Information on aircraft gives the type, and if available, the serial number of the operator in italics, the constructors number if the serial numbert is not known, 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.
Mid-air collision between two Blue AngelsMcDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 aircraft during a practice session at El Centro. One airplane, Angel Number 2, 161524, piloted by Capt. Chase Moseley (ejected) was destroyed and the other, Angel Number 1, badly damaged but managed to land safely. Both pilots survived unharmed.
A USAFGeneral Dynamics F-111E, 68-0001, known as "Balls 1", out of RAF Upper Heyford, crashes into the North Sea off the east coast of England during a routine training mission, killing two crew. The Third Air Force identified the crew as pilot Capt. Clifford W. Massengill, 30, of Edenton, North Carolina, and WSO 1st Lt. Thomas G. Dorsett, 26, of Pensacola, Florida.
A USAFFairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II crashes in the Black Mountains of Wales, ~eight miles S of Hay-on-Wye on the English border, less than 18 hrs. after an General Dynamics F-111 was lost in the North Sea. Captain Bradley Burrows, the A-10 pilot was killed. Gen. Marcus Anderson, commander of the Third Air Force, grounds all British-based tactical fighters for a one-day safety review, although an Air Force press spokesman said the two accidents were unrelated, calling it "a terrible coincidence" that they occurred so close together.
A McDonnell-Douglas F-15C Eagle, 80-0002, of the 3d Wing, stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, accidentally fired an AIM-9M Sidewinder missile at F-15C, 81-0054. The damaged aircraft was able to make an emergency landing; it was subsequently repaired and returned to service, finally retired to AMARC, 8 September 2009. According to one account, the wing commander was relieved over this incident.
A fatal aircraft landing accident involving a U.S. Coast GuardGrumman E-2C Hawkeye, CG 3501, of CGAW-1, based at CGAS St. Augustine, Florida, while returning to the former Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico where the mission originated, prompted the Coast Guard to discontinue flying E-2Cs and to return all of its eight remaining borrowed airframes to the U.S. Navy. The Hawkeye's port engine caught fire and the aircraft crashed on short final in a cow pasture one quarter mile from the runway, all four crew KWF. A granite memorial to Lt. Duane Stenbak, Lt. Craig Lerner, Lt. Paul Perlt, and AT1 Matthew Baker was dedicated at St. Augustine's City Hall Square on 23 August 1991. Another plaque honoring the four was placed near St. Augustine lighthouse.
While flying a training mission in preparation for Operation Desert Storm over the Fallon, Nevada desert, Lieutenant Andrew G"Andy" Baer a Weapons Systems Officer and Captain Ralph Miller a pilot with the Indiana Air National Guard,181st Fighter Group, 113th Fighter Squadron, based at the Hulman International Airport in Terre Haute, IN were Killed on board their F-4 Phantom II during a high-speed, low-altitude turning maneuver. At the outset of the mishap, Lt. Baer initiated the dual-sequenced ejection seats however due to their low altitude and the aircraft's attitude those life saving systems were unsuccessful and Lt. Andrew Baer and his pilot, Captain Ralph Miller (who were both natives of Terre Haute, Indiana and fellow graduates of both Terre Haute North High School and Indiana State University) were unable to survive the incident.
Crew of an US Navy Grumman A-6E Intruder, '506', of VA-176, suffering engine fire, aim bomber away from Virginia Beach, Virginia oceanfront before ejecting just after take-off from NAS Oceana, Virginia's Runway 5. Bomber comes down at 2215 hrs. in the Atlantic Ocean ~.75 miles offshore, after just clearing the Station One Hotel, on-shore breeze carries crew inland about three blocks from the beach, one landing in a tree, the other in a courtyard of a condominium, suffering only cuts and bruises. Aircraft, on routine training mission, was unarmed. Officials did not identify the crew, but said the pilot was a 29-year old lieutenant, and the bombardier-navigator was a 34-year old lieutenant commander, both assigned to VA-176.
LTV A-7E Corsair II, BuNo 158830, 'AC 403', of VA-72 has the dubious distinction of being the last of the type in US Navy service to need a barricade landing aboard a carrier when the nose gear was damaged on catapult launch from the USS John F. Kennedy, at start of mission 12.41 against a target in western Iraq, losing one tire. Pilot, Lt. Tom Dostie, succeeds in hooking 1-wire and aircraft snags safely in barricade. Since the A-7 type was about to be retired, airframe is stripped for parts and buried at sea 25 January with full military honors, but refuses to sink until strafed by air wing jets. This disposition is in question, however,. Joe Baugher states that there is an A-7 marked as 158830 preserved in Museo dell'Aviazione near Rimini, Italy. It was reported as damaged during Desert Storm and was left at Sigonella, Italy.
Petty Officer John David Bridges is sucked into the port intake of a Grumman A-6 Intruder in a 0341.11 hrs. flight deck accident on board USS Theodore Roosevelt as the attack jet powers up to move onto the catapult. He is saved when the pilot hears the crewman's helmet and safety goggles ingest into the engine and shuts down immediately. Bridges, who was caught momentarily in the intake, is saved by the pilot's quick reaction and is able to crawl out suffering various minor injuries. The US Navy now uses film of this incident as a training tool and revised deck procedures to avoid a recurrence.
