View Full Version : Stunning picture in the Times (UK) today

No comment
6th Feb 2004, 21:12
Not strictly history and nostalgia but as a bunch of fellow people who like to look up at whats in the sky as well as work up there you might be interested!
Page 46 in the (snazzy new tabloid size) Times carries an unbelieveable picture of Cpt Chris Stricklin's escape from the USAF Thunderbird F-16 last year. Shot at the moment he popped out the top and even less of a moment before his aircraft hit the deck.
Not sure where the picture is in your regular broadsheet Times though...

vintage ATCO
6th Feb 2004, 21:40
Interesting, it's been doing the rounds of various internet sites and forums for the last couple of weeks but it's not in my broadsheet Times!


If you want to see an in-cockpit video of the ejection it's here:
http://www.f-16.net/PhotoGallery/album44/aby.mpg (4mb)

Press release by DoD:

PRESS RELEASE -- Secretary of the Air Force, Directorate of Public Affairs

Release No. 0121045
Jan 21, 2004

Thunderbirds Accident Report Released

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. - Pilot error caused a U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 aircraft to crash shortly after takeoff at an air show Sept. 14 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
The pilot ejected just before the aircraft impacted the ground.

According to the accident investigation board report released today, the pilot misinterpreted the altitude required to complete the "Split S" maneuver. He made his calculation based on an incorrect mean-sea-level altitude of the airfield. The pilot incorrectly climbed to 1,670 feet above ground level instead of 2,500 feet before initiating the pull down to the Split S maneuver.

When he realized something was wrong, the pilot put maximum back stick pressure and rolled slightly left to ensure the aircraft would impact away from the crowd should he have to eject. He ejected when the aircraft was 140 feet above ground -- just eight --tenths of a second prior to impact. He sustained only minor injuries from the ejection. There was no other damage to military or civilian property.

The aircraft, valued at about $20.4 million, was destroyed.

Also, the board determined other factors substantially contributed to creating the opportunity for the error including the requirement for demonstration pilots to convert mean sea level and above ground level altitudes and performing a maneuver with a limited margin of error.

For more information, contact the ACC Public Affairs office at (757) 764-5007 or e-mail [email protected].

6th Feb 2004, 22:33
Yes, impressive pic. I've recieved it about 6 times so far.

What's interesting is that the photographer (with less sense and more news sense than me!) as usual, hasn't been credited, nor recognised for getting the shot rather than diving for a hole.

Another example of aircraft making the news because they crash. NOT good for aviation, so big minus points to the Thunderbird there. At least (as I've posted elsewhere) the Reds dump their aircraft into the sea, or during training pre-season, but the poms are useually more reticent than the Yanks anyhow! :cool:

John Farley
7th Feb 2004, 00:02
Re the phographer not diving for a hole he was rather a long way up...

AVweb has confirmed that the image last Thursday posted to our Picture Of The Week section of Capt. Christopher Stricklin's Sept. 14, 2003, ejection from Thunderbirds jet number 6 -- roughly eight-tenths of a second before aircraft impact -- is in fact authentic. It was shot by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III, Still Photographer, U.S. Air Force, from the catwalk atop the tower at Mountain Home AFB, and was not officially released by the Air Force until last Friday afternoon. See AVweb's NewsWire for yet another video (including audio), more images, and more details.

7th Feb 2004, 00:14
Thanks John
First credit I've seen. As they say, a braver man than me! Did the Times give credit? or was it 'USAF C*ockup Official' :p

And what the hell's 'Roughly 8 10ths of a second'? It's like the old Air Farce joke:

"How many millionths in an inch Chiefy?"
Dunno son, thousands probably."

No comment
7th Feb 2004, 00:26
The Times just said "Reuters"!!

7th Feb 2004, 01:29
The same picture was in the Mail and they stated it" HAD JUST BEEN RELEASED" but as has been pointed out this picture has been doing the internet rounds for some weeks now.( TYPICAL PRESS COCK-UP):ouch: :ouch:

7th Feb 2004, 03:37
Can I ask a simple question here?

