F-35B Crashes, Reportedly After Mid-Air w Tanker

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35_aoa

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Unread post03 Oct 2020, 06:09

spazsinbad wrote:Phew - glad you survived '35_aoa'. Hairy must have been that second one: "...Second was a bird I sucked up on short final at night in a Viper...." I guess the bird could not SEE & AVOID?! <sigh> MilJet aviation is not for the faint-hearted eh. 8)


Never heard or felt anything. It was apparently a small bird. Destroyed the PW motor though, only discovered during the daily inspection the next day. I gave it the standard post flight walk but that doesn't involve diving the duct with a flashlight of course.
Last edited by 35_aoa on 03 Oct 2020, 06:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post03 Oct 2020, 06:14

jessmo112 wrote:I have been told that during these kinds of mishaps the ground crew can be under as much scrutiny as the aur crew. I have heard of ground crews being sequestered, and tools counted, or at times not being able to talk to each other. Lets just say that some how something wasnt fastened on the Tanker and it flew off causing the incident. I could see that being significant.
I have a friend who was a crew chief or something and a bomb fell off of a loader. He talks about the entire crew being decertified. Do people without wings get a harsher treatmentm


Not just during "these kinds of mishaps".....any incident declared to be a mishap (A/B/C) will involve sealing the aircraft records, interviews with anyone in the maintenance chain involved with the mishap flight, and in a lot of instances will involve the same blood draw that the pilot/aircrew would incur to rule out substance use. Not a pleasant day for anyone involved, from the pilot, to the plane captain, to the folks doing the mx turn/daily, to the mx desk chief. All for a good reason, but they do a pretty thorough job leaving no stone un-turned during the investigation. This being a separate but concurrent process to any aviator FNAEB/FFPB or whatever the USAF calls their version.
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Unread post03 Oct 2020, 06:23

Ha. :D Thanks for the details. I wondered about how things went down. You may or may not know about my night rampstrike story in an A4G during my second approach (total night - first was judged whatever but a deck touch & go / roller without hook down - same for second approach) to HMAS Melbourne. Short field arrested back at NAS Nowra on the empty fuel tanks because undercarriage mangled (confirmed by a second A4G in flight). All warning lights lit except FIRE & luckily radio and flight control hydraulics OK but the rest was a mess. The higher ups did not appear to BAT AN EYELID.

There was no enquiry I knew about and none spoke to me except to say 'glad you made it back' and 'R U OK'. First major accident for our A4Gs back then in late 1971 so expected some flak. Of course my VF-805 mates would not let me forget but 'please sir I had only the required day deck landings plus a few extras' but otherwise no LSO complaints. So I guess apart from my story about it others involved must have had some complicated stories to tell - but no one told me. :roll:

Took about one year to fix the 'fuselage bent' A4G and of course replace the U/C, underwing tanks etc. and I flew on to eventually night DL qualify - but we mostly day deck landed - and no further dramas onboard. Part of the joy of NavAv.
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Unread post03 Oct 2020, 11:20

spazsinbad wrote:Ha. :D Thanks for the details. I wondered about how things went down. You may or may not know about my night rampstrike story in an A4G during my second approach (total night - first was judged whatever but a deck touch & go / roller without hook down - same for second approach) to HMAS Melbourne. Short field arrested back at NAS Nowra on the empty fuel tanks because undercarriage mangled (confirmed by a second A4G in flight). All warning lights lit except FIRE & luckily radio and flight control hydraulics OK but the rest was a mess. The higher ups did not appear to BAT AN EYELID.

There was no enquiry I knew about and none spoke to me except to say 'glad you made it back' and 'R U OK'. First major accident for our A4Gs back then in late 1971 so expected some flak. Of course my VF-805 mates would not let me forget but 'please sir I had only the required day deck landings plus a few extras' but otherwise no LSO complaints. So I guess apart from my story about it others involved must have had some complicated stories to tell - but no one told me. :roll:

Took about one year to fix the 'fuselage bent' A4G and of course replace the U/C, underwing tanks etc. and I flew on to eventually night DL qualify - but we mostly day deck landed - and no further dramas onboard. Part of the joy of NavAv.



Ill never understand why most navy guys wont simply ditch the airframe and eject over water rather than risk the lives of people on the ship and damage to equipment.
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Unread post03 Oct 2020, 12:11

“I’ll never understand why most navy guys wont simply ditch the airframe and eject over water rather than risk the lives of people on the ship and damage to equipment.“

‘...never understand...’

