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USAF ANG F-16 Missing in Michigan

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USAF ANG F-16 Missing in Michigan

Old 9th Dec 2020, 14:50
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USAF ANG F-16 Missing in Michigan

Breaking news, fingers crossed for a positive outcome but signs are not promising...

https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/09/us/pl...rnd/index.html

A continuing upwards trends of accidents in the USAF...wonder what people's theories are on this...
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 16:50
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30mRad

I know what youíre getting at but this is an ANG aircraft. Iím not sure you can draw conclusions about USAF safety by looking at an ANG crash.

BV
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 17:16
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
I know what you’re getting at but this is an ANG aircraft. I’m not sure you can draw conclusions about USAF safety by looking at an ANG crash.

BV
Fair point BV, but wonder if there is a wider currency, supervision, risk issue esp after the last 3 reports (F35 at Eglin, F15 in North Sea and F16 at Shaw). Just feels like there is something there. Understand the C2 is different etc etc but....
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 17:30
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https://www.airforcemag.com/pilot-mi...g-f-16-crashes

Aircraft located but no news on the pilot.

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Old 9th Dec 2020, 17:45
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BV,

Agree, but AFAIK USAF accident statistics do not now differentiate among regular, ANG or USAFR rates. Domestic F-16 is an F-16 for safety reporting purposes regardless of who operates it. I guess this differentiation could be done, but that puts it more in the realm of a safety competition than a learning tool.

In the past, the ANG equipment were generally hand-me-downs, and the past individual ANG or USAFR rates were generally somewhat lower than USAF rates compared to the time the type was operated exclusively by USAF. F-100, A-7, F-105, F-4 as examples all had lower accident rates in ANG/USAFR service. The bath-tub curve without the right-hand side. ANG/USAFR had generally more experienced pilots with the same true in MX personnel, and a durational and locational stability in type....and ANG/USAFR had the benefit of knowing the early errors, both ops and MX, made in a particular type by USAF, and in many cases were transitioned to the type by a savvy USAF until ANG could get their own schools up and running in a particular type.

Now for practical purposes, USAF, ANG, USAFR, they're all the same brew.
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 00:14
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Originally Posted by 30mRad View Post
Fair point BV, but wonder if there is a wider currency, supervision, risk issue esp after the last 3 reports (F35 at Eglin, F15 in North Sea and F16 at Shaw). Just feels like there is something there. Understand the C2 is different etc etc but....
I tend to agree. My gut feeling is that contemporary trends on the live:synthetic balance could be having an effect.
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 02:01
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The Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing announced today the death of an F-16 pilot who crashed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Dec. 8. Per Department of Defense policy, the 115th Fighter Wing will not release the pilot’s identity until 24 hours after notifying the service member’s next of kin.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss; our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” 115th Fighter Wing commander Col. Bart Van Roo said. “Today is a day for mourning, the 115th Fighter Wing and the entire Wisconsin National Guard stands with the pilot’s family as we grieve the loss of a great Airman, and patriot.”

“We are an extremely close knit group at the fighter wing, the loss of one of our own brings immeasurable sadness to every member of our organization,” he said.

The crash occurred within Michigan’s Hiawatha National Forest during a training mission Tuesday night. A multi-state, interagency search for the pilot and aircraft immediately followed the crash. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The 115th Fighter Wing is appreciative of the community support provided to its members and will release additional details as they become available.
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 02:13
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Condolences

Firstly may I offer my condolences to all who knew the pilot.

Secondly Iíd like to offer a thought on the perceived increase in the accident rate.

I think we can all see that there appear to be more than the average number of accidents recently. That alone is not what concerns me. It is the fact that in so many of the recent accidents there have been no survivors.

Iím not about to draw any conclusions about this fact here but I do think it warrants further discussion.

BV
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 14:24
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
Firstly may I offer my condolences to all who knew the pilot.

Secondly Iíd like to offer a thought on the perceived increase in the accident rate.

I think we can all see that there appear to be more than the average number of accidents recently. That alone is not what concerns me. It is the fact that in so many of the recent accidents there have been no survivors.

Iím not about to draw any conclusions about this fact here but I do think it warrants further discussion.

BV
Agreed BV. I remember a similar spate in the late-90s in the RAF (think there were 4 accidents in a month with 4 fatalities - sadly crew of 2 in 2 of the accidents). For the life of me I can't remember what the theories were at the time. I do wonder whether the reliance on synthetics has something to do with this, although clearly in the airline world it doesn't cause this, and in fact probably improves safety). Or maybe on a graph this is "just one of those blips" that happens - although the loss of life is never acceptable.

