Defense

July 3, 2012

Navy releases investigation results of F/A-18D crash

Tags:
by PO2 Ernest R. Scott
Oceana, Va.

Rear Adm. Ted Branch, commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, addresses the public regarding the results of its Judge Advocate General Manual investigation of the F/A-18D Hornet that crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach on April 6. The aircraft, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 and based at Naval Air Station Oceana, was conducting a scheduled training exercise when it suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure shortly after takeoff and crashed into the Mayfair Mews Apartment Complex.

Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic released the results today of its Judge Advocate General Manual investigation in to the crash of an F/A-18D into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach, Va., April 6.

The F/A-18D, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106 and based at Naval Air Station Oceana, was conducting a scheduled training exercise when it suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure shortly after takeoff and crashed into the Mayfair Mews apartment complex in Virginia Beach.

“I know the process has been challenging for some, especially those who lost their homes and personal belongings,” said Rear Adm. Ted Branch, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic. “But we are all incredibly fortunate that the crash, which occurred on Good Friday, resulted in zero loss of life.”

The recovery process was a team effort between Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and Virginia Beach first-responders who quickly began helping the affected residents. Branch said the emergency response cooperation between the city of Virginia Beach and the Navy is a testament to the close-working relationship that has developed over the years.

“I would like to add my thanks to everyone who acted so quickly to assist our aircrew, treat the injured citizens, and help ensure that all residents of the Mayfair Mews complex were safely evacuated,” said Branch. “This exceptional response almost certainly prevented further injury, and perhaps death, to affected citizens and aircrew, and more widespread property damage.”

The Navy has spent the past several weeks conducting a detailed investigation into the crash to learn what went wrong and how to minimize the chance of such an event from happening in the future.

“The aircrew followed their procedures, but given the cascading series of problems and lack of thrust and altitude, continued controlled flight was not possible,” said Branch. “It is our view that the aircrew’s assessments were reasonable given the initial indications, and their actions were in accordance with training and procedure.”

The JAGMAN investigation found that the crash occurred as a result of two significant, unrelated engine malfunctions, the first at takeoff and the second shortly after takeoff. The right engine failed due to ingestion of fuel into the right intake. The left engine afterburner failed to light when selected by the pilot after the right engine malfunction. Post-mishap analysis indicates the likely cause was failure of an electrical component, but several of the suspected components were damaged beyond the point of conclusive analysis in the crash and subsequent fire.

“While I recognize that these gaps are less than satisfying, we have a high degree of confidence in the F/A-18 airframe, and in the F404-GE-400 engine in the legacy Hornet,” said Branch. “The U.S. Navy has been flying the F/A-18 Hornet for more than 30 years, and we have found it to be an extremely safe and reliable aircraft.”

According to the Naval Safety Center, there has been a steady decline in the overall mishap rate for Naval Aircraft, and the Hornet mishap rate has followed this trend. The Naval Safety Center’s data indicate that the reliability of F404-GE-400 engine has been exceptionally good over the life of the F/A-18 program.

“We are confident that we can continue to conduct safe operations with the F/A-18, both here in Virginia Beach, and around the world,” said Branch. “Our concern is not just for our pilots and aircrew, but for our community. We operate every day with this in mind, and we are focused every day on ensuring that we have the best aircraft, operated by the best aircrew, conducting safe operations – we can accept nothing less.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines November 26, 2014

News: When Hagel leaves, new SecDef faces big questions about the military’s futureĀ - President Obama’s new pick to run the Pentagon will face a dizzying set of challenges affecting the Defense Department’s mission, budget and culture. Who will be the next Secretary of Defense?- Following the Nov. 24 surprise announcement from the White House, the...
 
 

News Briefs November 26, 2014

Navy to decommission two more ships in Puget Sound The Navy recently decommissioned the guided missile frigate USS Ingraham at Everett, Wash. It will be towed to Bremerton and scrapped. The Daily Herald reports the Navy also plans to decommission another ship at the Everett homeport and also one stationed in Bremerton. Naval Station Everett...
 
 

NASA airborne campaigns tackle climate questions from Africa to Arctic

NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into how different aspects of the interconnected Earth system influence climate change. NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 

Northrop Grumman supports U.S. Air Force Minuteman missile test launch

Northrop Grumman recently supported the successful flight testing of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system. The operational flight test was conducted as part of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s Force Development Evaluation Program. This program demonstrates and supports assessment of the accuracy, availability and reliability of the...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>