Category Archives: Aviation Safety / Air Crashes

Canadian CF-18 crashes near Cold Lake killing pilot. It’s the eighth Legacy Hornet lost in 6 months

Legacy Hornets are crashing at an alarming rate!

A Royal Canadian Air Force single-seat CF-188 Hornet from 4 Wing Cold Lake crashed inside the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Saskatchewan, on Nov. 28. The pilot died in the incident.

The rate of crashes involving legacy Hornets is quite alarming. At least 8 major incidents have involved legacy Hornets (that is to say, the older variant of the F/A-18) in the last 6 months!

Two U.S. Marine Corps F-18 Hornets from MCAS Miramar collided mid-air during a training mission on Nov. 9 near San Diego. One pilot landed safely at the NAS North Island whereas the other one ejected over the sea and was rescued.

Few days earlier, on Oct. 25, an F/A-18 Hornet from Miramar crashed near Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms killing the pilot.

On Aug. 29, a Swiss Air Force F/A-18 Hornet crashed shortly after taking off from Meiringen airbase. The 27-year-old pilot was found dead two days later.

On Aug. 2, a U.S. Navy F/A-18C Hornet flown crashed near Fallon, Nevada. The pilot safely ejected.

On Jul. 27 another Marine Hornet pilot died in a crash near 29 Palms.

Same fate for a Blue Angels pilot flying a Hornet that crashed on Jun. 2, shortly after takeoff during a practice flight in Tennessee.

Capt. Stephen R. Miggins, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 F/A-18 pilot and assistant operations officer, refuels from a KC-130J during flight training in support of Pitch Black 2012 Aug. 15.

Capt. Stephen R. Miggins, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 F/A-18 pilot and assistant operations officer, refuels from a KC-130J during flight training in support of Pitch Black 2012 Aug. 15.

In the wake of the Hornet crashes from June through October, the U.S. Marine Corps temporarily grounded its non-deployed Hornets. Unfortunately, few days after the ban was lifted, two more F/A-18Cs were lost on Nov. 9.

Hornet crashes over the last year have depleted the number of available airplanes for training and operations. According to USNI News the service had 85 Hornets available for training, compared to a requirement for 171.

In order to face the critical shortage of operational fighters caused by both crashes and high operational tempos, the U.S: Marine Corps has launched a plan that will see Boeing upgrade 30 retired legacy Hornets (currently stored at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona) to a standard dubbed F/A-18C+.

With this upgrade, that will also embed new avionics, the service will be able to keep up with its operational tasks until the F-35 is able to take over.

Once upgraded to the C+ standard, these “gap fillers” should be more than enough to conduct combat operations in low-lethality scenarios like those that see the USMC at work these days.
Furthermore, once these “refreshed” Hornets are delivered to the squadrons, older airframes can be retired, improving flight safety.
Canada has just announced the plan to use F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multi-role fighters as “gap fillers” until Ottawa decides on a replacement for its fleet of legacy Hornet aircraft.
Top image credit: RCAF

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Watch this scary video of a Ukrainian Su-27 almost crashing into the ground while performing yet another insane low pass

This time a Flanker gets a handful of meters from the ground and a bystander…

Ukrainian Air Force pilots love flying low and be filmed in the process.

In the last couple of years we have published several videos showing pretty dangerous low passes: a Su-25 Frogfoot buzzing a group of female soldiers posing for a photograph, another one performing a low passage along a taxiway of a military airfield in northwestern Ukraine, a Mig-29 overflying pro-Russia separatist blocking rails, an Ilyushin Il-76 buzzing some Su-25s and Frogfoots returning the favor while buzzing the tower, an Mi-17 helicopter flying among the cars on a highway and another fully armed Mig-29 Fulcrum in the livery of the Ukrainian Falcons aerobatic display team flying over an apron at an airbase in Ukraine.

Here’s the latest chapter of the low pass sage: a Su-27 flying really low over a group of people after performing a low approach at an airbase in Ukraine.

The Flankers can be seen approaching the runway then break: one of the aircraft turns left towards the apron, gets dangerously close to the ground before climbing towards the cameraman.

Ukrainian Flankers were among the highlights of the recent Malta International Airshow.

