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Tue, May 06, 2008

USAF Identifies Pilots Lost In Sheppard T-38C Mishap

Investigation Underway Into What Felled Trainer

US Air Force officials at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX identified the pilots killed when their T-38C Talon crashed during a May 1 training mission.

Maj. Brad Funk, 35, a 90th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, and 2nd Lt. Alec Littler, 23, a student pilot in the 80th Flying Training Wing's Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, died when the aircraft crashed on approach during a training mission at about 0755 EDT.

As ANN reported, the crash was the second fatal accident involving a Talon in eight days. Two pilots were also killed when their USAF T-38C trainer crashed April 23 on the grounds of Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi.

While there's no indication the two accidents were related, the Air Force has grounded all T-38s pending investigations into what caused both planes to go down. "Until we have more complete understanding of the causes of both accidents, it's prudent to stand down the T-38s," said General William R. Looney III, the commander who issued the order.

First flown in 1959, the T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles. The upgraded T-38C (type shown above) incorporates a "glass cockpit" with integrated avionics displays, head-up display and an electronic "no drop bomb" scoring system. The instructor and student sit in tandem on rocket-powered ejection seats in a pressurized cockpit.

FMI: www.af.mil, www.nato.mil, www.sheppard.af.mil, www.cwftx.net/index.asp?nid=703

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