US Navy North American CT-39G Sabreliner, BuNo 160057, crashed at 1145 hrs. in a neighborhood ~.5 miles S of NAS Glenview, Illinois, killing three crew, but missing houses. No one on ground was injured and witnesses said the pilot appeared to intentionally avoid structures, the jet coming down 20 feet from homes.
Cuban Air Force pilot Major Orestes Lorenzo Perez defects in his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23BN to Naval Air Station Key West, Florida on a training mission. U.S. fighters never scramble to intercept, and embarrassed military authorities say that "hardware and software problems" with the radar net contributed to the failure. On 19 December 1992 he returns to Cuba in a borrowed small, twin-engined 1961 Cessna 310, landing on a well known bridge along the coastal highway east of Havana in Northern Matanzas Province at an agreed time. His wife Victoria and their two sons, Reyneil, 11, and Alejandro, 6, are already waiting on his order delivered through a messenger earlier. Orestes Lorenzo Perez picks up his family and manages a successful safe return to Miami.
Two US Navy Lockheed P-3C Orion anti-submarine patrol aircraft, P-3C 158930 coded 'SG 12', and P-3C 159325, 'SG 8', are lost during an ASW training mission off the San Diego, California coast when they collide in bad weather. The crash occurs in a storm 60 miles SW of San Diego at 0226 hrs., as one aircraft flies to relieve the other, which had been airborne for seven hours. Search-and-rescue workers discover wreckage from the downed aircraft but all 27 crewmen are lost, 13 on one and 14 on the other. USS Abraham Lincoln, the destroyer USS Merrill (DD-976) and at least two other ships, along with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, were assisting in the search. A Navy helicopter crew flying in the area and sailors from the Merrill reported a ball of fire and loud explosion about 0230 PST, said Senior Chief Petty Officer Bob Howard, a Navy public affairs officer at NAS North Island, during a briefing at that base. "It is very cold out there. We're talking about what apparently is a mid-air collision...two aircraft. I would say it would be very grim." The two Orions were assigned to Patrol Squadron 50 (VP-50), based at Naval Air Station Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. Crewmen of a miniature Navy sub located wreckage from the aircraft 29 May following a month long search of the ocean floor. No bodies were found after the accident and no remains of any crew members are known to have been recovered. The Navy ended the search on 18 July, and said that a navy court of inquiry would reconvene 22 July at NAS North Island to hear more testimony to try to make a final determination of what caused the accident. Radar tapes from the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility at North Island show the aircraft were flying at their assigned altitudes of 3,500 feet and 2,500 feet when one pilot suddenly veered up and smashed into the belly of the other aircraft. Investigators believe pilot error was involved in the accident, one of the worst in recent military history. Mechanical failure, air traffic controller error and weather have been ruled out as possible causes. Radar tapes reviewed during earlier court of inquiry sessions show that one aircraft had been in the air 7 1/2 hours, veered up and struck the other craft that was arriving to relieve it. Both pilots were flying under visual flight rules and were not receiving flight instructions from the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, which was monitoring the exercise. The pilots had requested permission to change to a radio frequency not normally monitored at the facility shortly before communication stopped between the two aircraft. A granite memorial was placed outside the Officers' Club (Building 3) at NAS Moffett Field, listing all of the lost crew "still on station." VP-50 was disestablished at NAS Moffett Field on 21 May 1992 after which the aircraft were transferred to VP-22. The official disbandment was on 30 June 1992. NAS Moffett Field itself would be disestablished on 1 July 1994".
An Sikorsky MH-60G Pave Hawk based at Eglin AFB, Florida, crashes off Antigua in the Caribbean, injuring six of eight aboard, but no fatalities. Although initially reported to have been on a training mission, an accident report obtained by the Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, in August, revealed that the crew was sightseeing, taking pictures over beachside hotels and harbors, when the accident occurred.
The first crash involving a Bell-Boeing Osprey occurs when the fifth MV-22, BuNo 163915, three minutes into its maiden flight at a Boeing flight test facility at Wilmington, Delaware, suffers problems with the gyros due to incorrect wiring in the flight-control system and crashes into the ground from a 15-foot (4.6 metre) hover during an attempted landing, the left rotor striking first, the airframe turning over and catching fire. Two crew eject and survive. Two of the three roll-rate gyros had been wired in reverse. "To compound the problem, the flight control built-in test was not run before the flight. With the flight control voting logic discounting the correct gyro signal, the aircraft was doomed." As this airframe was heavily damaged on its acceptance flight, it never officially entered service. This airframe had been slated for avionics integration, autopilot, aircrew training, and operational evaluation. Footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYeLishJ_Js&feature=related
Bombardier-Navigator Lt. Keith Gallagher suffers partial ejection from U.S. Navy Grumman KA-6D Intruder152911 coded '515', of VA-95, from the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Indian Ocean, four days out of Singapore headed NW for patrol duty in the Persian Gulf. While flying at 8,000 feet, seven miles abeam the ship, heading aft, the B/N's ejection seat suffers an uncommanded partial activation of the ejection seat, which leaves him hanging out of the canopy. Pilot Lt. Mark Baden makes immediate return to the ship, lands safely, Gallagher surviving and returning to flight duty six months later. Pilot is awarded the Navy Air Medal and the LSO on the carrier the "Bug Roach Paddles Award" for his part in the successful recovery.