H/T to @romankappa for the heads-up

 

Russian MiG-29K from Adm. Kuznetsov aircraft carrier has crashed in Mediterranean sea

Pretty embarrassing incident for the Russian aircraft carrier at its debut in the air war in Syria. Fortunately, the pilot ejected safely according to the first reports.

As reported by Combat Aircraft a Russian Navy Mig-29KUBR embarked aboard Adm. Kuznetsov aircraft carrier has crashed on Nov. 13.

The aircraft is one of the four naval Fulcrums operated by the 100th Independent Shipborne Fighter Aviation Regiment.

According to our sources, the incident occurred around 14.30Z and involved a two-seater Fulcrum in a formation of three Mig-29s operating from the carrier in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Syria: whilst one of the remaining aircraft recovered aboard the Kuznetsov the third one diverted for unknown reasons to Syria.

Footage allegedly showing Mig-29s in the skies over Aleppo had happered earlier on the same day.

The pilot of the doomed aircraft ejected safely and was rescued by a helicopter while the Russian Navy radioed all the nearby vessels to remain 5NM away from the crash point.

Needless to say the incident unfolded while several NATO aircraft and warships closely monitored the operations aboard Russia’s only carrier.

 

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U.S. KC-10 aerial refueler loses refueling boom that falls in a hay-field

A KC-10 Extender has lost its flying boom. Someone’s found it in his hay-field….

A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender aerial refueler belonging to the 60th Air Mobility Wing was forced to perform an emergency landing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, on Nov. 1, at 11:20 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, after losing its flying boom.

According to an official release from Travis AFB, California, where the aircraft is based, the KC-10 was conducting training in support of Mountain Home AFB’s Gunfighter Flag Exercise when the refueling boom separated from the aircraft near the range complex.

Used as the standard aerial refueling system for U.S. Air Force fixed-wing aircraft the flying boom is a rigid, telescoping tube, maneuvered by a “boom operator” by means of a control stick.

This method has the advantage to eliminate the requirement for the receiver pilot to plug the probe into the hose’s drogue: once the aircraft has reached the refueling position the operator moves the boom to insert the tube in the receptacle of the receiver aircraft.

The aircraft made a successful emergency landing at Mountain Home AFB. “All crew members are safe and no injuries have been reported on the aircraft or on the ground,” says the release.

Interestingly, the photographs of the remains of the boom, taken by someone on the ground, emerged on social media.

Top image credit: U.S. Air Force. Above embed from Air Force amn/nco/snco

 

Specially-configured Metroliner aircraft involved in surveillance operations in Libya crashes shortly after takeoff from Malta

Chilling dashcam video shows a Fairchild SA227-AT Expediter crashing after takeoff from Malta killing 5 people on board.

On Oct. 24, a twin-prop Fairchild Metroliner aircraft, in a special configuration required to undertake surveillance missions, crashed shortly after takeoff from Malta International Airport at 07.20AM LT.

The SA227-AT, painted overall grey and carrying civil registration N577MX, is one of two such aircraft (the other being N919CK, that carries a different surveillance suite) is operated by the Luxemburg-based CAE Aviation on behalf of the French government for missions in Africa.

A dashcam captured the last few seconds of the flight: the aircraft can be seen banking (seemingly to the left) before crashing into the ground in the video posted on Facebook (beware, it can be considered graphic content).

The French MoD confirmed the aircraft was involved in a surveillance operation and that three defense ministry officials and two private contractors were killed in the incident.

The aircraft was reportedly involved in tracing routes of illicit trafficking, both of humans and drugs, along the more than 1,200 km of Libyan coastline: indeed, N577MX was part of a fleet of sensor-filled planes involved in intelligence gathering missions in North Africa along with several other special missions aircraft in civil disguise (whose tracks are often exposed by their Mode-S transponders.)

Such para-military, unconventional spyplanes operate from airbases in the Mediterranean Sea (including Malta, that is one of the main operating bases considered the proximity to the area of operations) performing a wide variety of clandestine tasks, sometimes in support of special forces on the ground, including hunting ISIS terrorists.

Image credit: courtesy Ruben Zammit

 

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