Pilot faulted in crash of F-16 at Nellis

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Unread post30 Jun 2005, 18:51

This is a discussion topic for the F-16.net news article: "<a href="news_article1407.html" target="_top">Pilot faulted in crash of F-16 at Nellis</A>". You can read the <a href="index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=3405.html" target="_top">full forum discussion</A> in the F-16.net forum.

There is also a <a href="f-16_forum_viewtopic-t-2535.html">forum thread with earlier speculations</a> on the crash.
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IDCrewDawg

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Unread post30 Jun 2005, 19:01

:doh: Bet that hurts the paycheck!
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Purplehaze

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Unread post30 Jun 2005, 19:09

That's going to leave a mark...

Purple
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falcon-watcher

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Unread post30 Jun 2005, 19:14

...the pilot failed to follow standard F-16 operations procedures by allowing items, including a large metal briefcase, to be strapped in the unoccupied rear cockpit seat. A maintenance specialist strapped these items in the rear seat, with the pilot’s permission...


What do you guys think of this?
  • Have you ever heard of something like this before?
  • Is it typical?
  • What about travel pods (what determines their usage)?
  • Who is to really blame here and who will be blamed?
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falconfixer860261

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Unread post30 Jun 2005, 20:40

Well the pilot is to blame but in my mind the maintainer bears some responsibility too. I would have refused to do things like that and have done so before. If the pilot decides to strap that in himself that is his choice but if I decide it is too dangerous then I will kick up a storm to my boss and see what happens. If everyone decides it's okay then that's their call. But if the jets goes down then I'll testify the truth at the AIB and tell them I recommended against the non-standard procedure.

It only take a few minutes to hang a travel pod.
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MKopack

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Unread post30 Jun 2005, 21:15

I'll admit that my first reaction on reading the part of the accident report that was released was *@$%!, but I'll censor myself...

Falconfixer860261 is right in saying that the maintainer bears at least some of the responsibility as well. I'm sure that the AF will share the responsibility around. It does just take a few minutes to hang a travel pod, sure it's a hassle, but it sure beats this... That having been said, in the past I have seen some amazing loads strapped into aircraft on cross country trips.

Damn, I hate to see things like this. Stay safe out there guys.
Mike
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56TTW/63TFTS 1987-1989
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falcon-watcher

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Unread post01 Jul 2005, 00:19

When hanging a travel pod, do you have to do them in pairs? In other words, do you have to put something on the other wing or can you leave it clean? If you don't put another pod on the other wing, what else can you put if needed?

In this crash, perhaps the case was too large for the pod? Does that factor go into the decision by some to put crap in the backseat?

And if there is nobody in the backseat (nobody to pull the handle), does it stay in the plane as it goes down? Can the pilot eject the backseat and vice versa?
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VPRGUY

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Unread post01 Jul 2005, 03:23

falcon-watcher wrote:When hanging a travel pod, do you have to do them in pairs? In other words, do you have to put something on the other wing or can you leave it clean? If you don't put another pod on the other wing, what else can you put if needed?

In this crash, perhaps the case was too large for the pod? Does that factor go into the decision by some to put crap in the backseat?

And if there is nobody in the backseat (nobody to pull the handle), does it stay in the plane as it goes down? Can the pilot eject the backseat and vice versa?



There is no requirement at all to hang something on the other side if you put a travel pod on the wing; at Eglin we sent many airplanes out with only one pod, some with two, and now and then one went with three (but that was rare).
I doubt the case was too large for the travel pod; if it was, it wouldn't have fit into the backseat very readily, either. I'm guessing the briefcase went into the backseat either a) there was a travel pod, and it was just full of other stuff; or b) the briefcase was all he was carrying, and putting it into a pod all by its lonesome would have left it free to shift around too much, and could have caused damage to itself (but not as much as banging an airplane on the ground). Personally I see no problem at all with sticking something in the backseat, IF you strap it down, and it doesn't have any small parts to come off and FOD out the cockpit, but thats just my opinion.

As far as an empty back seat staying in the airplane; if the pilot doesn't flip the 'arming handle' off 'safe' on the rear seat, it'll stay put. Plus the back seat has an 'ejection mode select handle' (I think thats the name, can't remember off the top of my head) that lets the GIB select the ejection mode. Among others there is an option for one guy to pull the handle and both seats go (back first, regardless of who pulled the handle).
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Unread post03 Jul 2005, 20:35

Just exactly like I have been saying all along; the mechanics incentive ride program always sounded like a good deal to me. Even though I was just a Reservist going TDY training at Nellis last time in 1989; I still want my incentive ride with the 57th, hell I'll even ride the Bull in and try for the 8 SECOND ride before punching or at least until the Pilot orders it instead of a stupid brief case.
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Unread post05 Jul 2005, 08:59

I'm just curious how one straps something down to the seat... I'd like to see details, or even better, pictures from someone who has done it or has seen it done before.

Please don't say that you use the seat belt because anyone who has seen the system knows thats not going to work (well). In my view it would be better and easy to strap something to the tail hook than the ejection seat... Also if the "brief case" was infact strapped down than how is it going to move FWD and to the left on take off? Something seems fishy here...
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Unread post06 Jul 2005, 05:40

The jet had two travel pods attached, both of which were full. There was no room left for this stuff, so they put it in the back seat. Guess the golf clubs were too important to leave behind.
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Unread post06 Jul 2005, 07:21

I've never seen the cockpit of a B/D before. How is it setup so that something like a brief case can slide between the seat and the wall to hit the throttle? And how would the pilot not notice the brief case there?