A Tomahawk missile launched from a warship in the Gulf of Mexico to recover on a target on the test ranges at Eglin AFB, Florida, misses by ~100 miles, coming down eight miles E of Jackson, Alabama, ~60 miles N of Mobile. "Within minutes of the missile's falling near Jackson, a recovery team arrived by helicopter. Such teams are stationed along the missile's flight path during a test so they can get to a crash scene within 20 minutes no matter where the Tomahawk goes down." Cause was found to be two incorrect screws used to assemble a tailfin, said Denny Kline, a Pentagon spokesman for the Navy Cruise Missile Project, on 13 December 1991. A screw, rubbing against an actuator coil disabled one of the missile's two fins. "Somebody during assembly put two screws in, which were moderately too long. Well, in fact, in this case extremely too long because it physically made contact with a coil. It was fine for the first one hour and 21 minutes, but over time it wore away the protective coating and got down to the wound part of the coil and shorted it out," said Kline. As a result, one fin worked properly but the other did not when the missile was to make a pre-planned turn causing it to crash in Alabama. The wrong screws were put in by General Dynamics Corp., said Susan Boyd, Pentagon spokeswoman for the missile program. Four Tomahawks have landed in civilian areas since the Navy began the gulf tests in 1985. There have been no injuries.
Vladimir A. Yakimov attempts a vertical landing on the stern flight deck of the Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (ex-Baku) in Yakovlev Yak-141 (Yak-41M), 48-3, callsign "77", but during heavy touchdown the undercarriage ruptures a fuel tank, causing a serious fire. About 25 seconds later, Yakimov ejected successfully, and was rescued from the sea. The aircraft was later repaired and placed on display at the Yakovlev OKB Museum.
Lockheed U-2R, 68-10332, Article 054 of the 9th SRW crashed into the Sea of Japan off the Korean coast this date while on flight out of Osan Air Base, South Korea, pilot Capt. Marty McGregor killed. This was the first of five U-2 losses (and four pilots) suffered by the newly formed Air Combat Command in its first five years. Prior to the ACC takeover, there had been no Class A mishaps in the previous eight years. A team of six old U-2 hands, known as the "Graybeard panel," was assembled by ACC to examine the problem.
A Kentucky Air National GuardLockheed C-130B Hercules58-0732 of the 165th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 123d Tactical Airlift Wing, out of Standiford Field, Louisville Air National Guard Base, Kentucky, stalls and crashes into the JoJo's restaurant and Drury Inn at U.S. 41 and Lynch Road at 0953 while practicing touch and go manoeuvers at the Evansville, Indiana Airport, when a supervising instructor-pilot, simulated an engine failure. The pilot who was relatively inexperienced in the type, became distracted with checklists and air traffic control commands and let the airspeed bleed off as the C-130 climbed to 1,300 feet. When it dropped below the in-flight minimum control speed, the aircraft stalled and banked to port, into the dead engine. The IP took control and began to correct but had insufficient altitude for recovery. All five crew members and eleven people on the ground were killed. Several others were injured. The Hercules descended almost vertically on the rear of Jojos, demolishing the kitchen, and spraying burning jet fuel on the center north wall of the neighboring Drury Inn, which military officials later estimated at 6,000 gallons. Room 416, where 13 employees of Plumbing and Industrial Supply Company were conducting a quality-control seminar, was engulfed by the fireball. Only four in the room escaped, all but one with severe burns. P and I Supply lost a third of its workforce. Two restaurant employees were also killed, trapped under rubble. The Air Force paid out $36.3 million to settle wrongful death, personal injury and property damage claims. "Military training exercises at Evansville Regional Airport using C-130 aircraft essentially stopped after the 1992 crash." Room 416 of the Inn is no longer publicly used.
A Marine Corps Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight suffers a catastrophic explosion and crashes into the Red Sea, killing four Marines including the pilot and injuring eight Marines.
Second prototype Lockheed YF-22AN22YX, suffers severe damage during start of a go-around when it belly-flops at Edwards AFB, California, following eight seconds of pilot-induced oscillation at an altitude of 40 feet when test pilot Tom Morgenfeld ignored a test-card requiring the 2-D convergent-divergent thrust nozzles to be locked in position during this stage of the PIO tests. Control surface actuators hit rate limiters causing commands to get out of synchronization with their execution, and the test fighter hit the ground, skidded several thousand feet, inducing fire that destroyed 25 percent of the airframe. Aircraft never flew again, being rebuilt as a shell and subsequently used to test antennae at the Rome Air Development Center, Griffiss AFB, New York.
A U.S. Navy Sikorsky H-53 crashes into a river near Virginia Beach, Virginia, this date, apparently killing all seven aboard, authorities said. The helicopter crashed during a training flight, said Cmdr. Stephen Honda, a spokesman for the Navy's Atlantic Fleet air force. Meanwhile, two Army fliers were killed Friday when their Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopter crashed during a training exercise near Fort Irwin, California, an Army spokesman said.
Two soldiers from Fort Carson, Colorado, manage to avoid being killed when their U.S. ArmyMcDonnell-Douglas AH-64 Apache crashes into the side of the north peak of 12,300 foot Almagre Mountain, known as "Mount Baldy", S of Pikes Peak. Chief Warrant Officers Douglas Mohr and David Reaves are on a routine training mission when their attack helicopter impacts several hundred feet below the crest in steep, rocky terrain. Fuel on the Apache ignited shortly after impact, burning a 30-square yard area but didn't spread because the area was mostly rock. How the crew escaped before the fire was unknown.