Have you ever asked?
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Unread post03 Oct 2020, 12:46

I'll ask for 'jessmo112': "Ill never understand why most navy guys wont simply ditch the airframe and eject over water rather than risk the lives of people on the ship and damage to equipment."

Answer: In my instance there was no risk because I short field arrested back at NAS Nowra - Naval Air Station Nowra - otherwise known as HMAS Albatross. NATOPS later at least for the TA-4J (USN training aircraft) said NOT to arrest at night on drop tanks (I guess because students had not much experience at that time in their training) not sure if the A4G/A-4F NATOPS was so amended. Anyway that was a piece of cake compared to one's first night deck landing - oh the horror.

The TA-4J recommendation for my situation was land on empty drop tanks on a foamed runway (no time for foam for me).

To ANSWER in a general sense requires too many assumptions about whys/wherefores. NATOPS for a particular Naval Aircraft (written in blood) will say what to do in most circumstances. Download a copy of a particular NATOPS to get some answers for particular circumstances. Then ask yourself: On a cold, very windy black night would you - of your own free will - unnecessarily - eject yourself over water, when you could have quite easily landed ashore or back on the carrier given particular favourable conditions otherwise. I'm told the first night barricade arrest was made by an RAN FAA Sea Venom aboard HMAS Melbourne (no LSOs then) running short of fuel in difficult night weather conditions and no bingo.

BINGO means enough fuel to get safely to a land airfield to land OR can mean get to another carrier if 'mother' carrier not serviceable at the time. The RAN had only one carrier for jet aircraft - so this was never an option. So it goes - on and on.
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Unread post03 Oct 2020, 13:28

I would add that any decision to risk the ship, it’s personnel or other aircraft or equipment are ultimately made by the ship’s CO with substantial inputs/recommendations from the Air Boss, the LSO, the CAG, and the squadron CO. There are also standard procedures and practice outlined in ships operating bulletins and NATOPS. Serious stuff...
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Unread post03 Oct 2020, 13:56

Quite Agree. My reply was just about the pilot perspective. AFAIK IIRC Naval Aircraft are 'captained' by the pilot who has ultimate say in the disposition of the aircraft. HOWEVER all the caveats outlined by 'QS' above apply (especially in the USN). HOWEVER (except for landing onboard where the captain of the carrier has the ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY) a naval pilot can follow own judgement for a better outcome - he/she hopes. Heaven help them if by not following advice a worse result follows. Then one is on one's own - much like the captain of a ship takes the ultimate responsibility for their ship.

A good story about 'not following 'orders'' was a Sea Venom formation of two attempting to land at NAS Nowra in bad weather daytime. Commander Air in the tower 'ordered' them to go out to sea and eject. Leader of formation faked a radio problem to take the formation out to sea then get below cloud (when over water) follow the Shoalhaven River to Nowra township to turn onto runway heading 210, staying below low cloud to successfully land the formation on RW 21 in atrocious weather with minimum fuel. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall in Commander Air's office after; but the formation leader went on to better and brighter pilot accomplishments. He was responsible & he saved two Sea Venoms.
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Unread post04 Oct 2020, 06:31

Fuel tanker pilot praised for keeping crew safe after mid-air collision with F-35
01 Oct 2020 Julie Watson

"SAN DIEGO — The pilot of a fuel tanker showed impressive skills when he touched down safely in a remote area of California and prevented injuries among the seven other crew members after a mid-air collision with a fighter jet, a Marine Corps official and safety aviation expert said Wednesday. It was unclear what happened to cause the F-35B to collide with the KC-130J tanker in the late afternoon Tuesday, said 1st Lt. Brett Vannier, a spokesman at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.

The fighter jet was refueling when the collision occurred. The pilot ejected successfully from the F-35B. The tanker pilot landed the big aircraft on its belly in a field near the desert town of Thermal. “It was an impressive maneuver bringing it down safely by force,” Vannier said. “His skills kind of speak to itself just in the fact that everyone survived.”...

...Mid-air refueling “on any airplane in the fighter world is something that pilots learn to do in their training command. It’s a basic thing,” Field [Aviation safety consultant and retired Marine Corps Col. Pete Field, a former director of the Naval Test Pilot School] said. “This shouldn’t have been done badly.” Often the blame lies with the jet pilot who can approach a tanker too quickly or can get too close and not be able to compensate, Field said. But that is highly unusual with today’s radar systems and a sophisticated plane like the F-35B. The crash also occurred during the day when visibility should have been good. Field wondered how much experience the pilot had on the F-35B, a complicated plane...."

Source: https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/y ... with-f-35/
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