Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

T-38 Talon crash during formation landing

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

T-38 Talon crash during formation landing

Old 7th May 2020, 05:36
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Australia
Posts: 904
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I Think that accident report précis was looking for an ideal outcome in an imperfect world. Split second decisions that have could have gone anyway decided on by people who had months to sit down and pick an event apart. Blaming the instructor or the student in that environment with the benefit of hindsight....Is there a link to the entire report or will I have to stop being lazy and look for it myself?
ozbiggles is offline  
Old 7th May 2020, 08:43
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: near an airplane
Posts: 2,325
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
https://www.afjag.af.mil/Portals/77/...rt_11March.pdf
Jhieminga is offline  
Old 7th May 2020, 11:11
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Fragrant Harbour
Posts: 4,782
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Standard US military report blaming the operator. It will have little impact of future safety. The question that should be asked is whether a 60 year old design still adequate for modern training.
Dan Winterland is offline  
Old 7th May 2020, 11:29
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 346
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Very similar circumstances are well illustrated in the TV series ‘Jetstream’. During a pairs landing a student suddenly veers off towards lead - fortunately the instructor is able to take control and prevent a collision.
Video Mixdown is online now  
Old 7th May 2020, 11:44
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Australia
Posts: 904
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks jhieminga, that is actually a tough read having the HUD photos there as it unfolds. I stick with my original comments, spending months on a report to dissect something that happened in split seconds and find ‘blame’. I think it is just one of those things that happens instructing where 99.9% of the time you walk away from it with nothing but a learning point. A tragedy that shows how unforgiving it can be.
I will add in this edit as with gums below, I believe it is a very good, well researched report and I guess in the world we live in there is not a lot of room in accident reports for sentimental thoughts. I feel for the families and hope someone has the chance to explain to them no one thinks any less of the guys involved, we have all been there.

Last edited by ozbiggles; 8th May 2020 at 02:08.
ozbiggles is offline  
Old 7th May 2020, 19:30
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: florida
Age: 79
Posts: 1,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Salute!

Agreed withya Oz from Oz. Very tough read.

No audio transcript, but I assume it was in one of the annex portions. I say this, as the report implies that the IP took control someplace in there, but I am not sure exactly when. It explains my note that motors were at mil power.

The sequence and the excrutiating details of this sad story should bring home some reality to those that sit in their chairs, flying PC simulators, but never pulling 6 or 7 gees or flying into a cloud while looking over their shoulder at the bandit and becoming fubar. The sh!t happens quickly, and you must anticipate, then react using hand-eye-foot-brain coordination patterns developed and burned into your body-brain connections from previous encounters and/or plenty of practice.

Gums sends....

P.S. My opinions about this sad event shall be reserved for private PM, but I applaud the board for trying to recreate the profile and working with test pilot folks to determine when the final results became inevitable.
gums is offline  
Old 7th May 2020, 19:45
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Outside the Fence
Age: 70
Posts: 364
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To throw in my credentials, 41 years flying single and twin engine jets and only the last was not cleared for formation landings. A basic flying skill taught to, and practiced by, all fighter pilots world wide.

Yes a formation landing may be dangerous if the "Swiss Cheese" holes are aligned. Being taught and adhering to the correct techniques will always reduce the risks. There are many reasons why for nearly 100 years we have flown formation landings.
Like many aspects in aviation, it is often more than one factor that will lead to an accident. Example, a flight lead who flies the approach too fast "to help the wing man". The flight lead who lands long and flares very slowly "to help the wingman". The instructor teaches the wrong technique because "he knows better", all may contribute. There is no doubt that an inexperienced wing man using the correct techniques can be led by a good flight lead to a successful formation landing under most conditions, but always something MAY go wrong.

If things go wrong it is as much down to luck as good skills to walk away without incident. Any BOI that dissects the information AFTER the event and concentrates on minutiae is wrong.

BV, yes your correct that the USAF employs IPs to instruct their student pilots. Don't, however, imply that QFIs are necessarily any more capable that IPs. I have flown with some very talented IPs and some cr*p QFIs. There were a few techniques that I learnt from the USAF whilst flying the F4 that were never taught on our RAF OCU. Equally, I would like to think that we (the RAF) taught our USAF counterparts a few things that they had not seen previously. The only problem being that the USAF is too large an organisation to effect change easily.

Dominator2 is offline  
Old 7th May 2020, 20:22
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: The Alderaan System
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Second what Dominator says about USAF IPs. I trained as a Brit stude at Sheppard AFB as part of the ENJJPT program and I thought the USAF instructors were, in the main, great. I came ‘home’ to Valley and the QFIs certainly weren’t any better. The trg system was just ‘different’.
Homelover is offline  
Old 7th May 2020, 20:24
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Scotland
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Formation T/Os and landings, as has been suggested, need to be taught and practised regularly to keep current and safe. They are also inherently risky procedures, so that risk needs to be justified. In aircraft with decent A-A radars, radar trail is the way to go. I cannot really see when a formation T/O is justified in a modern FJ (if many years of recent OPS I have not seen a single formation T/O or landing, usually the jets are too heavy) and there are limited occasions when a failure may drive you to a formation landing (although in the vast majority all you need is a formation approach with the lead going round and leaving the runway for the #2). Not saying that we should definitely stop doing them but we do need to have a good reason, and not just because we used to do them. I know the Tornado DDH stopped form T/Os in the last few years of the jet, with good reason.
SOX80 is offline  
Old 7th May 2020, 20:43
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Near the coast
Posts: 2,166
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dominator and HL

You make fair points. And I don’t think I articulated my point very well.

