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Pilots sought after 2 F-16s collide

Old 10-15-2009, 10:36 PM
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Default Pilots sought after 2 F-16s collide

Pilot sought after 2 F-16s collide off S.C. coast - Yahoo! News

Pilot sought after 2 F-16s collide off S.C. coast


CHARLESTON, S.C. The Air Force says crews are searching for an F-16 fighter pilot off the coast of South Carolina after two jets collided Thursday night.

Senior Master Sgt. Brad Fallin at Shaw Air Force Base says the two planes collided around 8:30 p.m. Thursday about 40 miles off Folly Beach, near Charleston, during night training exercises. Each plane was carrying one person.

Fallin says one jet landed safely at Charleston Air Force Base, but the location of the other plane and pilot is unknown.

Fallin says the Coast Guard is currently searching the with two helicopters and two service vessels.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:27 AM
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Prayers for them and their families.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:49 AM
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Missing Shaw pilot identified

It doesn't follow the standard public affairs routine since they identified Nic as the missing pilot while a search is underway. I hope that means they have contact with him but just haven't picked him up for some reason.

Thoughts and Prayers to the Giglios.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:40 AM
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My thoughbts exactly...saw the names way too early. Thoughts and prayers for all.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:54 AM
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Stupid question ... why hasn't or why can't the military install some type of TCAS system that would prevent fighters from crashing into one another? I know that TCAS as it is designed for commercial traffic wouldn't work. But seeing as how these types of accidents occur with some frequency in the fighter world, you would think that someone could figure this out. Those airplanes are rather smart and I would think that you could easily design a system that prevents two airplanes from contacting one another.
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Old 10-16-2009, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by KC10 FATboy View Post
Stupid question ... why hasn't or why can't the military install some type of TCAS system that would prevent fighters from crashing into one another? I know that TCAS as it is designed for commercial traffic wouldn't work. But seeing as how these types of accidents occur with some frequency in the fighter world, you would think that someone could figure this out. Those airplanes are rather smart and I would think that you could easily design a system that prevents two airplanes from contacting one another.
I'm guessing such a system wouldn't like fingertip very much. Or many of the other things they do.
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Old 10-16-2009, 08:30 AM
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KC -

You're right. The current type of TCAS would not work in fighters. We fly AT each other all the time.

A system has been in the 'requested' stage for quite some time though. The Spanish even have a system IN PLACE that we have based our research on during our request. I personally put out the idea in our community safety meeting (Safety Systems Working Group - SSWG) over 4 years ago. My replacement in the Safety Office I was holding has continued that, and we (he), might have actually made headway in the newest software updates. I believe this capability is due in our next update!

This system uses the existing A/A tacan. It would not prevent midairs during maneuvering fights and such but it would help prevent (or at least bring awareness too) midair occurring from a lack of SA (yes - I know you could say ALL midairs result from a lack of SA).

Examples where a system using the A/A tacan between two participating aircraft where a *warning* distance has been input into the system which would give a visual and aural warning if that bubble were broken include:

An unaware lead/wingman during admin/tacadmin phase of flight (basic formation flying) My roommate was killed in a midair is this very circumstance.
Another flight school classmate, and his young wingman, were killed over Iraq while departing a tanker at night and had a midair.
Think of it working the exact same way as a Radar Altimieter. It won't keep you from hitting the ground - but it will certainly get your attention if you were expecting it to go off!

The point is this. The system isn't going to PREVENT a midair of course - but it brings awareness. If I have kissed off my wingman and I don't expect him to be with a 0.2-0.3nm again during the fight then if my warnings were to go off then I would have the opportunity to correct the situation in that last 0.2-0.3nm buffer zone that I have set up for myself.

As I said - the Spanish have had a system like this and I believe that they have not had a midair like the ones described above since its' inception (but I'll check with the guy doing the study to confirm this)

Why don't we have one yet? Because for the most part Safety Systems in the Strike/Fighter community take a backseat to the Tactical Systems with possibly new Flight Control logic and GPWS being exceptions; though before of there have some tactical applications too (sort of like NVGs have helped both safety and tactics for the most part). When it comes down to DOLLARS, we prioritize, and some safety systems have not been in the top 5 for instance.

IMO

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Old 10-16-2009, 10:42 AM
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I just think we owe it to our fighter community. I understand that you guys intentionally do things with aircraft that normally is never done, like pointing and closing at each other over 1000 knots!

But I think a simple system can be engineered to divert the aircraft last second if the pilots fail to change vectors. The system can be programmed with sensitivies based on closure rates which would allow you to fly fingertip. But I also don't think that a lot of accidents resulting in loss of life or aircraft happen while flying fingertip.

If we can engineer auto stall recovery, or auto loss of control recovery technologies, we certainly can do this. Whether its based on air to air tacans or other existing techologies (TCAS or NACWS).
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:51 AM
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Every fighter pilot knows the risks. The problem with any automated system is that it is likely to get you or someone killed in combat. Fighters do things that these automated systems would not like, from un-coordinated flight that verges on a departure from controlled flight (Eagles) to vectors near another aircraft with 100+ knots closure. The last thing you want as you are gunning a MiG is to have an automated system initiate a recovery.

While it may be low odds that the aircraft will be in a position to gun a MiG, that's what it was designed to do - so there is no purpose putting in something to complicate that. A/A TCN's lag - so those are no good for collision avoidance - TCAS's lag to some extent and they wouldn't like even a standard tac rejoin. The T-38C pilots use the TCAS for SA, but if they switched to RA mode, the warnings would be non-stop on a standard form ride much less a BFM engagement.

It's a dangerous gig and technology can only go so far - in the end, it comes to training and SA. The real answer is for our leadership to get that through their skulls and quit doing things that cuts proficiency and quit pretending proficiency and readiness are at an all time high (when pilots get 250 hrs/year and 100 of those are Noble Eagle or OEF/OIF) when they are not.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:55 AM
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There might be a way to incorporate something into the radar systems or other sensors in advanced A/C, but TCAS can't hack the closure rates and altitude changes inherent in tactical maneuvering. The warning would come after the collision or be so overly common that it would eventually be ignored. Most likely the technology exists, but the cost is prohibitive.
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