Skip to comments.2013 F/A-18 crash: Out of fuel, out of time and one chance to land
Posted on 04/12/2014 5:47:40 AM PDT by Timber Rattler
The aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower was finally in sight.
The pilot of the F/A-18 Super Hornet hurriedly flipped switches and pushed levers. The aviator in the backseat leaned forward, straining to see the flight deck floating in the distance. The jets right engine had locked up, its landing gear jammed, the main fuel tank almost empty.
The pilot made some quick calculations. He had 15,500 pounds of fuel in his tanks, enough to return to the Eisenhower and make six passes at the ship.
Landing in nearby Kandahar was a more prudent option, but that would likely have meant several days or more awaiting repairs. The Eisenhowers air wing commander had decided earlier not to put a maintenance detachment in Afghanistan a cost-saving measure pilots perceived as a signal they should attempt to divert back to the ship whenever possible.
About the story: This report was based on an investigation into the April 8, 2013, crash of an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Names and other identifying details were redacted from the report, which was obtained by The Virginian-Pilot through a Freedom of Information Act request. The report cited questionable decision making by the pilot but did not recommend disciplinary action.
(Excerpt) Read more at stripes.com ...
Seems to me that the root of the original chain of bad decisions was the failure to station a Maintenance Det in Afghganistan to save money and to encourage aviators in trouble to try and make it back to their carriers. So, here they lost a $50 million Super Hornet and nearly their lives because of financial shenanigans in Washington.
Seems to me that our government’s main mission is to provide defense for our country. It follows that we should have people in place,from the Commander-in-Chief on down,with military experience. This is vital,but doesn’t seem to be the case this time.
Two seat Hornet = Marines or a Growler. Carrier aviation is a high risk occupation. Running out of gas is always a pilot error.
Why doesn’t our govt ever try to save money by, say, cutting handouts to the slimy takers of society - those born on BOTH sides of our southern border???
“The jet had flown more than 400 miles, two-thirds of the way back to the ship, when the aviators noticed another problem.”
Glad their safe. I don’t blame it on anybody. I was a green shirt for a month ... not long by anybodies standard, but I don’t question their decision. If both made it back alive, then It was a good decision in my book.
<> Running out of gas is always a pilot error.<>
You don’t know wtf you are talking about.
I highly recommend reading the article. If nothing else, it will save you making a fool of yourself the next time.
I couldn’t read the rest of this. You’re spot on.
The incident could have resulted in loss of crew, all consequent to a major command error in logistics, which I can only assume extends all the way up the chain back to the Pentagon since they only assigned blame on the pilot. They simply chose to ignore the problem.
The proof is the lack of disciplinary action.
Why am I not surprised...
Footnote: At least some still care enough
THat’s not what he’s really saying. He’s saying the pilot might not likely fly a high performance jet for the military anymore. Which is more than likely true. At least that’s how I read his comment.
Unexpected turbulence is sometimes a polite way of saying “he screwed up”. Doesn’t have to be the case, but the Navy frowns upon pilots who lose their aircraft.
F/A 18’s don’t have any gas.
How many aircraft did John McCain lose?
You dont know wtf you are talking about.
I had a friend with whom I had flown as his co-pilot. He ran out of fuel, tried an autorotation to the sea, hit hard, aircraft broke up and everyone was killed. While on a routine training mission in Okinawa he was diverted to an outlining island for a passenger pickup. When the passenger was boarding the crew chief was heard to say, "Hurry up we are low on fuel".
Classic pilot error, right? Mostly, yes. However, the squadron commander demanded "drill team" precision and punctuality for each aircraft meeting launch and recovery times, even down to requiring the senior pilot on a multi-plane launch to do a countdown to synchronized rotor brake release. The commander's other insistence was that "You will make your 'chock time' (return to base)."
Without that command pressure, probably the pilot would have taken the delay and refueled. Yes, the pilot in command is responsible. However, the command authority has the responsibility to create an environment that promotes wise decisions on the part of the pilots.
Second incident. Another friend was possibly the last US military man killed in the Vietnam war. In 1975, during the fall of Saigon, his helicopter carrier was off-shore receiving the fleeing South Vietnamese helos full of escaping military and civilians.
The Vietnamese Hueys would land and unload their passengers. If there was time, radios and other useful component were yanked out before the Huey was shoved over the side due to insufficient deck space. My buddy was flying "plane guard", orbiting to one side of the ship to rescue anyone in a helo that did not have enough fuel to make it safely to the flight deck.
He had been flying for 12-13 hours, refueling when necessary. Night had fallen and he had tried to refuel again, only to be bumped by an incoming Huey flying on fumes. He continues to orbit, then one time, they did not come around.
Disorientation at night over water?
Flame out after fuel exhaustion?
Who knows. But please, DO NOT call that "pilot error".
You don’t know what you’re talking about. Unless the ARB can prove the jet was broken in some way, the pilot gets the blame for running out of gas.
Hey numbnuts, read the column.
I count two pilot errors, that might have been the result of poor training. I also count two command errors. So, who is at fault? The command authority, the training system, or the pilot?
My take? I am appalled at the command decisions and the lack of pilot knowledge of the aircraft due to lack of training.
A good landing is when the pilot and all passengers can walk away.
A great landing is when you can use the airplane again.
They should have the team, which is investigating MH370, solve the investigation...
Seems the root of the prob was the pilot didn’t want 2 days of maint and lost a zillion dollar aircraft!
Enough to be a reverse ace.