-Aaron
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swanee

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Unread post06 Jul 2005, 07:27

The maintainer didn't put the jet in the wrong place to land. FFO is something that is trained constantly. An IP at the Weapons School shouldn't have a problem judging where to put the plane nor should he have a problem being about to lead by example and put the airplane on the ground safely.

So there are 2 parts to the story. One, the brief case probably shouldn't have been there. (Though I do know that many guys were/are guilty of doing this) Two, the pilot should have been able to bring the airplane down safely, especially since he was an IP at FWS. Those guys can't make mistakes, especially one so public that results in the loss of an airframe over a twenty dollar briefcase. I really wouldn't want to be in his shoes. I am sure it cost him his job at Nellis, and possibly his promotion.
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Unread post22 Jul 2005, 15:02

I know the pilot and have spoken with him. He couldnt make the runway because he couldnt jettison the tanks. There were houses around him (where he was) and he didnt want to risk killing anyone. He thought that he would be able to but when setting up for his SFO, he saw that it wouldnt be safe. He shouldnt have put the brief case there but you guys know that line. Nellis commander already had a recent crash and was looking for any reason to pin this to him. You guys know as well as I do that they can fault you no matter if its your fault or not.
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Unread post22 Jul 2005, 15:54

I certainly don't want to criticize the pilot, Vegas 61, however, I think the situation is a little more complicated than the last post indicates. From the accident report released to the public:

The second phase of the mishap sequence goes to the basics of single seat, single-engine ainnanship. The MP is a highly-experienced Weapons School instructor pilot with 1,480 flight hours in the F-16. It is my opinion that although this was an extremely taxing emergency, both physically and mentally, with very little precedent in the annals of F-16 history, given his experience, the MP should have been able to accomplish the emergency checklist procedures, shutdown the engine and perfonn a successful flameout landing. Scenarios such as this are a basic skill, practiced by F-16 pilots on a frequent basis. Failure to transfer the engine to secondary control (SEC) in a timely manner led to increased task loading and
dramatically reduced the time available to deal with the situation. It led to poor in-flight analysis and rapid fuel consumption, which resulted in fuel starvation and loss of engine thrust due to a stall/stagnation when the aircraft was not in a position to glide, as configured, to the runway.

This emergency was a very difficult situation to handle. The F -16 in full AB has a tremendous amount of thrust and the only way to keep the aircraft reasonably slow (i.e., less than 500 knots) was for the MP to trade airspeed for altitude, and then use drag induced by lateral acceleration, such as by "pulling Gs" in a series of hard turns, to bleed off the airspeed. The MP's initial actions were right on target, as he turned back toward the runway from which he had just departed, and "zoomed" the MA up to an altitude that would allow a power-off landing in the event of engine failure. However, once he had attempted brute force to free the throttle, and rotated the throttle grip outboard with the cutoff switch engaged to try to pull the throttle out of AB, the MP should have immediately placed the engine in SEC mode, terminating AB operation at the main fuel control. The in-flight emergency checklist includes this step, and although the MP undoubtedly had his hands full just keeping the MA at a reasonable speed, he should have accomplished this step even before the checklist was referenced. Previously, the MP's wingman recommended going to SEC, however, this radio call either wasn't heard or wasn't processed. The MP eventually transferred to SEC, but the delay caused significant time compression and caused a trapped fuel situation that resulted in an engine stall/stagnation while the MP was preparing for a planned engine shutdown and flameout approach.

In accordance with the checklist, the MP was attempting to hold near, or over the runway at an altitude that ensured a "one-to-one" ratio of miles to the runway versus altitude in thousands of feet above ground level. For most of the mishap sequence, the MP remained in a good position. There was discussion between the MP and the supervisor of flying (SOF) about whether and where to jettison external stores. Due to the low fuel state caused by excessive time in AB, the MP elected not to go to the designated
jettison area, (Jettison Hill) as it would take him away from the field and the one-to-one ratio he was trying to maintain. After deciding to shut down the engine at the main fuel shutoff valve, the MP began a turn away from the runway to align himself for the straight-in flameout approach. As he began this turn, the engine began to stall and lose thrust due to fuel starvation. The MP did not notice the impending engine failure, as he was looking outside the cockpit to align for the approach. As a result, with the MA
pointed away from the runway, his airspeed began to decay well below the minimum recommended for his flameout approach. As soon as he realized the engine was not operating, the MP increased his bank angle and nose low attitude to more quickly align with the runway, but this cost precious altitude and potential energy for the approach. The MP's radio transmissions to the tower while on final approach indicate that he realized he was "giving up a lot of energy," and that he was "too slow." Had the MP
jettisoned his external stores immediately after the engine stalled/stagnated, it is possible he would have glided the additional 1,700 feet that the MA crashed short of the runway overrun. Alternatively, if the
MP had accurately flown the altitude and airspeed parameters that he had calculated for his perceived aircraft weight and configuration (approximately 40 knots faster than he actually flew), he may have been able to make the runway. The weight of the trapped fuel and the drag of the external tanks precluded a successful landing given the parameters the MP was flying. External stores jettison prior to, or during the approach, would have significantly reduced drag and lightened the MA, possibly providing the glide ratio necessary to complete a successful flameout approach and landing.


Well, hindsight is always 20/20, I guess...
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