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AV 8B Crash

Old 16th Jun 2005, 00:22
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AV 8B Crash

Anyone know anything about a Harrier coming down in Arizona today at 2.30 local time? Where itís from and any speculation going on in the American press? Just heard it on the 1am news but canít find a thing on it just yet.

Radio 4 made it sound like a Marine Corps AV 8B (carrying 4 250lbs bombs Ė which did not detonate) crashing in a place called Yuma, Arizona. I believe the pilot is safe but the crash has caused structural damage to nearby residential buildings. As yet there are no reports of fatalities.

001
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Old 16th Jun 2005, 00:46
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This link says it was carrying 4x500lb bombs!-----

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/nation...arrier%20Crash
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Old 16th Jun 2005, 00:47
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I'm sitting in the newsroom, awaiting pictures. The Reuters wire below comes from another Reuters department:

=====

PHOENIX, June 15 (Reuters) - A U.S. Marine Corps attack jet crashed into flames in a residential area of Yuma, Arizona, on Wednesday, but no one on the ground was hurt, and the pilot walked away from the accident, military and municipal officials said.
The aircraft, a Harrier AV-8B jet carrying two 500-pound (227-kg) bombs and 30 rounds of 20 mm ammunition, went down in a central Yuma neighborhood at 2:49 p.m. local time during a training exercise, a Marine spokesman said.
There were conflicting official accounts about the extent of damage from the crash.
City spokesman James Stover said the plane hit two houses. But Cpl. Michael Nease of the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, where the jet was based, said the single-seat aircraft crashed in the backyard of a home.
Nease said the ensuing blaze was put out by city and military firefighters.
The pilot, who was not identified, ejected from the plane before it hit the ground and was taken to a nearby hospital, according to Nease. He said the pilot was able to walk around after the accident.
Likewise, authorities said no one on the ground was injured.
"When I first heard this, I was pretty shook up," Deputy Mayor Bobby Brooks said. "But when I found that there were no casualties, it took a huge weight off my shoulders. We can always rebuild houses, but we can't rebuild lives."
Nease said the plane went down while preparing to land at the air station, which is located near the U.S.-Mexican border about 160 miles (257 km) southwest of Phoenix.
Harrier jets, also known as jump jets, are equipped with engines that swivel, allowing them to take off and land vertically, and have been used extensively by the Marines in Iraq. The planes cost about $30 million each, Nease said.
The British-designed Harrier has been plagued by safety issues during the more than three decades it has been in use by the U.S. military. The plane's engine underwent a design overhaul in 2000 to address safety problems.
The Marine Corps base in Yuma is home to four squadrons of Harriers and is one of the principal sites for Marine pilot training.
A U.S. Marine pilot was killed in 1998 when his Harrier crashed during a routine training exercise at the Yuma base.
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Old 16th Jun 2005, 01:09
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Thumbs up

Sorry I was reading the Wittering site and reminiscing about the 23 Squadron Blenheims they once had there. The 250lbs bombs were my errorÖ.well it is late.

Btw: do the yanks use a similar 540lbdr to which the RAF use?

Thanks George and Benet

001

I just noticed.

Quote:

***
The British-designed Harrier has been plagued by safety issues during the more than three decades it has been in use by the U.S. military. The plane\'s engine underwent a design overhaul in 2000 to address safety problems.
***
OMG: when the hounds wake up.......tin hats everybody...

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Old 16th Jun 2005, 08:56
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"The British-designed Harrier has been plagued by safety issues during the more than three decades it has been in use by the U.S. military. The plane\'s engine underwent a design overhaul in 2000 to address safety problems."

Oh, really? That'll be because it wasn't designed in the superior USA, no doubt.

Maybe if they had just fitted swivelling nozzles rather than an unknown number of swivelling engines they would have been as safe as the British version

Someone's talking out of their jetpipe......
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Old 16th Jun 2005, 14:16
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The British-designed Harrier has been plagued by safety issues during the more than three decades it has been in use by the U.S. military. The plane\'s engine underwent a design overhaul in 2000 to address safety problems."

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

I seem to remember a little known company called McDonnel Douglas re- designing the Harrier into the form of AV8B, of which we then bought loads and turned them into GR5 etc.

Perhaps it should read, "The American re-design of the original British designed Harrier.........................................."

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Old 16th Jun 2005, 20:51
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Shame there isn't a test of knowledge to post here, would keep comments and posters like that below from littering cyberspace.

"Oh, really? That'll be because it wasn't designed in the superior USA, no doubt"
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Old 16th Jun 2005, 21:32
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CNN Report.
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Old 17th Jun 2005, 22:35
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Times have changed.

When I started operational flying in the dim distant past, accident rates had come down dramatically over the previous decade. Nevertheless, during my early years, between the four Canadian F104 (US designed aircraft) bases one would expect an accident approximately every six weeks.

