Thunderbird F-16 down near Colorado Springs

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VarkVet

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 06:58

Thunderbird F-16 goes down near Colorado springs

The leading edge flaps are down so he didn't have weight on wheels. Probably not an engine anomaly either as the motor doesn't appear to have transferred to SEC.

Only other issue I can think of is the asymmetry brakes locked out the LEFs at an extreme position where landing the jet would be risky. Colorado Springs has thin air.

Thoughts?

thunderbird-crash-colorado-2016-003.jpg
Brennan Linsley, The Associated Press

thunderbird-crash-colorado-2016-002.jpg
Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
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35_aoa

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 07:24

Without more info, I'd say it could probably have been anything. In my short time flying the thing, I've had enough engine issues (to include a class C bird ingestion/strike that destroyed my motor), I'd not discount that. If it landed that way, I doubt it was FLCS or HYD related.

As an unrelated to mishap aside, I am pretty surprised that a Major, particularly on the T-bird team, only has 1200 hours of flight time. I left my first operational tour as an O-3 with more than that.
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Lieven

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 08:53

Here's a picture of Alex "Tuna" Turner firing up his jet in preparation for the 2016 United States Air Force Academy graduation flyover:


Alex 'Tuna' Turner fires up his jet in preparation for the 2016 United States Air Force Academy graduation flyover. [Photo by Anthony Cornelius]
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Patriot

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 10:26

VarkVet wrote:Probably not an engine anomaly either as the motor doesn't appear to have transferred to SEC.


How can you tell actually there were no SEC motor mode apllied? EPU doors are not visible from upper side of the fuselage... ? right? If he switched to SEC the the infamous hydrazine kicks in right?
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mischieviouscrewcheivious

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 11:44

If it had transferred to SEC the exhaust nozzle would be in its closed position.
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thadutchman

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 14:36

Not to take away from this indecent, it seems we lost birds from both Demo teams on the same day. F-18 went down as well an hour apart. Both birds were #6:

https://theaviationist.com/2016/06/02/i ... -same-day/
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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 15:17

Two things: The aircraft EPU operation and SEC mode on the engine have nothing to do with each other, The engine nozzle on a Pratt engine is always in a "mostly" closed AJ position during flight except when augmentor is sequencing or gear handle down.
In primary mode the engine DEEC schedules the nozzle <20% closed when the gear handle is down the DEEC then enables reduced idle thrust and opens the nozzle. If the throttle is advanced above idle the nozzle will then schedule closed.

Transferring to SEC fully closes the nozzle when the landing gear handle is down thus disabling reduced idle thrust, therefore if the engine was operating is PRI or SEC the nozzle should look closed in flight.
The fact that the nozzle is open was the first thing that concerned me about the photo. With the aircraft and engine mostly intact this investigation will have a lot to work with.
Last edited by desertdog on 03 Jun 2016, 17:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 16:11

^^ Forgot about nozzle in flight ... he may have put EPU in off, shut the motor down, banged out for a controlled augur-in
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Gums

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 16:30

Salute!

The wreckage looks just like 013 except for the broken nose. Seems the Viper almost always breaks right at that place just behind the seat/cockpit, hmmm. Maybe John Will can comment.

013 was "ejected " from the pilot at a similar low altitude when gliding and gear down. Pilot had run outta gas and was deadstick the sucker onto a dirt road. So the FLCS and hydraulics kept the wings level ( no roll command) and the thing trimmed up to max AoA for gear down ( what? 17 or 18 degrees?). Plane made hard landing and broke one main gear and slithered to a stop with EPU still firing and strobe flashing!!! Plane was used as a maintenance trainer last I heard.

The aysmmetry brakes didn't work on my flaps or the next two/three. The pictured flaps look like a bit morethan normal leading edge down, but within reson for the hard landing and gear handle down. Ditto the nozzles in the RIT position.

So my intitial proposal is engine failure due to a) engine itself, or b) no gas.

Pilot looks like he realized he wouldn't make rwy ( maybe a mile and half away) and had enuf height to clear the last road and homes before punching ( good pic from a motorist, amd I have driven that road myself).

Gums sends...
Last edited by Gums on 03 Jun 2016, 18:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Lieven

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 16:48

Gums wrote:Pilot looks like he realized he wouldn't make rwy ( maybe a mile and half away) and had enuf height to clear the last road and homes before punching ( good pic from a motorist, amd I have driven that road myself).


Thanks for sharing your opinion Gums. Very insightful, as always. Here is two pics provided by KKTV:

13310465_10153537621260824_5934124171036636117_n.jpg
Photo via KKTV


13305148_10209070442061322_5271205647009200848_o.jpg
Photo via KKTV
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jetblast16

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 18:12

Flame-out? Looks like the aircraft made a belly flop landing (pilotless) with gear up, and slid its way to a stop. At least the pilot is safe and no one on the ground was injured.
Bringing BLAST since 2004...(In my opinion)
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Gamera

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 19:16

Before the editors here ask the usual question... about S/N...

http://us.airliners.net/photo/USA---Air ... 3092e8b4b3

Reportedly, Thunderbird #6 was 92-3896 on 7 June 2015.

http://us.airliners.net/photo/USA---Air ... 3092e8b4b3

But it was 92-3888 on 15 March 2015.

So the current #6 can be either or none of these two.
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johnwill

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Unread post03 Jun 2016, 22:46

Gums wrote:Salute!

The wreckage looks just like 013 except for the broken nose. Seems the Viper almost always breaks right at that place just behind the seat/cockpit, hmmm. Maybe John Will can comment.



With so little apparent damage done to the fuselage aft of the inlet, the airplane must have landed smoothly nose up. So when the nose flopped down, the inlet structure supported the fuselage, leaving the cockpit area cantilevered out, unsupported. The highest stresses would be right where it broke.
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Gums

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Unread post04 Jun 2016, 00:17

Salute!

TNX. John Boy. I always wondered. First one I saw was a nugget that caught a crosswind gust and did not go àround and rolled. They had to use jaws of life to get him out.

More I look at map, he may have been on base leg. Option two was landing on Powers , but traffic was the problem.

Gums sends....

P.S. edit update
My old roomie that lives there has told me that #6 was in normal base turn with the other Birds and then "cough, cough" errrr,,,,,, and punches. We should be glad they were using the north rwy, as landing to the south would have been a lot worse. Just look at the map on Google. Plane hit just north of Fontaine about a half mile east of Powers.

Secondly, the terrain rises where he punched. The final resting place may look level but the inpact was possibly a hundred feet or more below the rwy alt.
Gums
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Unread post04 Jun 2016, 06:02

Wow :shock: Flame out is very logical with new info received.

Sorry for my dramatic CNN breaking news drivel. :D

Speculation ... it's not good, but it's what we do!
My eyes have seen the glory of the Lord and the esthetics of the Flightline
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