Gen. John D.W. Corley,
commander, Air Combat Command, sent a message Nov. 21 to F-15
pilots, weapons systems officers and maintenance professionals
outlining the actions the Air Force has taken following the Nov. 2
F-15C Eagle mishap that resulted in the loss of the aircraft.
General Corley's message:
On 2 November, the Air Force experienced an F-15C mishap
resulting in the loss of the aircraft. The circumstances of the
mishap indicated catastrophic structural failure. On 3 November,
the Air Force grounded its F-15 fleet. This decision was not made
lightly. It was the right thing to do based upon the nature of this
Grounding a fleet of nearly 700 front-line aircraft has
significant operational impact. Total force, joint and coalition
partners were able to mitigate that impact.
The cause of the mishap remains under investigation. Air Force
maintenance and operations professionals and industry experts are
working with the accident investigation board to examine all
aspects of the mishap. At the same time, structural engineers have
conducted in-depth technical reviews of data from multiple sources.
We continue to proceed in an inclusive and transparent fashion to
derive, as best as humanly possible, the cause of the mishap.
We evaluated the grounded fleet. First, we focused on the
F-15Es. They are the newest F-15s and have been exposed to less
stress. They are structurally different than the A-D models.
Problems identified during years of A-D model usage were designed
"out" of the E-model. Given these differences, and after
consultation with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center and the AIB,
we returned the F-15E fleet to flying status following successful
Next, we concentrated on the remainder of the grounded fleet.
The AIB is now focused on the area just aft of the cockpit and
slightly forward of the inlets. Warner Robins ALC mandated a
thorough inspection and repair of all structural components in this
area. I have directed each F-15 aircraft be inspected and cleared
before returning to operational status. Today, ACC issued (a flight
crew information file) and Warner Robins ALC issued an Operational
Supplemental Tech Order to further direct and guide your pre-flight
and post-flight actions.
The F-15 is a formidable war fighting aircraft and workhorse for
our Air Force. I applaud each and every Eagle pilot, WSO and
maintainer for the meticulous and disciplined way you approached
this challenge. Mission accomplishment entails risk. Together, we
must remain vigilant and focused on operational risk management to
mitigate this risk. Airmen speak up when they see something wrong.
I rely on you to ensure all operations and maintenance parameters
are in order before flight. The F-15 community can take great pride
in the fact that you have met this challenge. We must deliver air
power on time, on target given our overriding duty to defend our
Country. (End Quote)
There are nearly 700 F-15s in the Air Force inventory. As of
today, 219 of the 224 E-models and 294 of the 442 A-D models in the
inventory have been inspected and cleared for flight. In releasing
the F-15 fleet to fly, General Corley said the Air Force was
accepting a degree of risk.
"We accept this risk because of our overriding duty to provide
unrivaled combat air power for the defense of our Country," the