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August 12, 2013

News Briefs August 12, 2013

Air Force: Electrical wire caused F-22 crash

The U.S. Air Force said Aug. 9 that a chafed electrical wire caused an F-22 Raptor fighter jet to crash near Tyndall Air Force Base in November.

The Air Command Accident Investigation Board, based in Langley, Va., determined that the chafed wire let to an internal fire in the accessory bay of the radar-evading, stealth jet.

The pilot ejected safely.

The jet that went down was leading a training mission with another jet.

According to the board’s findings, the fire damaged the hydraulic system and caused the pilot to be unable to control the jet.

The military estimated the total damage from the crash to be around $150 million. The figure includes damage to the jet and clean up on the ground.

The single-seat jet went down near a remote section of Panhandle highway. No one on the ground was injured, and the pilot had no serious injuries.

ìThe fire compromised critical electrical and hydraulic systems that control the F-22 flight control surfaces and let to an unrecoverable situation,î investigators said.

Investigators also determined that weather contributed the crash. Investigators said a solid cloud layer blocked the pilot’s view of the ground and affected the radar.

The Air Force said lessons have been learned because of the crash. F-22 maintenance crews are doing recurring inspections of all F-22 jets and officials plan permanent changes to some parts that were involved in the fire.

The Air Force has the F-22s price tag at $160 to $190 million per plane, but outside experts estimate they cost more than $350 million each when research and development expenses are added. AP

Navy switch could hurt Ingalls composite center

A money-saving move by the U.S. Navy has officials at Huntington Ingalls Industries unsure of the future for its Gulfport, Miss., shipyard.

Company spokesman Bill Glenn tells The Sun Herald that the company is evaluating the future of the Composite Center of Excellence in Gulfport. It employs 650 people.

The Navy moved from composites to steel to save money on construction of its third Zumwalt-class destroyer. The deckhouse, hanger and some launching system modules for the first two destroyers were built in Gulfport. But the contract for those parts of the third destroyer went to General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works in Maine.

Ingalls has delivered steel components for the second destroyer, which is being built at Bath Iron Works. Ingalls is building the composite deckhouse and hangar in Gulfport. AP

AAR to open Louisiana airplane repair base

An airplane maintenance company will set up a new operation at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, La., hiring 500 new employees by 2017.

AAR Corp., based in Wood Dale, Ill., made the announcement Aug. 9.

The company will take over the lease of former tenant Aeroframe Services and hire 250 of that company’s employees. The company says it plans to add another 500 workers over the next four years.

The state will provide $17.5 million to the company to build a new hangar at the airport that can accommodate wide-bodied jets.

AAR operates airplane maintenance facilities in in Indianapolis, Miami, Oklahoma City, Duluth, Minn. and Hot Springs, Ark.

AAR also runs a parts distribution center at Chennault that supports Northrop Grumman’s maintenance depot for air force tankers and radar planes. AP

India activates atomic reactor for nuclear sub

India Aug. 10 activated the atomic reactor onboard its first indigenously designed and built nuclear submarine, paving the way for its deployment by the navy in the next two years.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the development represented a giant stride in the progress of India’s indigenous technological capabilities.

The vessel is the first ballistic missile submarine to be built outside the five recognized nuclear powers – the United States, France, Russia, Britain and China.

Rahul Bedi, an analyst for the independent Jane’s Information Group, said the submarine would now undergo sea trials. The vessel has been undergoing harbor trials in eastern India.

Last year, India acquired a Russian Nerpa nuclear submarine for its navy on a 10-year lease from Russia at a total cost of nearly $1 billion. AP

Lawuit blames Boeing for San Francisco jet crash

Three U.S. families have sued Boeing over the deadly crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport, alleging that coach passengers suffered more serious injuries than business class travelers because of different seatbelt configurations.

The lawsuits filed Aug. 8 in federal court say some coach passengers wearing only lap belts suffered head and spinal injuries that could have been prevented by shoulder restraints available in the more expensive and roomy business class seats toward the front of the plane.

The lawsuits also claim that the South Korean airline failed to properly train its pilots and that the plane’s auto-throttle was inadequate.

Several other lawsuits have been filed on behalf of survivors of the July 6 crash that killed three people and injured 180.

Passengers toward the rear of the Boeing 777 took most of the impact when the plane slammed into a seawall at the end of the runway, breaking off the landing gear and ripping off the tail. The flight was coming from Shanghai and Seoul.

The cases filed Thursday were the first to question the airplane’s seatbelts.
The lawsuits seek unspecified damages from Asiana and Boeing. AP




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