RIP and condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the pilot.
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 15:21
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The Eglin F-35 accident report actually uses the term, 'bewilderment factor'. These are very complex machines performing very complex missions. The systems designed to make it easier for the pilot sometimes do just the opposite. Basics, basics, basics.

But you're still dealing with a bell-curve of aviator capabilities to deal with complex machines, demanding missions and occasionally less than desirable C2.

Same true on the MX side.
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 15:48
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Condolences.

I cant help but think that COVID protocols are having a cumulative effect on readiness. I am not suggesting this a cause for this mishap, but in my world of work, we are seeing deferred training, deferred maintenance, more waivers for persons to do jobs because they have not been able to attend in person schools, more on-line learning (ok for some tasks, but not a ideal replacement for many classroom fundamentals), dramatically reduced face to face meetings, malaise and fatigue. Tough to measure, but incidents can be a lagging indicator.,



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Old 11th Dec 2020, 20:15
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To be honest guys, a pilot in a military aircraft has died,please forget about all your theories and what-nots,respect the fact that he has gone,You do not know the circumstances.do not guess, condolences to his family.He died doing a job he wanted to do.Respect and Blue Skies Sir.
Ex RAF rigger
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 16:52
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He died doing a job he wanted to do.
Exactly. I don't think he'd have cared either way what anybody says here. I've got 20+ years in fighters and generally tended not to listen much to what other people said anyway. Neither did my family and they were well aware of what was involved.

I cant help but think that COVID protocols are having a cumulative effect on readiness.
If that were the case, one would expect across the board effects. It hasn't shown up in AMC operations.

To put it somewhat colloquially, it may be that you've got the new aircraft (F-35) with the bugs still to be worked out....and the old aircraft (F-16, F-15) where the bugs have gotten back in.
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 17:18
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My condolences to the family and friends, blue skies and may you rest in peace, taken from those you loved and loved you far to early...
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 21:51
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Originally Posted by OK465 View Post
If that were the case, one would expect across the board effects. It hasn't shown up in AMC operations.
Two-pilot operations are inherently more resilient to errors rooted in inexperience and patchy currency, though. And synthetic training is capable of exercising a greater proportion of the heaviesí skill set than it is for high performance aircraft, where the absence of physiological stressors is a particular shortcoming of simulators.

Last edited by Easy Street; 13th Dec 2020 at 00:21.
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 12:29
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
Firstly may I offer my condolences to all who knew the pilot.

Secondly Iíd like to offer a thought on the perceived increase in the accident rate.

I think we can all see that there appear to be more than the average number of accidents recently. That alone is not what concerns me. It is the fact that in so many of the recent accidents there have been no survivors.

Iím not about to draw any conclusions about this fact here but I do think it warrants further discussion.

BV
Condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of this F-16 brother.

F-16 accidents world wide have claimed the life of historically many pilots this past year. 7 Class A mishaps - 6 dead pilots. Other platforms have seen their share of mishaps and losses too. F-15 in the North Sea, F-35B vs tanker, F-35 landing mishap. Having read some of the AIB reports, I find one topic missing in all of them. Supervision!

This report was released on the 1. december, and describes very we'll the challenges that US military aviation is dealing with. It is worth a read, and the problems highlighted are universal, and not US military only. Command world wide is challenging the amount of flying hours needed. And they don't get the fact that simulators can only supplement training, but never replace it.

https://www.militaryaviationsafety.g...nal_Report.pdf

But until high command and politicians changes the way business is done, I fear we will see many more accidents with loss of equipment and lifes. And even when they decide to make changes, I fear the damage has been done and it will take years to get back to how things used to be.

The following text is from a F-15 driver who took part in the flying the day of the F-15 North Sea mishap. It describes the challenges and shortcomings of training (or lack of it) very well.

Written after the tragic losses of Lt. ďKageĒ Allen (June 15th) and Lt. David Schmitz (June 30th)





I know. I know this is part of the job. I understand completely the risks. Completely.

And yet, I am 100% convinced that the most dangerous thing you can do to fighter pilots is fly them less, train them less, accept a lower bar that they must meet. And yet we do this...and have been doing this... for years.



