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View Full Version : Laughlin T-38 Crash...


UAL T38 Phlyer
11-20-2017, 06:24 PM
One in the hospital; one didn't make it. :(

A toast, and a nickel on the grass.


hindsight2020
11-21-2017, 12:24 AM
It's been a tough day down here today. Unforgiving business we're in. A nickle on the grass indeed...

USMCFLYR
11-21-2017, 01:45 AM
Fair winds and following seas.....


Albief15
11-21-2017, 01:59 AM
It's been a tough day down here today. Unforgiving business we're in. A nickle on the grass indeed...

So sorry. This is a tough business.

joepilot
11-21-2017, 04:31 AM
If I remember correctly, the Thunderbirds put a formation into the ground during practice in the 1980s. Not a forgiving airplane.

Joe

galaxy flyer
11-21-2017, 06:33 AM
Yes, they did, more like an unforgiving operation. The -38 was marvelous to fly. A nickel on the grass.

GF

Scraggly Heron
11-21-2017, 08:57 AM
Here's a toast...

Packrat
11-21-2017, 01:01 PM
If I remember correctly, the Thunderbirds put a formation into the ground during practice in the 1980s. Not a forgiving airplane.

Joe

As I recall that was caused by a mechanical failure in the lead's aircraft during a line abreast loop.

rickair7777
11-21-2017, 05:11 PM
Fair Winds...

Hacker15e
11-22-2017, 03:02 AM
As I recall that was caused by a mechanical failure in the lead's aircraft during a line abreast loop.

Long story here, but there was no mechanical failure -- it was 100% pilot error.

But the then-TAC Commander did not want to blame the deaths of 4 of the USAF's best on pilot error, so he directed that the investigation board find another reason for the crash.

Ed Rasimus, who many will recognize as a former USAF fighter pilot and author of a couple of great books about flying F-105s and F-4s in Vietnam, posted this on rec.aviation.military almost 20 years ago:

Thunderbird crash (Ed Rasimus) (http://yarchive.net/mil/thunderbird_crash.html)

The accident report was very controversial. As the only TAC unit other than the 'Birds flying the T-38, the 479th TFW at Holloman was tasked to supply both the Flying Safety Officer member and Pilot member to the accident investigation board. Both pilots were out of my unit, the 435th TFTS.

The initial report of the board was a finding of pilot error. The lead aircraft had topped out on the loop at an altitude below the minimum required to insure a safe recovery. Failure to recognize the altitude and continuation of the maneuver to the pull through meant that after reaching about 60 degrees nose low inverted, the formation was in a position from which recovery was no longer possible.

There was evidence reported that the control stick and linkages were deformed probably due to pilot effort to pull through at whatever G was available. When the report was submitted, General Creech returned it and reconvened the board with the statement that "Thunderbirds do not commit pilot errors." Command guidance was to come up with another cause.

That was when the "shock absorber" was invented as the culprit. What made the report a laughingstock for T-38 pilots (although acceptable to Gen. Creech and the general public) was the fact that with 160 AT-38B aircraft on the ramp at Holloman, with at least 1000 maintainers and more than 200 Talon IPs on the base and with more than 20 years experience operating the airplane for the USAF, no one had ever before heard of the "shock absorber" and no one could find any reference to such a gadget in the control system schematics.

UAL T38 Phlyer
11-22-2017, 03:29 AM
I had heard similar, although not in this detail.

Ed Rasimus was the DO when I went through the 435th. He was pretty intimidating to this 2Lt, just from his personal demeanor.

It wasn't until many years later, reading a book about Vietnam, that I discovered I had been standing in the presence of a legend; a giant, in the league of true warriors like Robin Olds.

To echo galaxy flyer: the T-38 is not necessarily an "unforgiving" airplane. The fact that you can take someone with 25 hours in a DA-20, 65 hours in a T-6A, and 11 hours in the 38....and then go solo in a supersonic (capable, although just barely) jet....says it isn't inherently dangerous.

Its biggest limitation is a 5000-ft turn radius at any speed between 220-500 kts.

Hacker15e
11-22-2017, 04:35 AM
Ed Rasimus was the DO when I went through the 435th. He was pretty intimidating to this 2Lt, just from his personal demeanor.

It wasn't until many years later, reading a book about Vietnam, that I discovered I had been standing in the presence of a legend; a giant, in the league of true warriors like Robin Olds.

Not to derail the thread here too much, but Raz was a mentor of mine, too, although he was long retired by the time I met him in the mid 90s.

There's a bit of him in this great doc film about F-105s in Vietnam. As a former LIFT student of his, I'm sure you'll appreciate the bit at about 3:55 into the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKJ_tkYu4Uo

galaxy flyer
11-22-2017, 09:17 AM
CAUTION: thread drift. A good friend of mine had the left and right sides of the stab come apart on a FCF check at CAFB. Got out OK, but the roll rate was impressive, Id bet.

GF

Tweetdrvr
11-22-2017, 09:44 AM
Pilot killed in T-38 crash identified > Laughlin Air Force Base > Article Display (http://www.laughlin.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1379551/pilot-killed-in-t-38-crash-identified/)

RIP and prayers to the Red Bulls

From Laughlin PA:

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
The members involved in the T-38 Talon crash from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, on Nov. 20, 2017 have been identified.


The deceased, Capt. Paul J. Barbour, 32, was the air crew flight equipment flight commander with the 47th Operations Support Squadron and an instructor pilot with the 87th Flying Training Squadron. He was from Van Nuys, Calif., and is survived by his spouse, mother, father and sister.


Injured was Capt. Joshua Hammervold, an instructor pilot for the 87th FTS. He was transported to Val Verde Regional Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries. He was released on Tuesday and is in good condition.

Dirty30
11-26-2017, 04:02 AM
RIP, that's devastating for a tight knit community like
Del Rio/Laughlin. I hope his family can find peace and strength.