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Fri, May 16, 2003

A-10 Crash: Pilot Error

Air Force Releases A-10 Accident Report

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.

[Thanks to ACC News Service --ed.]

FMI: www.af.mil

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