March 22, 2006 (by ACCNS) - A maintainer's failure to control the nose landing gear pin streamer during removal from an F-22A allowed the pin to be ingested into the right engine Oct. 20, 2005 prior to a mission at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, according to an aircraft accident investigation report released today.
An F-22A Raptor sits on the flightline during a Phase 1 exercise at Langley AFB on Jan. 31 2006. The operational readiness evaluation evaluates the 1st Fighter Wing's ability to prepare and deploy personnel, equipment and support assets to a combat environment. [USAF photo by SrA Austin Knox]
There were no injuries in the incident and damage to the right engine totaled approximately $6.7 million.
The aircraft is assigned to the 27th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing. It had been at Langley for three months, flying a total of 47 hours.
At the time of the incident, the pilot had started engines before a night surface attack tactics mission. The crew chief then realized the nose landing gear pin was still in and instructed the pilot to shut down the left engine so he could remove the pin. During removal, the crew chief failed to control the pin's streamer allowing it to be caught in the suction intake of the operating right engine and torn from his hand.
Investigators concluded failure to remove the pin prior to engine start was a direct result of inadequate and incorrect technical order guidance that led to the pin remaining installed during engine start.
"It was an accident," said First Lt. Daniel Goldberg, spokesman for Air Combat Command at Langley. "It's a new plane. As we work along, we're going to try to find out any problems."
The crew, making its first deployment with the jet, was preparing for a high-altitude night training mission when the accident occurred.
Investigators found that the pilot and mechanic had acted correctly. The pilot, Maj. Evan Dertien , is described as "a highly experienced fighter pilot" and a graduate of the Air Force's competitive test pilot school. The mechanic was unnamed in the report.
Investigators blamed the accident on an inadequate and incomplete training manual. They said the manual fails to instruct mechanics on the proper procedure for pulling the nose landing-gear pin while the engines are running. The manual will be amended.