The Harrier, of course, because of its particular capabilities, would be expected to be somewhat less safe than other single engine attack aircraft. Still, an equivalent accident with an F16/F18/Mirage/F15 ... etc. ... would not come as a shock.

What interests me about this accident is that a combat loaded aircraft was allowed to fly over a city.

That would never have been allowed in my time. I am even more surprised that it would happen today, when the emphasis on safety in all things has become so much more pronounced.

Is there perhaps an explanation that accounts for the flight path over the city?
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Old 18th Jun 2005, 00:30
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plt-aeroeng,

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I flew Harriers out of Yuma for 2 years. So that'll explain any bias in the following...

If you do a mapquest search, you'll see that the crash site is about a quarter of mile north of the approach to the longer of the 2 military runways (the NE/SW runways - the N/S and E/W runways are primarily for civilian use) at MCAS Yuma, which was the jet's home base. Local procedures dictate that any military aircraft with live ordnance on board, regardless of whether or not it has an emergency, will fly a straight-in approach to that runway to land. So, without wanting to second guess the investigation, it's probably fair to assume that the pilot was endeavouring to do just that prior to the accident.

You'll also note from looking at a map that the airfield is surprisingly close to the city of Yuma, which is perhaps less than ideal. But the airfield was established in 1928, when the town was a tiny fraction of its current size. I believe that it is still one of the fastest growing cities in the US at the moment, so it's safe to assume that the buildings under the approach path came after the runways were built.

Local residents in Yuma are strong supporters of the base - there are several thousand Marines there who invest their pay checks into the local economy. They have even seen this before as about 6(?) years ago a Royal Navy Sea Harrier, flown by a US Marine on an exchange tour, had a problem after take-off and jettisoned some live bombs into the town's show grounds. So I'd suggest that the risks of this sort of thing happening are well-known locally, and accepted.

As for flying with live ordnance over towns - well it happens these days - and I'd put money on it that it's been happening for years. eg did all the UK-based bombers in WW2 avoid overflying all British and French towns on their way to Berlin? Yes, there is a very small risk of something like this happening. But then large trucks full of all sorts of nasty chemicals frequently drive through residential areas too that could crash and explode. Airliners have been known to crash short of runways eg onto the Potomac bridge, or onto the M1 at East Midlands. And you're far more likely to die in your car, than have a live-armed military jet fall on your head. You can only mitigate some risks so far - you can't eliminate all risk in this world.

Are you suggesting that military pilots should never be allowed to train with real weapons, or are you saying they shouldn't fly over houses with them? How on earth are military pilots supposed to train if they have to avoid over-flying every single house? It may be possible to completely avoid houses in the wilds of Canada, but you'd be hard pushed to fly for more than a minute in a straight line anywhere in England without finding a small village in front of you. We're trained to do our absolute utmost, both at the planning stage, and in execution, to avoid built up areas wherever possible, but avoid every single house - as a pilot yourself, you must see the impossibility of what you ask?

Or would you prefer that the first time a pilot experienced the totally different handling qualities of a fully-loaded jet should be on his/her first flight into the badlands where people shoot at them? And the first time that they seriously think about the implications of fusing, aircraft self-damage, hang-ups and asymmetric loadings, increased fuel flows, bring-back problems, etc etc are on that first trip over the berm?

And I'm not sure I agree that a Harrier is intrinsically less safe than any other single-engined aircraft. Surely every single-engined aircraft with an engine failure has the same stark choice unless the failure occurs above 10,000 ft overhead an airfield with a nice long runway? The Marines' Harrier accident rate, in my opinion, is more symptomatic of a pilot selection, training and currency issue, combined with operating procedures, both in the air and in the maintenance departments, a lack of 2-seaters on front-line units and any serious form of cross-checking of pilot flying skills (the annual NATOPS check and monthly EP quiz system is a bit of lip service to the 'requirements' - in my opinion), than any intrinsic design flaw.

And finally, in this day and age, crashing with live bombs on isn't actually that much worse than crashing without them. As was seen in this crash, there are enough safety locks in the weapons' design and fuzes to make the probability of them exploding high order in a crash pretty slim. Frankly, when 20,000lb of Harrier has just exploded and spread all kinds of carbon fibre nastiness around, a couple hundred pounds of HE here or there won't actually significantly alter the scale of the disaster.

Sorry, didn't mean to rant - Regards,

Single Seat, Single Engine, The Only Way To Fly
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Old 18th Jun 2005, 15:28
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The a/c was complying with local course rules from what I was told. Checked in at the NE initial for a straight in to 21R. A few mile final the acft departed to the right (west) and in to the residential area.
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Old 20th Jun 2005, 16:13
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As luck would have it, I dropped a load of guys off at Yuma on Saturday, the guys there were happy to talk about it. They've got some nice photos of the wreckage. At least the guy got out and missed all the houses. No more gardening for them for a while, bliss!
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