A US Navy Grumman E-2C Hawkeye of VAW-126 on a training flight crashes in the Atlantic Ocean ~75 miles N of Puerto Rico while returning to the USS John F. Kennedy, killing all five crew. The Navy reported on 1 August that the aircraft radioed that it was in trouble before coming down ~4 miles from the carrier, the second aircraft loss of that air wing in less than a fortnight.
An Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk, 85-801, "The Perpetrator", goes out of control after take off for a night training mission from Holloman AFB, New Mexico. The pilot from the 416th Fighter Squadron, ejects safely, suffering only minor cuts. The aircraft came down in sparsely populated area near a trailer park. Investigators believed that an improperly reinstalled bleed air duct led to control failure.
Antonov An-124 Ruslan, CCCP-82002, believed destined for Aeroflot, on test flight by Antonov/Aviastar, suffers nose cargo door failure during high-speed descent (part of test program) resulting in total loss of control. Airframe comes down in forest near Kiev, killing eight of nine crew.
One of three U.S. Army McDonnell-Douglas AH-64 Apaches of Company B, 1/151st Aviation Battalion, on training mission out of McEntire Air National Guard Base, near Eastover, South Carolina, crashes in wooded area near Dacusville in Pickens County, South Carolina, at ~1700 hrs., injuring two crew. Helicopter comes to rest on its starboard side on hilltop near Blue Ridge View Baptist Church off Anthony Road, leaving Army National Guard crew with minor injuries. They were transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital for treatment. One witness said that one of the helicopter's engines appeared to stall, while another stated that the Apache rolled upside down and then back onto its side as it went down. The Apache was lifted from crashsite on 22 October by a CH-47 Chinook to an open field for transloading onto a truck for transport back to McEntire ANGB.
A United States Navy Grumman EA-6B Prowler crashes in field near NAS El Centro, California. The three crewmen ejected at a very low altitude while inverted, and all were killed. Crew included Lt. Charles Robert Gurley (USN), Lt. Peter Limoge (USMC), and Ltjg. Dave Roberts (USN).
A US Navy Grumman E-2C Hawkeye, BuNo 161549 of VAW-124, crashes into the Ionian Sea off of southern Italy shortly after being waved off from the USS Theodore Roosevelt due to a fouled deck. The aircraft had been monitoring nightly drops of humanitarian aid to Muslims in eastern Bosnia, and was returning to the carrier when it was sent into the holding pattern. The radar aircraft then disappeared ~one mile from the ship without any radio call and no cause was determined for the loss. KWF were Lt. Cmdr. Jon A. Rystrom, Lt. William R. Dyer, Lt. Robert A. Forwalder, Lt. Patrick J. Ardaiz, and Lt. John A. Messier.
In an 1844 hrs. flight deck accident aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt, the undercarriage of an McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornet attempting a wave-off from the carrier due to still fouled deck, strikes the vertical fin on Grumman A-6E Intruder, BuNo 164382, coded '500', shearing away a large portion of the empennage, as the A-6 was taxiing away from the arresting gear. The Hornet dropped its underwing tanks and safely recovered to the carrier.
Attempting a night landing aboard USS Abraham Lincoln, operating in the Eastern Indian Ocean, Grumman F-14A-90-GR Tomcat, BuNo 159843, 'NH 111', of VF-213, piloted by Lt. Matthew T. Claar "Planet", first bird in the recovery cycle, drops below approach slope just before reaching fantail, suffers massive ramp strike at 2104:33 hrs. with rear fuselage striking deck and completely disintegrating aft of the wing in huge fireball and pitching airframe up on its nose and skidding along port edge of the angle leaving trail of burning fuel in its wake. Both crew eject in Martin-Baker seats, but only RIO Lt. Dean A. Fuller survives, trajectory into the water off the angle, with minor injuries, recovered by SAR helicopter. Pilot, who sequenced out first, did so while the airframe was extremely nose-low, landed on deck and died on impact, immediate attempts to resuscitate him for nought. LSO had repeatedly tried to wave him off, according to CPL Kevin R. Fox, Powerline, VMFA-314 Black Knights, whom the pilot landed right in front of. Through diligent efforts of crew, all fires were extinguished and a ready deck was available for further recoveries in 33 minutes. An award, a sword, is given to the outstanding Midshipman 1/C selected for Naval Aviation, chosen by the NROTC Staff at Villanova University in Lt. Claar's memory, where he was a 1986 graduate. Footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p85dJMsXIk.
At 1517 hrs. two Mikoyan MiG-29s, 526 and 925 of the Russian Flight Research Institute took off for a demonstration at RIAT RAF Fairford 1993, but during display suffer mid-air collision, both pilots, Alexander Beschastonov and Sergey Tresvyatsk, ejecting safely. Video of this accident is widely available on the internet.
Czar 52, a USAFBoeing B-52H-170-BW Stratofortress, 61-0026, crashes during an airshow practice at Fairchild AFB. After having rehearsed the maneuvers profile that in itself was dangerous to fly in a B-52, the aircraft came into land. Due to a KC-135 Stratotanker still being on the runway, the aircraft was required to make a 'go around'. After beginning a 360-degree turn left, the aircraft exceeded 90 degrees angle of bank, stalled and crashed into the ground. All four aircrew members were killed in the crash.
