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Sun, Sep 23, 2007

USAF Concludes Spatial Disorientation Led To F-15 Accident

Pilot Made Controlled Descent Into Ocean

A June 2007 training accident that claimed the pilot of an Oregon Air National Guard F-15 Eagle fighter jet was caused by spatial disorientation, according to an Air Force review.

As ANN reported, the aircraft, from the 142nd Fighter Wing at Portland Air Base, was participating in a training mission when the aircraft impacted the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast. The F-15 was one of eight planes -- a mix of Eagles and F/A-18 Hornets -- participating in the exercise.

The Associated Press reports military officials determined 34-year-old Major Gregory Dean Young died on impact in the ocean about 40 miles west of Cannon Beach. Young was an experienced pilot with more than 2,300 flight hours, including over 750 in the F-15.

Young calmly spoke with his wingman seconds before the plane impacted... possibly indicating he did not realize he was in danger. None of the pilot's communications indicated any signs of distress.

In its report, the Air Force Air Combat Command headquarters determined Young crashed as a result of spatial disorientation over the ocean. Clear skies with only scattered clouds may have also contributed to the problem.

The AP adds one of the mission pilots told officials he watched as Young, who was conscious and looking up, made a controlled descent into the ocean.

The pilot "was clearly unaware of his position and impacted the water," the report concludes.



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