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November midair cause by leadership-low hours

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posted on Aug, 12 2017 @ 12:34 PM
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On November 9, 2016 two F-18 Hornet aircraft from Miramar Air Station collided off the coast of California, during a routine training flight. The aircraft belonged to VMFA-314. One aircraft was being flown by an instructor, the other by a pilot that had joined the squadron 8 days prior.

Prior to the collision, the new pilot (neither was identified) stated he had the other aircraft in sight and was joining up. He told investigators that he had a hard time acquiring the other aircraft, due to the sun, and when he did get a good visual they were on a collision course. After the collision, the instructor saw his right wingtip break off and the wing catch fire, as the aircraft went out of control. He ejected safely and was quickly rescued by a helicopter off the Carl Vinson.

The other aircraft, despite major damage to the wing and stabilator, was able to land at NAS North Island.

Investigators found that the squadron was attempting to cycle as many Category I pilots through the MAG 11 Turkey Shoot as possible, resulting in a lack of appropriate controls on scheduling. For the Mishap Flight, they found that the flight hadn't been "scheduled, properly prepared for, or authorized properly". In particular, the student pilot had 10 hours of instrument flying in the pervious six months, and due to a knee injury, wasn't current. The instructor, in the prior month had 13.3 hours, which was below the 15.7 they were targeting.

This is another result of the poor readiness we're seeing across the fleet. The Hornet was designed with a 6,000 hour life cycle, that is being pushed to 10,000 or more. But due to maintenance problems as they age, and more down time being required, squadrons are seeing fewer and fewer aircraft available for training. They're being pushed into the position of giving the green pilots flight time, or their more experienced pilots. This results in the lower time pilots having to relearn things they had lost due to not flying much, and losing out even more.

www.sandiegouniontribune.com...




posted on Aug, 12 2017 @ 12:41 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Man, that's sad. And in spite of all the $$$$$$$$ we throw at the military.

Makes me wonder if there's not some "management" problems at the top of the military food chain.



posted on Aug, 12 2017 @ 12:43 PM
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a reply to: TonyS

All that money goes to cover a lot of things. Most of it goes to base operations and pay. Then operations and maintenance, and down from there.



posted on Aug, 12 2017 @ 12:57 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Its all rather pointless if there's insufficient training. I mean really? An instructor with only 13 hours the previous month? That's just sad.



posted on Aug, 12 2017 @ 01:02 PM
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a reply to: TonyS

Like I said, this is getting into the age/maintenance crisis. The Marines are being hit the hardest by it, but it's showing up everywhere. Instead of replacing aircraft when they should have, they put all their eggs into one basket, and have pushed 30+ year old airframes harder than they should have, because of the operations tempo. The last study I saw put the Hornet fleet at 3 years behind for Depot level airframe maintenance, and the engine side at 5 years behind.



posted on Aug, 12 2017 @ 01:52 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

This is alarming-it sounds like the brass are playing injured rookies in a super bowl.

Everybody who has ever played any sport anywhere in the world knows the importance of training, many 'players' recovering from inaction, fatigue or lack of experience will not bring their game face. Ten hours of flight time in six months is scary given the hundreds if not thousands of hours in a simulator that should be required to get your wings.

That and the fact the F-18's are fossils. Something needs to be done, Drones are the obvious answer but a lack of human ingenuity and hands on experience limits their effectiveness. The F-35 hasn't exactly been lighting up the call boards either which makes me think the day of the dogfighter is coming to an end.



posted on Aug, 12 2017 @ 01:54 PM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie

They're going to start replacing the oldest F-18 units with Rhinos. They're buying Block IIIs that will go to fleet units, and they will pass their current aircraft to the reserve units that are flying Cs and A+ Hornets. It's a stop gap, but at least it's something.
edit on 8/12/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 13 2017 @ 10:19 AM
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posted on Aug, 13 2017 @ 06:25 PM
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Looking at the skins and general airframe "damn" that birds had a hard life...



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