US Navy Grumman F-14A-95-GR Tomcat, BuNo 160390, 'NH 103', of VF-213, crashed on approach to the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, operating 40 miles (65 km.) off the Southern California coast, killing Lt. Kara Hultgreen, the first female Tomcat-qualified pilot in the Navy. The RIO, Lieutenant Matthew Klemish, initiated ejection as it became apparent that the flight envelope was being exceeded, his seat firing first. He was rescued. Due to low-speed rolling turn, the ejections were on the edge of the seat capabilities, and Hultgreen's, firing 0.4 seconds later, did not have time to fully sequence as the airframe had rolled past 90 degrees and she was ejected downward into the water, killing her instantly. Her body was recovered by a Navy salvage team on 12 November, still strapped into her seat, less than 100 yards (90 m.) from her F-14 on the seabed.
A USAF LearJet C-21, the U.S. military version of the LearJet 35A, crashed in a wooded area four miles south of Alexander City, Alabama, while trying to make an unplanned landing at the airport. The aircraft was en route to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, from Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. An Air Force spokesman said that the aircraft carried a crew of two and six passengers. One of the eight killed in the crash was Clark G. Fiester, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force; Maj. Gen. Glenn A. Profitt II, director of plans and operations for the Air Education and Training Command.
Slingsby T-3A Firefly, 93-0555/N3092K of the 557th FTS, crashes when it fails to recover from a spin, killing instructor and student. Trainer made 17 tight spirals as it dropped one mile in 30 seconds before impacting ~50 miles E of the Air Force Academy in Colorado. This was the first of three Firefly fatal accidents before the type was withdrawn from operation and the surviving airframes scrapped.
While performing ACM near the Hawaiian Islands, the starboard engine of a USN Grumman F-14A Tomcat, BuNo 161273, coded 'NH 116', of VF-213 from the USS Abraham Lincoln, suffers catastrophic compressor stall, severing hydraulic and fuel lines. Pilot Lt. Cdr. John Stacy Bates and RIO Lt. M. Crawford successfully eject and are rescued by a helicopter of HS-6.
A USAF Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk, 85-0822, callsign Spear 26, from the 49th Fighter Wing, Holloman AFB, New Mexico, crashes 7 miles S of Zuni, New Mexico, while on a training mission. The pilot, Capt. Kenneth W. Levens, 35, of the 9th Fighter Squadron, was killed in the crash. The autopilot apparently disengaged, aircraft enters inverted near-vertical dive, impacts on the Zuni Indian Pueblo in a 70 degree dive with 120 degrees starboard bank at more than 600 mph at 2225 hrs, creating a 30 foot crater. A Kirtland AFBH-60 Blackhawk finds the impact site shortly after 0000 hrs.
A USAF McDonnell-Douglas F-15C Eagle, 79-0068, of the 53d Fighter Squadron, 52d Fighter Wing,Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, crashes on take-off killing pilot who dies en route to hospital. Cause was cross-connected control rods for the flaps. The USAF despite awareness of poorly coordinated color scheme for keeping the rods from being misconnected (identical cases in 1986 and 1991, which, fortunately, were detected before leading to accidents), subjects two mechanics to courts martial for criminally negligent homicide, punishable by four years in prison, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. The Air Force also engages in dirty tricks, intercepting the defendants' mail and holding it when they were contacted by a safety expert who wanted to assist them. One defendant committed suicide on 3 October 1995, the date the court martial was due to begin. On 13 November, the service, citing "justice and the interests of the Air Force", dropped its case against the other mechanic, in exchange for his decision to leave the military. Motivation for the scape-goating attempt by the service can be traced to criticism the 52d Fighter Wing received for not bringing up on charges pilots who were responsible for downing two U.S. Army helicopters over Iraq in 1994, killing 26. "The 53rd FS 'Tigers' never fully recovered from the dark blemish on their otherwise exemplary record. The only way the USAF could make the issue and the pain go away was by closing the unit. This was done on March 10, 1999, leaving USAFE with only one Eagle squadron for the next war in its theater."
Lockheed U-2R, 68-10338, Article 060, of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing flying under call sign Mooch 31, with sensor pod on pylon above spine, departs RAF Fairford at 0727 hrs. for intended Bosnian overflight Senior Span mission, but port underwing pogo fails to detach. Pilot returns to airfield runway 27, attempts to shake loose the outrigger. Just after passing the runway's midpoint the aircraft enters a stall during which the left wing drops, hits the runway, breaking off the wingtip. The aircraft veers left towards the grass, strikes a power sub-station and crashes through the base's perimeter fence. As the aircraft bounces on a concrete taxiway pilot attempts ejection, but zero-zero seat is outside of parameters, pilot chute deploys but main canopy does not have time to fully inflate. Pilot comes to rest 150 feet E of airframe, which ends up in farmer's field. Nose breaks off, rest of U-2 fully engulfed in fire. Pilot is transported to Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon by police helicopter where he dies at 0955 hrs. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
A Japanese Air Self Defense Force Mitsubishi F-15J, 02-8919, of the 308 Hiko-tai is accidentally shot down by an AIM-9L Sidewinder fired by another JASDF F-15 during air-to-air combat training. The pilot ejects and is picked up safe.