What the hell is a display pilot doing flying a display with the QNH set?

QFE = altitude agl.

Hardplace = gl.

Why go through mental gymnastics when your stressed out flying the aircraft to the limit?

Or am I being thick?

[Steps back and awaits the reaction]

7th Feb 2004, 07:28

Being really picky...

airfield elev: 2996'msl
maneouvre altitude - 1670'agl
should have been - 2500'agl

last two heights according to press report.

Correct me if I'm wrong, I always was crap at those altimeter/QNH/QFE questions, but it doesn't look like it was a question of putting in the airfield elevation msl vs zeroing the altimeter (QFE and QNH are not referred in the US) while on the ground.

I wonder if the pilot has that picture framed for her/his collection? ;)

7th Feb 2004, 22:13
I would not like to display with QNH set - keep it simple! An airfield elevation of 2996 ft - lets call it 3000. If you need 2500 ft agl over the top, you should see 5500 ft on the altimeter. 1670 ft agl sounds like 4500 ft indicated plus a small amount of spare. As I recall, the F-16 has a strip altitude display in the HUD. Any experienced F-16 drivers like to comment on the potential for misreading HUD altitude when in a high pitch rate manoeuvre such as this (reverse half cuban)? What block aircraft are the Thunderbirds using and therefore what is the HUD symbology?

8th Feb 2004, 01:24
I'm not too sure about the F16's altimeter, but I can't wind 100 millibars (3000') of pressure off the altimeter in my jet in order to get a QFE reading with an elevation of 3000'.

And before anyone brings up the Rad Alt idea - they don't work very well in looping manoeuvres.

A gate height is a gate height. It shouldn't matter what pressure stting you have, as long as it's the correct one. :eek:


8th Feb 2004, 03:58

With respect, I suggest that using incorrect terminology adds to the confusion.

You said:QFE = altitude agl.

Setting QFE gives height agl.

Setting QNH gives altitude amsl.

Jed A1
9th Feb 2004, 01:45
Our American Friends don't use QFE!!

Everything is measured QNH!!

9th Feb 2004, 03:51
If i remember correctly, there's a video from inside and outside in the rotorheads section. In pics from around the world near back.

9th Feb 2004, 04:01
Our American Friends don't use QFE!!
Nor does most of the rest of the world....

9th Feb 2004, 08:47
vintage ATCO,

I couldn't see the video via the link.

Any more info on how to see it would be greatly appreciated.

9th Feb 2004, 09:58
I understand they used whiteout to erace the brown vapor streak frm belo the pilot.

10th Feb 2004, 04:53
The pilot is "now working at the Pentagon"!!!!

10th Feb 2004, 19:48

I think it's the fourth floor bogs he's cleaning now.

11th Feb 2004, 23:21
Has anyone got a link for a High-Res version of the pic on the first page?

John Farley
12th Feb 2004, 01:50
Paste this into IE


12th Feb 2004, 05:03
"Also, the board determined other factors substantially contributed to creating the opportunity for the error to occur, including the requirement for demonstration pilots to convert AGL elevations to MSL altitudes, and performing a maneuver with a limited margin of error. Instead of just zeroing the altimeter to deck level as a result of the crash, procedures have been changed to require that Thunderbird pilots climb an extra 1,000 feet before starting the Split-S maneuver. Pilots must also call out their altitude to the ground safety operator in MSL rather than AGL numbers."

Can't have the USAF Thunderturkeys exhibiting commonsense, can we? "Sir, no sir!"

Climb an extra 1000'? Oh great - that'll make their mind-numbingly boring show even longer.......

vintage ATCO
12th Feb 2004, 06:16

The link still works for me. Sorry, I don't know of an alternative.


vintage ATCO
12th Feb 2004, 07:28
More information, pictures and video now on the Avweb site http://www.avweb.com/eletter/archives/avflash/192-full.html#186633


13th Feb 2004, 05:23
Beagle, re "Climb an extra 1000'? Oh great - that'll make their mind-numbingly boring show even longer......."

In an F16C in full chat thats what, 10 seconds?? I think we can live with that!