Thu, May 01, 2008
USAF Stands Down Trainers For Investigation
Two pilots were killed Thursday morning when their T-38C Talon
training jet crashed at Sheppard Air Force Base, just north of
Wichita Falls, TX.
The aircraft, part of the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard,
went down at 0745 CDT Thursday morning. The wing is tasked with
training NATO pilots. Witnesses told The Associated Press they saw
one person eject from the stricken two-place trainer.
NOTAM 8/5809 is effect
concerning the crash. The temporary flight restriction is centered
on Sheppard AFB, which also shares its runways with Wichita Falls
Municipal Airport (SPS). All regional airline operations and
general aviation flights at that field were cancelled
Thursday, while investigators were on scene.
Thursday's crash was the second fatal accident involving a Talon
in eight days. As ANN reported, two pilots
died 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. according to CNN.
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
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