Skip to comments.Crash on CAFB Runway Kills Two Pilots
Posted on 04/28/2008 5:08:26 PM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
The crash of a T-38 training aircraft on a runway at Columbus Air Force Base at about 12:30 p.m. today killed two pilots, according to Air Force spokespersons.
Witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke coming from the sprawling base complex and at least two ambulances going to the scene. The base runways were closed and by 2 p.m., eight T-6 aircraft from CAFB that were out on training missions had been diverted to Golden Triangle Regional Airport.
Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant said he was on the scene but could not release any details.
But in a press release, Air Force officials said the plane crashed and both pilots were killed. The names of the pilots are not being released until their relatives have been notified. Under Air Force policy, names aren't disclosed until 24 hours after family notification.
No details about the pilots were available other than that one was a student pilot and the other was an instructor.
The T-38C Talon is a twin-engine, high altitude jet trainer.
Sources said the plane was landing when the crash occurred and that it was starting to roll at the time. The pilots either ejected or were thrown from the plane, sources said.
It is unclear what kind of problem the plane might have experienced. Two other planes were on the base's main center runway, where the crash occurred, awaiting takeoff when the plane went down.
The crash is the third involving CAFB planes since January 2007, but the first involving deaths.
On Jan, 18, 2007, two pilots escaped serious injury when the T-38C they were flying crashed in Northwest Mississippi near the Panola-Quitman County line after a flock of Mallard ducks cracked the plane's sockpit. Debris from the cockpit clogged the plane's engines.
The two pilots ejected safely.
On Nov. 28, 2007, two planes crashed in rural Noxubee County after colliding during a training session near a rural airfield CAFB uses near Shuqualak. The four pilots ejected safely from the two T-6 Texan aircraft.
Prior to those two incidents, the base had not had a major incident in more than seven years.
The T-38C incorporates a "glass cockpit" with integrated avionics displays, head-up display and an electronic "no drop bomb" scoring system. The AT-38B has a gun sight and practice bomb dispenser.
The T-38 needs as little as 2,300 feet of runway to take off and can climb from sea level to nearly 30,000 feet in one minute. T-38s modified by the propulsion modernization program have approximately 19 percent more thrust, reducing takeoff distance by 9 percent, according to the Air Force Web site.
The instructor and student sit in tandem on rocket-powered ejection seats in a pressurized, air-conditioned cockpit.
Air Education and Training Command uses the T-38C and the AT-38B (modified T-38A) to prepare pilots for front-line fighter and bomber aircraft such as the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Warthog and F/A-22 Raptor.
The Talon first flew in 1959.
AETC began receiving T-38C models in 2001 as part of the Avionics Upgrade Program. T-38C models will also undergo a propulsion modernization program which replaces major engine components to enhance reliability and maintainability, and an engine inlet/injector modification to increase available takeoff thrust.
May God bless them and their families.
There is always danger in the military. Always.
And there are people in this country who can’t even acknowledge the service these men and women give each day,even at the risk of giving their lives for their countrymen.
Um, how old are the “C-model” airframes?
How very sad. May God comfort their families.
“The four pilots ejected safely from the two T-6 Texan aircraft”
I had no idea that the T-6 Texan was still in service.
T-38C, I think?
So sorry to hear this. Thanks for posting.
These are the new generation trainers...
That’s what I thought too.
Such a beautiful aircraft.
Ah, a PC-9.
Prayers for their loved ones ...
“Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
Through the great spaces in the sky,
Be with them always in the air,
In dark’ning storms or sunlight fair.
O, Hear us when we lift our prayer,
For those in peril in the air.”
The 43rd is one of my former squadrons under the 340th Flying Training Group at Randolph. Reserve IPs teaching active duty flying training. A great unit with a tremendous safety record - what a tragedy.
It’s the Texan II - cool plane, turboprop, Randolph sounds like a 40s flying base again!
I got my wings there. Later, I was an instructor in the T-38 at the Test Pilot School. It’s a beautiful plane, but one must watch the airspeed very carefully. Note that there ain’t much wing there and the stall characteristics are very subtle... small amount of shaking - normal, just a little more shaking - full stall. Final approach speed was 175 knots plus fuel wait (1 knot per 100 lbs over 1000 I believe). Final approach was 155 knots plus fuel. Go lower than those limits, and it’s a rock.
Thanks for putting me into the 21st century. smilie
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