Individually it is of course possible to get a great instructor who isn’t a QFI and conversely you can get a QFI who isn’t a very good instructor.

My point was that it appears the instructor in this case let things run foo far. A causal factor may have been the poor visibility in the back of the T-38. Good instructor training (of any variety) may have prevented this from happening.

The more I think about it the more ambivalent I become on the issue.

I still fly and teach formation take offs and landings regularly. If we stopped them it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But I think it would be a shame.

Heavy, older jets have always made them more risky. I would wager that flying them in a Typhoon, for example, (if in fact that ever happens) would be far easier and safer.

The fact of the matter is that they are safe if practiced and taught correctly but we could probably cope just fine if they were outlawed.

Doing them just because we always did is not an excuse. We used to do night, conventional pairs take offs in the Jag. That doesn’t mean I think we should still practice them.

If I were a duty holder I would need an awful lot of convincing that pairs take offs were still necessary though. Especially now that all of our frontline jets (and even our main training jet - in a synthetic but very reliable fashion) are radar and datalink equipped.

This accident is obviously tragic and I don’t like the victim blaming but we all accept risks in our job so a lawsuit is unnecessary in my opinion.

BV
Bob Viking is online now  
Old 8th May 2020, 04:27
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: A better place.
Posts: 2,204
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How many seconds is spool up from idle to full military power on the T-38?
tartare is offline  
Old 8th May 2020, 12:20
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hotel this week, hotel next week, home whenever...
Posts: 1,494
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This accident is obviously tragic and I don’t like the victim blaming but we all accept risks in our job so a lawsuit is unnecessary in my opinion.
Quite.

But what we as aircrew accept/understand as “the job” often differs from the perception of loved ones and those others “left behind.” In times of high emotion it’s all too easy for a law suit to develop not necessarily because its what those close to the situation want but because of “pressure” applied by profiteers.

Duchess_Driver is offline  
Old 8th May 2020, 12:55
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: London/Oxford/New York
Posts: 2,693
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
BV, SOX80 and Dominator2,

I think that formation take offs (and landings) were just the way we did it in my day, and they were a tactical solution to a Cold War problem, that of getting missions off the ground as quickly as damm possible and away into a tactical 2 ship, 4 ship, 6 ship or 8 ship formation heading for a pre destined tactical attack target on Day 1 hour 1. Strike was rather different and at least the QRA would have gone off solo and continued that way all the way to the target.

Launching for the wars of 1990 onwards has been rather different, there is not (usually) the same desperate need to get aloft in such a split arse manner, but you still see pairs take offs from Cyprus on the news.
pr00ne is offline  
Old 8th May 2020, 14:27
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Darwin, NT, Australia
Posts: 769
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bob Viking

I was recently shown some cockpit footage from a RAF Hawk that yawed left on take-off and passed just under his leader’s tailpipe in a three ship formation take off.

The jury was out on the cause.

Are you familiar with it and in a position to offer some insight into what the heck happened?
CoodaShooda is offline  
Old 8th May 2020, 16:32
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Near the coast
Posts: 2,166
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cooda

I am familiar with the incident and know plenty but I’m afraid I won’t be discussing any details on here.

The only tidbit I will give you is that it wasn’t me!

BV
Bob Viking is online now  
Old 8th May 2020, 19:48
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: florida
Age: 79
Posts: 1,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Salute!

@ Tartare

Spool up on the J-85 is like a piston motor. Figure 2 or 3 seconds from idle to full mil
T-38 folks here might comment, but not many colonists visit or post here.

Gums sends...
gums is offline  
Old 8th May 2020, 20:19
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 5,899
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
The only tidbit I will give you is that it wasn’t me!

BV
Maybe 25 years ago one of the USAF F-15 pilots at Kadena was allegedly caught in flagrante delicto with another male. Things were immediately hushed up given the sensitivity of the situation and evolving attitudes toward sexual orientation.

The squadron pilots had nametags made up with the disclaimer 'It wasn't me!'

The sister squadron was known to tease about the incident with manual manipulation of the burner nozzles.

This was before Maestro O'Malley's infamous Gold Bond Powder video at Kunsan.
Airbubba is offline  
Old 9th May 2020, 01:58
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: A better place.
Posts: 2,204
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by gums View Post
Salute!

@ Tartare

Spool up on the J-85 is like a piston motor. Figure 2 or 3 seconds from idle to full mil
T-38 folks here might comment, but not many colonists visit or post here.

Gums sends...
Thanks Gums.
I`spose they were screwed once the right roll started, the poor guys.
tartare is offline  
Old 9th May 2020, 02:41
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Darwin, NT, Australia
Posts: 769
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks BV

Understood.
CoodaShooda is offline  
Old 9th May 2020, 19:40
  #40 (permalink)  
Below the Glidepath - not correcting
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 1,835
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
Talking of the pressure and external events, not much seems to have been made of the fact that the student was on a "pre-chop check ride". He could have been chopped on the unsat rides alone, but the training boss decided there may have been external factors and he was given extra time (including this sortie) to improve his performance before his formal chop-ride. That's why he was with the most experienced instructor. That's quite a dynamic in play there, where the system has seemingly coupled the IPs greater experience with a marginally performing student, normally done to avoid the student being overridden too early and gaining another unsat grade. That moves the risk profile up considerably if you consider the student's pressure to perform well with the instructor's reluctance to intervene unless absolutely necessary.

The actions relating to the individual actions are pure speculation, but the factors in play are all in the report, but not really commented on by the Board.
Two's in is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.