safely. One crew member died as a result of an ejection seat malfunction. Two additional crew members died due to lack of time and proper flight conditions to accomplish manual bailout. The aircraft was destroyed on impact. The aircraft was assigned to Dyess AFB, TX.
USAFLTV A-7D-4-CV Corsair II, 69-6207, of the 4450th Tactical Group, Nellis AFB, Nevada, loses all power 15 miles S of Indianapolis, Indiana, at 31,000 feet while en route from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. Pilot tries to dead-stick into Indianapolis International Airport but receives poor direction from air traffic controllers and crashes at ~0915 hrs. during late turn after aiming plane at a baseball field but fighter veers, striking bank branch roof and hitting center of Ramada Inn across the street, killing nine employees, injuring five others (one of whom died later as a result of the injuries sustained). Pilot Maj. Bruce L. Teagarden, 35, ejected, suffering bruises and muscle strain. He lands in parking lot of Ace Supply Company, four blocks from the hotel. Air Force pays out $50,427 in property claims damages, according to The New York Times on 26 October. This A-7D was part of the unit then secretly operating Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk stealth aircraft but this was successfully kept out of the media for several years.
The pilot of an General Dynamics F-16A Block 15J Fighting Falcon, 82-0909, c/n 61-0502, ejected safely when his plane caught fire and crashed on take-off at Moody Air Force Base in south Georgia. Problems occurred during a routine practice flight. Witnesses said the aircraft climbed straight into the air during take-off and exploded into flames before hitting the ground. The plane was assigned to Moody.
A US Army Boeing-Vertol CH-47D Chinook helicopter, 86-01643, of 2nd Platoon, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, 47th Hospital, 214th Field Artillery Brigade, 3rd Corps, Forces Command (FORSCOM), located at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, crashes outside Chico, Texas, killing 10 soldiers and injuring 8, most with burns. The helicopter caught fire mid-flight due to the failure and disintegration of the number two transmission and driveshaft, and the brave pilots attempted an emergency landing, but the billowing smoke and passenger movements made it impossible. The helicopter hit the ground at 150 mph, breaking apart in a sheet of fire. This was originally the first B-model Chinook, 66-19121, which was converted in 1986 to D-model status.
An Northrop F-5E Tiger II crashed on take-off from Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Florida. Lt. Col Charles Lemire of Mesa, Arizona, died in the crash. The aircraft had made a stop at the base before resuming a cross-country training mission. The pilot was trying to eject when the jet hit a wooded area off the end of the runway, according to a base spokesman. The pilot and aircraft were assigned to a squadron at Williams Air Force Base near Phoenix, Arizona. The squadron is part of the 405th Tactical Training Wing at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix.
Two Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, collided on a night training mission. They were flying at 92 mph air speed and about 250 feet from the ground when they collided a Fort Campbell spokesman said. The Army identified three of the dead as Staff Sgt. Charles L. Shirley, 21, of Arkansas; Sgt. Dennis Sabot, 28, of Iowa; and Spec. 4 Samuel A. Hintz, 23, of Ohio, all from the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry. A total of 17 soldiers were killed in the crash.
Marine Corps Colonel Jerry Cadick, then commanding officer of MAG-11, was performing stunts at the MCAS El Toro Air Show. California, before a crowd of 300,000 when he crashed his McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornet at the bottom of a loop that was too close to the ground. The aircraft was in a nose-high attitude, but still carrying too much energy toward the ground when it impacted at more than 300 mph (480 km/h). Col. Cadick was subjected to extremely high G forces that resulted in his face making contact with the control stick and sustaining serious injury. He broke his arm, elbow and ribs, exploded a vertebra and collapsed a lung. Col. Cadick survived and retired from the Marine Corps. The F/A-18 remained largely intact but was beyond repair.
Three of the ten Aermacchi MB-339PAN jets from the Italian Air Force display team Frecce Tricolori collide in mid-air in front of the audience while performing their 'pierced heart' formation. One aircraft crashes directly into the crowd. Sixty-seven spectators and all three pilots are killed and 346 seriously injured in the resulting explosion and fire.
