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Icing + pilot error caused Italy F-16 crash

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  • Icing + pilot error caused Italy F-16 crash

    SOURCE: Air Force Times
    DATE: JAN 21, 2008

    Report: Bad weather, pilot error caused Italy F-16 crash

    The September crash of an F-16 jet in Italy was caused by a combination of factors, including bad weather and pilot mistakes , the U.S. Air Force in Europe said Friday.

    The pilot, Maj. Timothy Palmer of the 510th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy, safely ejected from the jet after he lost control of the fighter while flying through thunderstorms and clouds at about 6:30 p.m. Sept. 18.

    ďThe causes of this mishap ... were pilot action and an aircraft malfunction,Ē the accident investigation board concluded.

    According to the investigation, the problems started with Palmerís decision to fly into a thunderstorm, a decision that ran contrary to Air Force rules for routine training missions. The report also noted that Palmerís evaluator, flying in another F-16, should have overruled the majorís decision.

    The stormís freezing temperatures and rain caused ice to plug up exterior sensors that feed information to the jetís navigation instruments and automatic pilot, the board found.

    Not realizing the automated controls had failed, Palmer decided to climb out of the clouds in hope of finding clear skies.

    Palmer guided his jet upward to 35,000 feet at a steep angle ó about 20 to 25 degrees ó and gradually lost speed as he climbed.

    The slow speed and steep angle led to the plane spinning out of control, the report said.

    Palmer tried to regain control of the jet, but after about 90 seconds of struggle, decided to eject as the jet fell to about 6,000 feet above the ground

    The reported noted that the fighterís automatic flight controls should have prevented Palmer from getting into trouble and helped him recover the jet from the spin. However, the safety system failed because the automatic controlís sensors were iced up.

    Palmer safely guided his parachute to the ground. A driver who spotted Palmer took him to a police station.

    The plane crashed into a wooded area near the village of Soramae. There were no civilian injuries or property damage.
    AD.info? Rings a bell somehow...
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