I've been around a little while. I've seen the act..."FIGHTER PILOT CRISIS" ... as if the reaction to it is anything but. "Maximize production! Graduate students faster, with less time, and less training, and less undergraduate prep!"



"The (insert latest trendy technology) is in...you can virtually replicate real flying and fly each student less! Problem meet potential solution! Its amazing...we generate pilots XXX% faster and, and..." and WHAT!? Tell me!



Tell me how to replicate flight without flying? ...the walk-around in the scorching heat, the searing sounds, and the sweat-soaked earplugs in your ears. Tell me how to sim the strap in while you realize this is NOTHING like that first-flight sim you did yesterday. Tell me how to replicate how you feel: weighted down and already exhausted, your wingman's jet blast in your face, the gear on your body, the stress of the moment and its joy mixing around in your blood. Tell me how to replicate the cockpit...the glare and glint, the worn buttons, the vibrations, the noises (wtf was that!?), the smells, the cool familiar-odor oxygen flowing...hitting your wet face and somehow cooling your entire body; the pressure of the mask. Tell me how to replicate the Gs, the thrust, the G-strain, the grey out, the 'holy shit ease off!', the master cautions, the digging around in the bottomless map-case to look for your checklist; how its so difficult to find, because you actually have to fly the thing you are sitting in. Tell me how to replicate the sun, the weather, the stress, the chance of death, the risk, the breathing. Tell me how to replicate your heart-rate rise just before "turn in, fights on." Tell me how to replicate the merge, that want and NEED to win, knowing you're pushing your body and the jet faster, higher, tighter, slower, than you've ever had it and not being totally sure you will keep it together. Tell me how to replicate the loss...and the awful smile you know your wingman gives you under his mask in the BD check. Tell me how to replicate the 2 minutes you get each sortie where you actually get to look around at the world...when you realize that you are doing the one thing you always wanted to do for the 560th time ...the split second your give to your mind to think of your wife, your kids, your fear, your loss, your friend who died doing this exact same thing; then the rapid jerk back into the reality of task at hand, and you are again immersed. Tell me how to replicate the shocking feeling...the first realization that you finally have achieved awareness of the fight and the world around you; just like your old IP did as you stood agape in the debrief watching his tapes. Tell me how to replicate the night. How the whole world transforms into darkness and green glows...how the world closes in on you...how up can be down, and down can be up, and fast can be up, and slow can be down. Tell me how to replicate the way the world looks down through the scud layer, and how your shadow races over you when you flare, scaring the shit out of you...so you do it again. Tell me how to replicate landing...the last check over the threshold to make sure for the 15th time that your gear is down. The hope that you'll see the rabbits running through the '300 foot ceiling' below you, hoping that there really is earth down there. Tell me how to replicate the taxi back...how you're already thinking of your DFP, of how it went wrong, and what you'll talk about. Tell me how to replicate the shut down...and the wind hitting you after your crack the canopy open...the quiet walk in after the jets are asleep. The way the turbine blades clank as they slowly turn in a wind-blown motor as you walk by the spare. Tell me how to replicate the debrief, the stress, the pens, the realization you didn't know what you thought you knew. The thought that you should be better...better than this. Replicate the drive home, the thinking it over and over and over and over and over and over; the too-tired-to-talk-to-your-wife flop onto the bed. Tell me how the best fighter pilots in the world got to be so god damned good.



Tell me how to replicate the feeling I have right now when I see another nickel needs to be thrown. I'll tell you how to replicate that one...keep doing what we are doing. Keep flying us less and expecting us more, and you will do just that...replicate this tragedy over and over and over.



I don't want to hear about timelines, and graduation rates, and UTE, and PAI, or PAA. I don't want to hear about capacity, class seats, pipeline holdups, and training delays, or VR, UPTN or any virtual training anymore. I know that flying more makes fighter pilots better. Flying more in UPT, more in IFF...having an IFF, more in the B-Course, more in MQT, more in FLUG, more in IPUG, MCUG...MORE! How many fighter pilots have died from a loss of situational awareness, and lack of experience, or training? Iím not saying this most recent loss is a case of that...it will be some time until we know. I do know itís another tragedy.



This has been a really, really tough year. A nickel for you brother... I have you and the Gamblers close at hand.