An Grumman F-14A-95-GR Tomcat, BuNo 160409, of VF-143, (also reported as VF-124) suffers an all hydraulic system failure and crashes inverted into a hangar at Gillespie Field, a civil airport in El Cajon, California, San Diego County while attempting to return to NAS Miramar. The pilot, Lt. Cmdr. Jim Barnett, 36, a flight instructor with 10 years of experience flying F-14s, managed to point the crippled jet towards the landing strip at Gillespie Field to reduce civilian casualties, and both he and his backseater, Lt. (j.g.) Randy L. Furtado, 27, a radar intercept officer who was undergoing training, ejected, suffering injuries. The RIO landed in power lines and suffered a fatal broken neck. The crash injured 3 on the ground and destroyed or damaged 19 aircraft and 13 vehicles.
A USAFBoeing B-52H-150-BW Stratofortress, 60-0040, crashed on the runway at 0115 hrs. EST at K.I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan, while doing touch-and-goes after a seven-hour training flight. No weapons were aboard the bomber, which broke into three parts. All crew survived, crawling or being helped from the nose section, without sustaining burns.
A female U.S. Navy airman of VA-42, was struck and killed by an Grumman A-6 Intruder being towed from a hangar at NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia. The airman, whose name was withheld pending notification of family, was walking beside a wing of the attack bomber as it was being towed by a small tractor from the hangar to the flight-line, a Navy spokesman said.
A RCAFLockheed CC-130E Hercules, 130318, formerly 10318, c/n 4124, of 435 Squadron, participating in annual Brim Frost exercises, hits runway approach lights and a river bank short of the runway and crashes onto the runway at 6:47pm local time at Wainwright AAF, Alaska in ice fog at -51 degrees Fahrenheit. Nine of the eighteen occupants are killed.
Lockheed C-141B Starlifter, 66-0150, c/n 300-6176, of the 63d MAW, Norton AFB, California, crashed in stormy weather four miles N of Hurlburt Field, Florida while trying to land, killing seven crew and one military retiree. The plane's crewmen were identified as Capt. Mark J. Chambers, 30; Capt. John F. Young, 30; Master Sgt. Robert E. Wright Jr., 37; Tech. Sgt. Ronald D. Grubbs, 29; Staff Sgt. Karl M. Kohler, 32; Airman 1st Class Scott D. Craig, 22; Staff Sgt. John W. Remerscheid, 33. Remerscheid was assigned to the 14th Military Airlift Squadron at Norton. The others were assigned to the 52nd Military Airlift Squadron. The eighth man on board was identified by Hurlburt Field spokeswoman as retired Air Force Capt. John G. Galvin of Jacksonville, Florida.
Lockheed SR-71A, 61-7974, Article 2025, outbound on operational sortie from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, suffers engine explosion, total hydraulic failure. Pilot Maj. Dan E. House and RSO Capt. Blair L. Bozek both eject safely. This was the final Blackbird loss before the type was withdrawn from service.
A Tyndall Air Force BaseMcDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle crashed in the Gulf of Mexico about 65 miles southeast of Tyndall, killing the student pilot who was identified as 2nd Lt. Sean P. Murphy, 23, of Warsaw, Indiana. At the time of the crash the pilot was engaged in a mock dogfight with his instructor who was flying a second F-15. The pilot was assigned to Tyndall's 95th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron.
One of two McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagles of the 33rd TFW, Eglin AFB, Florida, engaged in 2V2 (two versus 2) aerial combat maneuvers with two Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons of the Alabama Air National Guard, crashes at 1456 hrs. near Lamison, Alabama a small community ~80 miles SW of Montgomery, the pilot, Capt. Leo Moore of the 58th Tactical Fighter Squadron, ejecting safely. Moore, unhurt, is rescued less than an hour later, said Sandy Mau, a Selma Times-Journal reporter, by an Air National Guard helicopter vectored to him from Danley Field by the F-16 pilots who were flying close enough to Moore to pinpoint his location, said S/Sgt. Dave Beaulieu, 33rd TFW spokesman. Tim Henderson, of nearby Millers Ferry, said that he saw Moore's jet flying low across his pasture minutes before the crash. "It was flying maybe a little over the treetops, very low", Henderson said. "He wasn't flying very fast to be flying so low, and it kind of sounded like the engine was cutting out." The fighter impacted on a ridge in a rural, virtually inaccessible area and Air Force investigators were having difficulty reaching the site, said Mau. The Eagle was completely destroyed. "It just burned up", said Beaulieu. The two F-15s had departed from Eglin at ~1410 hrs. to rendezvous with the F-16s. Moore's fighter was carrying an inert infrared-guided Sidewinder, Beaulieu said. He didn't know how much training the airmen got in before the crash, which occurred ~120 miles NE of Eglin. The pilot underwent a medical check at Eglin regional Hospital and then was sent home, said Beaulieu. "He's fine. He's pretty shaken up, but doing well."
