Air Force investigators determined pilot error caused the
December 4 collision of two A-10
Thunderbolt IIs on the Nevada Test and Training Range approximately
98 miles northwest of Nellis Air Force Base (NV).
Capt. Eric Palaro, assigned to
the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, died as a
result of the crash. Maj. Scott Kneip ejected and suffered minor
injuries. The pilots were practicing a four-ship, air-interdiction
mission when the incident occurred.
Both aircraft were destroyed upon impact. The cost of the
accident is estimated at more than $22 million.
According to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board
report released May 15, investigators determined the primary cause
of the collision was Palaro's loss of situational awareness during
a formation rejoin. During this maneuver, he never had sight of the
element leader in the formation because he mistook another aircraft
as the lead. Also, the lead aircraft pilot continued with a
simulated ground attack without confirming that his wingman was
properly positioned to rejoin on the lead aircraft. This factor
contributed to the accident, according to investigators.