An Grumman F-14A Tomcat, BuNo 162599, of VF-213, crashes on take-off from Nashville International Airport, Nashville, Tennessee, killing both crew and three people on ground as fireball engulfs three houses. The U.S. Navy determines that the accident was the result of pilot error, when pilot Lt. Cmdr. John Bates, attempted a high speed, steep-angle take-off, the review board announces in April 1996. Pilot loses spatial orientation in overcast, suffers vertigo. Bates had previously cracked up an F-14 in April 1995.
An Grumman F-14A Tomcat crashes in the northern Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy announces a three-day stand down for F-14 operations. The safety standdown will allow the service "to assess all aspects of operations and procedures", a Navy spokeswoman said. She said the review will "assess available information to determine if any procedural or other modifications to F-14 operations are warranted."
An Grumman F-14A Tomcat, converted to Grumman F-14D(R), BuNo 161158, of VF-11, suffers engine failure, disintegration of airframe, crashes into the Pacific Ocean at ~1230 hrs., ~120 miles off the coast of southern California during routine flight exercises, killing two crew. The fighter was part of a squadron that was taking part in a two-week operation with the USS Carl Vinson, said Doug Sayers, spokesman for NAS Miramar, California.Kenneth Bacon, chief spokesman for Secretary of DefenseWilliam Perry, said Perry met Tuesday, 20 February, with Adm. Mike Boorda, the chief of naval operations, to hear how the Navy is approaching its investigation of the latest crash, the Associated Press reported on 21 February. The Navy sees no accident pattern in two fatal crashes of F-14 fighter jets in the past month that would call for special safety measures, officials said Tuesday. The pilot was Lt. Terence Lee Clark, 27, of Hemet, California.
A Navy pilot safely ejected from his McDonnell-Douglas T-45A Goshawk, training jet, BuNo 163645, 'B 245', of TW-2, during an emergency landing at Cecil Field Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida. The pilot, who was not injured, notified officials that two tires on the jet had blown out during take-off from the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy, off Jacksonville. According to officials he had planned to land the aircraft at Cecil Field without the wheels, but ejected after the jet first made contact with the runway. After he ejected, the aircraft flipped over. The pilot was assigned to Training Squadron 22, of Kingsville, Texas. The squadron was doing routine training flights off the carrier and onto land.
An General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon, 91-0354, of the 77th Fighter Squadron, being relocated from Shaw AFB, South Carolina, to Eglin AFB, Florida, to avoid Hurricane Bertha, crashes at ~1530 hrs. into a neighborhood 20 miles N of Pensacola, Florida, following an engine failure, striking two homes and killing a four-year old boy. A man and woman in the house suffered burns. The pilot was forced to eject two miles short of the runway. The pilot was uninjured. The accident investigation showed foreign object damage to a fan blade caused a crack seven thousands of an inch (too small to visually spot). The blade was ingested into the engine. The engine had failed three times during the flight with two relights. With the third engine failure the pilot ditched the aircraft into what he hoped was an unpopulated area, and ejected at only 200 feet.
NATOBoeing E-3B SentryAWACSLX-N90457 overruns runway into sea on take-off from Preveza AFB, Preveza, Greece. Fuselage breaks in two, but no casualties among crew of 16. Aircraft had rolled out at Boeing Renton, Washington plant on 21 April 1984, first flown 5 June 1984. Delivered to NATO on 19 December 1984 after AEW suite fitted out by Dornier.
A USAF General Dynamics F-16D Fighting Falcon, 87-385, of the 466th Fighter Squadron, crashed about ten miles northeast of Wendover, Utah, near the Utah-Nevada state line after suffering engine flame-out. The crew was from the 419th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. A Hurlburt Field crew flying an MC-130E Combat Talon I on a mountain terrain exercise were diverted to help search for the jet's crew. After refueling in mid-air, the Hurlburt crew found the two flyers and sent up flares to pinpoint their location for search helicopters. Major Edward G. Goggins was the pilot and Captain Mark C. Snyder a passenger flight surgeon. One suffered a broken ankle and the other had burns.
Craig D. Button (November 24, 1964—April 2, 1997), a United States Air Force pilot, dies when he mysteriously crashes an Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft in the Colorado Rockies. Before the incident, Captain Button inexplicably flew hundreds of miles off-course without radio contact, appeared to maneuver purposefully and did not attempt to eject before the crash. His death is regarded as a suicide because no other theory explains the events. His aircraft carried live bombs, which were never recovered. It took three weeks to find the crashsite. During that time, there was widespread public speculation about Captain Button's intentions and whereabouts.
Third USAF Air Force AcademySlingsby T-3A Firefly crash in 28 months kills student and instructor when the engine fails during a turn at ~500 feet altitude, aircraft enters spin and explodes on impact, two miles E of the Colorado Springs academy airfield. "Their aircraft had been written up by pilots 10 times for engine problems, including one during the flight immediately before the fatal trip. The Air Force said the engine was running at impact, although it was producing so little power that the propeller was barely turning." Although the Academy continues to fly the type, another incident in which the T-3 engine quits in-flight, forcing a dead-stick landing at the airfield, finally leads to USAF to ground the design on 25 July 1997, with the whole fleet eventually scrapped.
