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Pilot Crashes; Something Stinks

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posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 12:11 AM

Lockheed Martin Statement - F-22 Accident
Fort Worth, TX, March 25th, 2009 -- Lockheed Martin test pilot David Cooley, 49, was killed today at about 10 a.m. Pacific time in the crash of an F-22 aircraft flying on a test mission from Edwards AFB, California. We are deeply saddened by the loss of David and our concerns, thoughts and prayers at this time are with his family. David joined Lockheed Martin in 2003 and was a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He worked at the F-22 Combined Test Force, where a team of Lockheed Martin and Air Force pilots conduct F-22 aircraft testing.


F-22 crash claims life of Edwards pilot

3/25/2009 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- An Air Force F-22 Raptor crash March 25 near here claimed the life of an Air Force veteran and Lockheed Martin test pilot.

David Cooley, 49, of Palmdale, Calif., died when the F-22 he was piloting crashed northeast of the base here.

Mr. Cooley worked as a test pilot with Lockheed Martin, and was employed at the 411th Flight Test Squadron an Edwards Air Force Base.

Mr. Cooley joined Lockheed Martin in 2003 and was a 21-year veteran of the Air Force. He worked at the F-22 Combined Test Force, where a team of Lockheed Martin and Air Force pilots conduct F-22 aircraft testing.

"This is a very difficult day for Edwards and those who knew and respected Dave as a warrior, test pilot and friend," said Maj. Gen. David J. Eichhorn, the Air Force Flight Test Center commander. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Dave and his family as we struggle through, and do all we can to support them."

Edwards AFB officials said they were notified around 10 a.m. that the F-22 had gone down 35 miles northeast of the base. First responders transported Mr. Cooley from the crash scene to Victor Valley Community Hospital in Victorville, Calif., where he was pronounced dead.

A board of officers is investigating the accident through an Accident Investigation Board, whose findings will be released to the public upon completion.


What stinks?
I. A 21-year veteran, 6-year test pilot crashes.
II. He crashes 35 miles northeast of the base, which tells me he was not out of fuel.
III. His body was transported to a hospital. The fuel capacity on an F-22 Raptor is as follows:

Fuel Capacity: Internal: 18,000 pounds (8,200 kilograms); with 2 external wing fuel tanks: 26,000 pounds (11,900 kilograms)

Fuel for an aircraft like that, if my memory serves me correctly, probably has a flash point of around 200 degrees (F). My very rough calculations for just the wingspan of the craft put terminal velocity at 155 mph, which would be sufficient to cause severe damage to the craft and cause the fuel to ignite. That is, at least, my hypothesis. The body would presumably be burned up beyond recognition, at least, if not completely consumed.

I will be very interested to read the findings on this one, if indeed they're released to the public.



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 12:26 AM
ANY time there is a crash, and the body is recovered it's taken to the hospital to be pronounced dead. I don't have any idea what terminal velocity has to do with anything though. But it would be a LOT higher than 155 mph.

There is nothing about this that stinks. Accidents during test programs happen. Accidents during normal training flights happen. Pilots are killed in those accidents every year. They transport bodies to the hospitals from those crash sites, and identify them.

FY08 had 32 Class A accidents involving 34 aircraft/missiles. That means that there was a minimum of $1M in damage or the aircraft was destroyed. FY07 had 24 involving 25 aircraft.

I don't know what you're getting at, but I haven't seen anything suspicious about this accident.

All accident reports are public domain, unless the accident happens at a classified location. The AIB has 90 days to release their preliminary report. We should have a report on this one by July or so.

[edit on 3/28/2009 by Zaphod58]

posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 12:32 AM
I understand your point, but to clarify:

Terminal velocity was something I was assuming (the plane would essentially be falling at "dead weight" and therefore wouldn't be "rocketing" toward the ground). I was using that to guesstimate at what (relatively) very slow speed the plane would hit the ground. As an example, there would be a great difference in wreckage if the plane hit the ground at 155 mph v. 1,000 mph. That would influence how much fire damage there would be to the plane, whether or not the fuel would explode, and consequently, how much damage there would be to the body (if the body even remained after the crash).

I understand that crashes happen, but this one stuck out to me for some reason. You're probably right in that it could be a simple crash, but I'd prefer to find out for sure.

[edit on 28/3/2009 by SolaceMournerVII]

posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 12:36 AM
reply to post by SolaceMournerVII

Terminal velocity only comes into play if the aircraft is falling straight down in a level manner. If the plane is nose down, at all, it has a MUCH smaller shape, so it will be going MUCH faster. Even if it was falling straight down, like in a flat spin, it would be MUCH higher than 155 mph.

I've been using EgyptAir a lot lately, but it's a good example. The pilot on that flight pulled the throttles to idle and pushed the nose over. It was basically an unpowered dive, but they hit Mach 0.99 at it's peak.

The F-22 almost had a crash in 2007 during a test flight. They suffered a double flame out for just a split second or two, but the engines reignited. I won't speculate on what caused this accident yet, but that just shows how dangerous a test program can be.

[edit on 3/28/2009 by Zaphod58]

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