A U.S. NavyMcDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornet from Cecil Field, NAS Jacksonville, Florida, loses a 950-pound training bomb over Waldo, Florida, in the afternoon. The ordnance narrowly misses home with four inside, bounces off tree, skips over a second home, and impacts in a field where the spotting charge explodes. No one is injured in the incident. Navy spokesman Bert Byers states that the pilot lost track of the bomb after it fell off the jet.
A U.S. Navy LTV A-7E Corsair II jet fighter, of VA-205, preparing to land at Naval Air Station Atlanta, Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, piloted by LCDR Robert Conlyn, Jr., crashes into the Pine Village North apartment complex in Smyrna, Georgia, and bursts into flames. Two civilians killed; four civilians injured. Among the dead, a pregnant 24 year old woman. Her five year old daughter survived with burns over half her body. Conlyn, call sign Cougar, stayed with the aircraft until the last possible moment. Conlyn suffered serious injuries but survived.
An Douglas A-4F Skyhawk—Bureau Number 152101, tail number '2101', c/n 13489, assigned to the US Navy Top Gun school, crashed short of the runaway at NAS Miramar, north of San Diego, California. The cause of the crash was loss of power to the engine. The pilot, Lt. Cmdr. Stanley R. O'Connor, an instructor in the Top Gun school, ejected safely. This airframe had been ordered as the final A-4E but was delivered as the first A-4F model.
A leased CASA 212-300 Aviocar, 88-320, N296CA, c/n 296, operated by the US ArmyIntelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) for testing duties, crashes at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The crew had been conducting tests of tracking equipment during the short flight from Davison AAF at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Aircraft crashed and sank into the water ~ 50 yards off shore, in 45 feet water, reportedly because the flight crew inadvertently selected "beta range" on the propellers at 800 feet, stalled and crashed into the river. Pilot CW4 Gaylord M. Bishop, copilot CW4 Howard E. Morton, SPC Peter Rivera-Santos, PFC Mark C. Elkins, and CIV Ronald N. Whiteley Jr. KWF.
McDonnell-Douglas F-15C-41-MC Eagle. 86-0153, c/n 1000/C381, of the 59th TFS, 33rd TFW, based at Eglin AFB, crashes in the Gulf of Mexico, 40 miles SE of Apalachicola, Florida, pilot killed. The pilot was identified as Capt. Bartle M. Jackson, 31, Towson, Maryland. At the time of the crash, Jackson and three other pilots—a second F-15 pilot from Eglin and two Lockheed Martin F-16 pilots from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, were taking part in a training mission the Air Force calls a 2v2, which pits two F-15s against two F-16s in a mock dogfight. It was not known whether the pilot had been able to bail out over the Gulf of Mexico. Other pilots in the area had not seen a parachute.
^Pocock, Chris, "50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of the 'Dragon Lady' ", Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, Library of Congress card number 2005927577, ISBN 978-0-7643-2346-1, pages 350-351, 408.
^ abPocock, Chris, "50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of the 'Dragon Lady' ", Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, Library of Congress card number 2005927577, ISBN 978-0-7643-2346-1, page 409.
^"Airscene", Air International, Bromley, Kent, UK, March 1981, Volume 20, Number 3, page 107.
^Maggelet, Michael H., and Oskins, James C., "Broken Arrow: The Declassified History of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents", Lulu Publishing, www.lulu.com, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4357-0361-2, chapter 29, pages 249–259.
^"In Re Air Crash Disaster at Mannheim Germany on 9/11/82. Ursula J. Schoenborn, As Executrix of the Estate of Leonedward Schoenborn, Deceased, v. the Boeing Company. Appeal of the Boeing Company. United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. 769 F.2d 115". Justia. 1985.Missing or empty |url= (help);|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^Pocock, Chris, "50 Years of the U-2: The Complete Illustrated History of the 'Dragon Lady' ", Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, Library of Congress card number 2005927577, ISBN 978-0-7643-2346-1, pages 209, 409.
^Swanborough, Gordon, and Bowers, Peter M., "United States Navy Aircraft since 1911", Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1976, Library of Congress card number 90-60097, ISBN 978-0-87021-792-0, page 523.