Military jet in Fatal Crash had a chance to land

Just_A_Mom

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29495937/

SAN DIEGO - A pilot struggling to control a crippled Marine Corps jet bypassed a chance to land at a coastal Navy base and instead flew toward an inland base, where minutes later the fighter crashed into a San Diego neighborhood and killed four people, recordings released Tuesday revealed.

Military officials announced they had disciplined 13 Marines for a series of avoidable mechanical and human errors that led to the crash, which killed four members of the same family, including two children......................
 

RetNavyHM

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Obviously I don't know the whole story behind this, but at first glace it really looks like a case of get-home-itis. One of the worst conditions that a man or woman can get, and one of the hardest for the affected person to recognize.

Big life lesson for everyone, sometimes its better to stop short and be safe, than to push on - even though you are "almost there" - and be unsafe.
 

Pima

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Ret I agree. We saw this at SJ...there was a sit where the pilot flew through lightning to get home and damaged the Strike...he pleaded the "I didn't know"...he also was a squadron commander:thumbdown:
 

oldgrad

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Don't jump to unsubstantiated conclusions. If one wades through the following and the 39 linked articles, a very complex series of events emerge:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j87sNXA22jdYrCQFzRIUB_AMDeGAD96MQN6O0

He was on a secondary frequency talking to the home squadron. It was these who made the decision to return the aircraft to home base instead of landing at Catalina (I assume the second available airfield) or North Island. He was a brand new pilot in initial training. The feeling was that a longer familiar runway was a more prudent decision. They did not realize that a maintenance discrepancy caused a couple of thousand pounds of gas to be unusable.

The 1st Lt was just doing what he was told. The squadron rep on the ship told him to take it to North Island but the home squadron overruled. With that said, perhaps the relieved commanding officer let the fact that he had rather work on a disabled aircraft at home rather than at another site caused some input in his decision.

Planes fly single engine all the time. See the F-35 thread. Or Pima's lawn dart comments.
 
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J Collins

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his has to be a re-hash of that December accident? Sad for all involved...
 

oldgrad

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I think Col John Rupp's slide probably says it all. The fuel transfer system.
 

RaptorDad2013

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On the other hand, what would regs/policy say about the PIC and the PIC's role in decision-making? I'm not trying to pick a fight, either, oldgrad -- but as a commercial pilot I know FAA would fry me if I crashed my plane and I said "the person I was talking to on the ground ordered me not to land here, but to fly over there." That's why I'm curious about regs/policy about "pilot in command" and those PIC responsibilities in this type of situation.
 

Christcorp

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Normally, the pilot is given the final say so. It usually involves a question. I.e. "Do you think you can make it to "X"? If the pilot says no, then it's no. Obviously, if the ground said to land at the closer location and the pilot said he could go further, that would be a problem. Usually, safety is the #1 priority. The pilot knows better than anyone his/her situation. But I would be really surprised if a pilot was told to fly further unless it was a minor issue that escalated between what would have been the closer touch down and the secondary that was agreed upon.
 

Bullet

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Normally, the pilot is given the final say so

Replace the first word in this sentence with ALWAYS. That's what the pilot is paid the big bucks for. It's thier pink butss on the line, not the person's on the ground, and I don't care WHO the person on the ground is or WHAT rank they have. The PILOT is in COMMAND, and makes that final decision. And I had to have this conversation before with some people who outranked the pilot and I and questioned our decisions when it came to simlar situations. A gentle reminder, in a most respectful manner, that Safety always outranks "get-home-itis" usually gets them to see the light.

But, like Oldgrad said, we don't know all the circumstances here. But based on the outcome of the investigation and who and how many people was punished, we can get a pretty decent picture. Young pilot, pretty nervous, not fully understanding the situation, gets some "outside pressure" added on to his list of worries, and makes a fatal mistake. Glad to see EVERYONE involved with this fiasco got RECOGNIZED for thier part in it.

An old adage from the flying community: "There are only two things a pilot REALLY regrets when theyare faced with an in-flight emergency. The gas they used before and the airstrip behind them."
 

unitedstatesAFA2013

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Ret I agree. We saw this at SJ...there was a sit where the pilot flew through lightning to get home and damaged the Strike...he pleaded the "I didn't know"...he also was a squadron commander:thumbdown:

I'm guessing this guy was also a great leader...hmm
 

Bullet

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No, he wasn't. And I made sure everyone within earshot knew how I felt about the situation. So did Pima.
 

packermatt7

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Uhh... there won't be any repairs to this F/A-18D.
 

RaptorDad2013

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An old adage from the flying community: "There are only two things a pilot REALLY regrets when theyare faced with an in-flight emergency. The gas they used before and the airstrip behind them."

AMEN Bullet! I always heard it as 3 things: "the runway behind you, the air above you and the fuel you left in the tank back home!" :biggrin:
 

oldgrad

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On the other hand, what would regs/policy say about the PIC and the PIC's role in decision-making?

Theoretically, you have a point. However, carrier ops are different and then, on top of that, throw in a brand new pilot, still in initial training, and a Marine on top of that, and, as a result, the concept of not doing as the CO dictated, never, I am sure, crossed his mind.

The decision to trap, take the barricade, or divert to the beach is solely the decision of the ship's commanding officer. Divert fields are a part of the prebrief and, I am sure, home field was one of his authorized diverts. Procedures for an engine failure probably dictated that he could bypass San Clemente and North Island and proceed to home base. The elusive fuel transfer problem, which no one seemed to understand, appears to be the culprit.

As an aside, another example of a PIC not really being in command, during carrier ops, on final approach, when the pilot acknowledges a visual on the Fresnel lens, the LSO (Landing Signals Officer) assumes control of the aircraft and his inputs are mandatory.

During carrier ops, each squadron has representatives in the tower to read checklists and assist the pilots in handling emergencies. As a new pilot, he probably just got into the mindset of someone telling him what to do. Since he was not reprimended, obviously the board did not see his actions, or lack thereof, as a cause factor. Seems the California congressman is the only one right now vocal in having his wings removed. I feel sorry for the guy.
 
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RaptorDad2013

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I feel sorry for the guy.

Me too. No pilot ever sets out to have an accident or incident. But, if he is exonerated, while he'll live with the knowledge of the outcome, he could become a better pilot (and example for others) because of it. I hope they get him back up quickly.
 
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