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Sun, Jan 23, 2005

Pilot Error Caused F-15 Midair

Improper Formation Execution Resulted In Collision During Four-Ship Training Flight

Aircrew error caused a midair collision of two F-15 Eagles off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, according to an accident investigation report released January 20.

The aircraft both landed safely and neither pilot was injured. They were temporarily assigned to the 12th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base when the aircraft collided during a training mission October 4.

The board concluded that one of the two pilots involved failed to maintain the flight formation that had been briefed before takeoff. It also concluded that errors in both pilots' judgment were contributing factors.

The collision took place over open sea about 100 miles south of Okinawa. The two aircraft involved formed half of a four-ship formation on a regularly scheduled training mission. During the flight, one of the involved aircraft banked slightly in the direction of the second, creating closure that was not recognized by either pilot.

The first aircraft flew into the flight path of the second where its left wingtip and horizontal stabilizer hit the left and right vertical stabilizers of the second. Both aircraft were damaged in the collision.

(Our thanks to the Pacific Air Forces News Service)

FMI: www.af.mil

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