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Old 13th Dec 2020, 15:40
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F-16 accidents world wide have claimed the life of historically many pilots this past year. 7 Class A mishaps - 6 dead pilots.
I may be in error, but in contrast as far as I can tell, I can find no Eurofighter Typhoon crashes fatal or otherwise this year. What is that attributable to?

Lack of reporting?, fewer hours flown, more hours flown?, less simulation, more simulation?, more supervision, less supervision, better supervision?, more experience, less experience?, less demanding employment, more demanding employment?, newer machine, mature machine?, better COVID protocols?

Better luck?
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 16:01
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Originally Posted by OK465 View Post
I may be in error, but in contrast as far as I can tell, I can find no Eurofighter Typhoon crashes fatal or otherwise this year. What is that attributable to?

Lack of reporting?, fewer hours flown, more hours flown?, less simulation, more simulation?, more supervision, less supervision, better supervision?, more experience, less experience?, less demanding employment, more demanding employment?, newer machine, mature machine?, better COVID protocols?

Better luck?
Obviously difficult to draw any conclusions from small sample size but the F15 and the Shaw F16 mishaps both seem to show the USAF maintaining a high level of ambition in the training of its junior pilots, which to my impression is not being matched by any Typhoon operator. Poor supervision and more demanding employment are potentially the same thing; trouble is, as long as a majority of group and squadron commanders cross their fingers and hope that their units escape mishap for a couple of years instead of down-declaring certain roles, a moment of reckoning will only come when some outside agency forces an assessment of the rising accident rate.

I'm also not a fan of the USAF's 'operational risk management' system, which applies a tick-box approach to sortie content and produces a score which indicates the level of authorisation required. For one thing it reduces the need for junior supervisors to think and judge for themselves, and they need to learn that somehow. For another it opens the possibility of a simple arithmetical or process error (as in the Shaw case) allowing something to proceed that clearly should not have. I know that some RAF units have dabbled in this approach but by and large supervision is predominantly still judgement-based. That's not to say that the UK approach is flawless; far from it in fact.

Last edited by Easy Street; 13th Dec 2020 at 17:29.
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 16:25
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Originally Posted by OK465 View Post
I may be in error, but in contrast as far as I can tell, I can find no Eurofighter Typhoon crashes fatal or otherwise this year. What is that attributable to?

Lack of reporting?, fewer hours flown, more hours flown?, less simulation, more simulation?, more supervision, less supervision, better supervision?, more experience, less experience?, less demanding employment, more demanding employment?, newer machine, mature machine?, better COVID protocols?

Better luck?
Not a Typhoon driver, so I don't have a clue how things are in their community, but I bet their high commands are challenging their numbers of flight hours as well. Wiki says 4 deadly crashes since 2017, last one in 2019 when the Germans suffered a mid air during ACM. 571 built total.
I think the Typhoon also have something like Auto GCAS, which might reduce the level of CFIT and SDO losses, which claimed a large amount of the F-16 and F-15 pilots lost this past year. Auto GCAS still not operational on all F-16 and to my knowledge not available for the F-15.

Completely agree with Easy Street on this one:

.....but the F15 and the Shaw F16 mishaps both seem to show a high level of ambition in the training of their junior pilots. Poor supervision and more demanding employment are potentially the same thing in this situation. Trouble is, as long as a majority of group and squadron commanders cross their fingers and hope that their units escape mishap for a couple of years instead of down-declaring certain roles,...
.....a moment of reckoning will only come when some outside agency forces an assessment of the rising accident rate.
Lets hope that moment came with the 1. december report.
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 16:29
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Trouble is, as long as a majority of group and squadron commanders cross their fingers and hope that their units escape mishap for a couple of years instead of....
A true statement, however....

I was in five different ANG/USAFR fighter units to the tune of 5800 hours and saw the entire spectrum of command styles, including the fingers crossed style. Over that 20+ years I only saw one fatal accident in any unit, one it happens with a very hands on command structure. The accident ultimately was attributable to Air Traffic Control during a four-ship breakup for individual approaches in the wx in any event, not command.

I preferred the less hands-on, less invasive command style, and I used that also, but I would have probably done things the way I wanted to and felt I needed to regardless of command style in place, and answered for it if required. Single-seat survival is a somewhat personal thing that involves being cognizant of your limitations at any given time. The best advice I ever got regarding this was from an crusty old F-100 dude, 'always leave yourself an out'.

edit:
I'm also not a fan of the USAF's operational risk management system, which applies a tick-box approach to sortie content
Ditto.
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