The crew of a USAF General Dynamics F-16B Fighting Falcon, 82-1037, of the 39th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, "ET" tailcode, ejected over the Gulf of Mexico after their jet suffered separation of engine fourth stage at speeds past Mach, about seven miles south of Destin, Florida. The airmen were rescued by the crew and passengers of Top Gun, a charter fishing boat out of Destin, who saw the crash. The airmen were members of the Eglin's Development Test Center's 39th Flight Test Squadron. The aircraft was returning to Eglin after flying as a chase aircraft in a mission with an Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. Divers located the jet in 70 feet of water a week following the accident. A barge carried the wreckage to a hangar at Eglin where investigators hoped to find clues as to what caused the crash.
German Air ForceTupolev Tu-154M, 11+02, call sign GAF 074, of 1 Staffel/FBS (Flugbereitschaft), used for Open Skies treaty verification, collided with a USAFLockheed C-141B Starlifter, 65-9405, call sign REACH 4201, of the 305th AMW, about 120 km (75 mi) W of the coast of Namibia over the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 24 aboard the Tu-154 and all nine on the C-141. Accident investigations by both countries, released 31 March 1998, found that the Tu-154 was flying at the wrong altitude, 35,000 feet (11,600 m.) instead of 39,000 feet (12,900 m.), and was thus primarily at fault. Contributory factor was chronically poor ATC in the area.
A USAF Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, 81-793, of the 7th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Wing, at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, lost its port wing at 1500 hrs. during a pass over Martin State Airport, Middle River, Maryland during the Chesapeake Air Show and crashed into a residential area of Bowley's Quarters, Maryland damaging several homes. Four people on the ground received minor injuries and the pilot, Maj. Bryan "B.K." Knight, 36, escaped with minor injuries after ejecting from the aircraft. A month-long Air Force investigation found that four of 39 fasteners for the wing's structural support assembly were apparently left off when the wings were removed and reinstalled in January 1996, according to a report released 12 December 1997.
A USN EP-3 Aries II (electronic warfare P-3C Orion variant, BUNO 157320) crashed in the early morning hours while landing at Souda Bay airfield near Chania, Greece. 24 crew members sustained minor injuries after the aircraft landed at high speed, drifted to the right, clipped side runway lights before making strong corrections towards centerline, and finally overran the runway. The aircraft's left wing and engine clipped a sand pile after it left the runway, before finally colliding and stopping upon impact with a pillbox. The nose was ground off and the left outboard ("Number 1") engine caught fire. Most crewmembers safely evacuated out of the starboard side overwing hatch. A Navy spokesman said the three crewmen suffered minor cuts and abrasions, and a fourth sprained his ankle. No fatalities, aircraft destroyed.
A USN Grumman F-14A Tomcat, BuNo 161425, converted to F-14A+, later redesignated F-14B, of VF-101, based at NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off the North Carolina coast Thursday afternoon, moments after the two crew eject. "A Coast Guard helicopter later plucked the Tomcat's radar intercept officer from 4- to 5-foot seas, but rescuers were still searching for the jet's pilot after nightfall. The Navy declined to identify either of the crewmen...until their families were notified. The radar intercept officer was undergoing a medical examination at Oceana Thursday night, and was reportedly in good condition." The U.S. Navy suspends search for the missing aviator on 5 October. The cause of the crash was not known, the Navy said in a statement. A failure of left horizontal stab linkage—while the trailing edge was down—threw the aircraft into violent right-hand rolls. When the pilot put in corrective stick, the aircraft would pitch down violently due to a stuck left-hand horizontal stab. This flight condition was unrecoverable. The RIO pulled the ejection handle at 7000 feet. The mishap pilot died when his ejection seat failed.
Russian Air ForceAntonov An-124 Ruslan, RA-82005, delivering two Sukhoi Su-27Flankers to Vietnam, loses both port engines at 200 feet (60 m) on take-off from Irkutsk, crashing into residential area, killing eight crew, 15 passengers, and 45 on the ground (some accounts list higher ground casualties). Cause was thought to be either contaminated fuel or wrong grade of fuel, taken on at Irkutsk.
A U.S. Marine CorpsGrumman EA-6B Prowler, BuNo 163045, coded 'CY-02', callsign Easy 01, of VMAQ-2, struck a cable supporting a gondola in Cavalese. The cable was severed and 20 people in the cabin plunged over 80 metres to their deaths. The aircraft had wing and tail damage but was able to return to the base.
A Sudan Air ForceAntonov An-26 overshoots the runway in heavy fog and crashes into a river at Nasir, South Sudan killing 26 of the 57 people on board, including Sudan's vice president and other civilian government officials.
Lockheed S-3B Viking, BuNo 159733, of VS-22 lands on the deck of the USS Enterprise at 1918 hrs. during night landing requalifications off of the Virginia coast. At 1920 hrs. an EA-6B Prowler, BuNo 163885, of VAQ-130 receives a wave-off due to the deck still being fouled, but its starboard wing strikes the Viking. The Prowler continues over the side as all four crew eject, as well as two crew from the S-3. The Viking crew are recovered, but the Prowler crew are all casualties with only one body recovered. Deck fire is brought under control in seven minutes. The damaged S-3B is also jettisoned.
A Russian Air ForceSukhoi Su-24MR Fencer disappears from radar at 1140 hrs. while descending through cloud during a coastal surveillance flight. Wreckage found ~9 miles (15 km) from Novorossiysk and 25 miles (40 km) from Anapa. Both crew did not eject and are killed.
