posted on Jul, 21 2015 @ 10:13 PM
The AIB report for the Massachusetts ANG F-15 that crashed in August 2014 has been released. There were several items that were inconclusive as the
Eagle doesn't have a data recorder on board.
Mission planning began on 26 August, for the flight to New Orleans to have a new radar system installed. Several radar components were removed and
replaced with ballast, but there is no evidence that contributed to the accident. Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot removed himself from flight status,
reporting symptoms of a head cold or sinus infection.
Col Fontenot was a StanEval pilot with 2100 hours in the F-15. He was highly experienced and well regarded.
On 27 August he reported to the base and completed mission planning, with no signs of any health issues. He boarded aircraft 86-0157 for the flight.
Preflight, engine start, and post engine start checks showed no problems with the aircraft. The aircraft departed Barnes ANG base as HAWK 11 at
During climb Col. Fontenot spoke to several controllers with no evidence of hypoxia, congestion, or physical issues. He reached FL430 at 0823L.
At 0855L, HAWK 11 began a 12,000 fpm descent. At 0856L, a routine frequency change was requested. At 0856:24, while passing through FL380, an
emergency was declared. Washington Center requested confirmation of aircraft and pilot status. At 0856:31, they received "Affirm, standby" as the
aircraft passed FL360. That was the last radio call from the aircraft.
At 0858L HAWK 11 impacted the ground at a 60-70 degree nose low attitude, while supersonic. It left a 15-20 foot deep crater at impact.
The investigation was able to determine that at some point during the flight, an Environmental Control System warning light activated in the cockpit.
This indicated a higher than normal temperature in the avionics bay. The standard response for this is a decent, with an aggressive descent used from
As there was no attempt to recover the aircraft, or to eject once the decent was initiated, the Board came to the conclusion that an unknown event
caused Col. Fontenot to become incapacitated once the decent was initiated.
The aircraft had 271.6 hours remaining until its next inspection, with 5 write ups that didn't require immediate attention. The 180 day oxygen system
check and purge had been completed with no signs of problems in the system. The regulator was recovered, but was too damaged to draw any conclusions
from. The ECS was providing pressure and cooling to the cockpit at impact.