The same day an American F-16 was shot down near Šabac and an A-10 Thunderbolt II was heavily damaged, operation control lost contact of an UAV in the Adriatic Sea, close to the coast and minutes from landing. Local fishermen witnesses give credit to the rumors this was a covered Dassault Mirage F1B (codename yogsothoth) damaged in dogfight over Beograd. Reports of airplane discharging something at sea were collected by coast guard, as well as the bail out of two pilots. Following the accident, never credited by the air force, it was confirmed that jet fighters were dropping unused weapons into the sea before landing.
An Indian Air ForceMikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MF, C-1539, of 17 Golden Arrows Sqn., is shot down by a Pakistani FIM-92 Stinger while searching for downed MiG-27 pilot during the Kargil conflict. Aircraft comes down at 1105 hrs., some 7.5 miles (12 km.) inside Pakistani-Administered Azad Kashmir. Although pilot Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja ejected safely, Pakistan claimed he had been killed. After his body was returned 28 May, "initial examination found bullet wounds, which suggested he had been shot after ejecting. This was the first time since 1971 that India had lost an aircraft to hostile fire."
Russian Air ForceSukhoi Su-30MK-1 demonstrator '01' with vectored thrust crashes on opening day of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport. At the completion of a downward spiralling maneuver, the tail contacted the grass surface. With almost no forward speed the fighter was able to pull away from the ground, wings level, with an up pitch of 10-15 degrees and climb to ~150 feet (46 m), with the right jet nozzle deflected fully up and flames engulfing the left engine. Sukhoi test pilot Vyacheslav Averynov initiated ejection with navigator Vladimir Shendrikh departing the aircraft first. The Zvezda K-36D-3.5 ejection seats work perfectly and both crew descend on a taxiway unhurt. The Su-30 impacted some distance from the crew. Video of this accident is widely available on the internet.
A Swedish Air ForceSaab JAS-39 Gripen, 39156, '56', of F7 Wing, 2nd Sqn., crashes into Vänern at about 1430 hrs. during an air-to-air combat exercise. Aircraft sank in about 260 feet of water (80 m). Pilot ejected safely and was recovered by Hkp 10 SAR helicopter. The accident was caused by a design flaw in the aircraft's control system, rendering it in a stalled mode after passing another aircraft's vortex. This was the first loss of a Gripen since the type became operational.
During a USN "Fast Rope" training exercise, a Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter of HMM-166 departs the USS Bonhomme Richard and approaches the fantail landing pad of the USNS Pecos, cruising ~15 miles (24 km) WSW of Point Loma, California at 1316 hrs. The port rear landing gear leg of the helicopter snags a safety net on the deck edge and the chopper tips backwards into the Pacific, sinking within five seconds. Eleven of 18 on board escape and are picked up by Navy SEALS following the USNS Pecos in zodiac boats. The bodies of six U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy corpsman, from the 1st Force Recon, 5th Platoon, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Pendleton, California, are recovered from a depth of 3,600 feet.
^Mersky, Peter B., "SLUF swansong : A-7 Corsair II in the Gulf, 1990–1991", International Air Power Review, Volume 1, AIRtime Publishing Inc., Westport, Connecticut, Summer 2001, ISSN 1473-9917, pages 123–126.
^Washington, D.C.: Washington Post, "Navy Plane Crashes in a Chicago Suburb", Monday, 4 March 1991, page A-7.
^Arlington, Virginia: USA Today, Johnson, Kevin, "Three die in Illinois crash; residents hail pilot as hero", Monday, 4 March 1991, page 6A.
^Greenville, South Carolina, "MiG pilot's defection raises security questions: Cuban flew to Key West in March 1991 unopposed", Associated Press, The Greenville News, Thursday, 22 October 1992, page 15D.
^ abVeronico, Nicholas A., "Images of Aviation: Moffett Field", Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, Chicago, Illinois, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, San Francisco, California, 2006, Library of Congress card number 2006920969, ISBN 978-0-7385-3132-8, Page 79.
^Waves were too large to deploy Coast Guard vessels. A passing freighter located the pilot still in the parachute harness. The freighter crew attempted to hook the parachute and bring the pilot up. Evidently the pilot had been able to partially release his parachute harness before drowning and when the freighter crew attempted to pull up the parachute, the pilot slipped out of the harness and was not able to be recovered. Wurtsmith Air Force Base Command Post had been notified by a local sheriff department that a parachute had been seen. Wurtsmith Air Force Base Command Post Controllers immediately notified Selfridge Air Force Reserve Base Command to take over responsibility as it was in Selfridge's area of responsibility. Toledo, Ohio: The Blade, Thursday, 5 December 1991, page C-2.
^ 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, pages 319, 409.
^Diehl, Alan E., PhD, "Silent Knights: Blowing the Whistle on Military Accidents and Their Cover-ups", Brassey's, Inc., Dulles, Virginia, 2002, Library of Congress card number 2001052726, ISBN 978-1-57488-412-8, page 69.
^Davies, Steve, and Dildy, Doug, F-15 Eagle Engaged—The World's Most Successful Jet Fighter, Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84603-169-4, page 211.
^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, page 319.
^Swift, Earl, staff writer, "F-14 Pilot Missing In Crash Off Coast—Coast Guard Rescues Radar Officer After Both Crewmen Eject in Chopper [sic] Waters", The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Virginia, Friday, 3 October 1997.