Skip to comments.Two Rafales Crash Off Aircraft Carrier
Posted on 09/24/2009 7:12:52 PM PDT by Yo-Yo
Two French navy Rafales crashed into the Mediterranean early this evening during an exercise from the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. One of the two pilots has already been picked up alive and a massive search operation is under way to find the second pilot. For the moment no more details are available.
Translation from an official report from the defense ministry's website :
"Crash of two Rafales: the minister goes on site"
"In the aftermath of the crash of two Rafale Marine [navy verision], which occured thursday 24th of septembre at around 6 pm, off the city of Perpignan, the defense minister said he 'immediatly make sure that all the necessary means have been put into action to lead the search of the two pilots.'"
"Following the deployment of a number of maritime and air assets, a pilot has already been found safe and sound. The search continues to find the second one. The rescue operation is coordinated by the maritime prefecture of the Mediteranean zone."
"The defense minister has put into motion an inquiry to find out the origin and causes to the crash. He also announced to have 'full confidence in the naval air community and more specifically to test pilots' and will go on site 'as soon as possible.'"
Another news item on the same website:
"Two Rafales of the Marine Nationale crash into the sea"
"Thursday 24th of septembre at around 6 pm, two fighter aircrafts of the Marine Nationale, Rafales from the Charles de Gaulle, crashed into the Mediteranean sea about 20 miles east from Perpignan, as they were approaching the aircraft carrier at the end of their mission."
"The rescued pilot was evacuated by helicopter onto the carrier. This pilot is safe and sound. His medical status is not a matter of concern. He was taken care of by the medical service on board the carrier and he is presently kept under observation."
"The two aircrafts were taking part in a test flight aimed at validating the operational capabilities of the naval air group. They did not carry weapons."
"The Charles de Gaulle cruised in the Mediteranean sea after having left Toulon the 21st of septembre. Her air group was made of 4 Rafale, 3 Super Étendard Modernisé, 3 helicopters (2 Dauphin and an Alouette III)."
"A number of air and maritime assets are deployed at the moment in the area to search for the second pilot. The rescue operation is coordinated by the maritime prefecture of the Mediteranean maritime zone and goes on to find the second pilot."
Nuts - prayers out for the second pilot.
I hate hearing about these things - especially now that the French government is more manly than ours in D.C.
Prayers for the pilot that is still missing.
Perhaps the tugs that normally pull the Charles de Gaulle were moving at a different speed.
Ouch! 70 million each, not to mention the lost pilot.
Did they collide with one another or what?
My guess is that they both surrendered to gravity, even though they had the power to overcome it.
The French aircraft carrier is only about half the overall size of US super carriers. And you are correct. Why bother if you are only going to carry 7 fixed wing and 3 helos?
Crashing alone into the sea is never a good thing. Prayers up that the other pilot is found alive and well.
Sorry, couldn't help myself.
Prayers for the pilots. I have no doubt of their patriotism or courage.
Prayers up for the missing pilot.
The entire air group is not embarked.
Yep, I just checked their site and it looks like it is supposed to carry 40 birds. But they list the top speed at 27 kts. That’s crawling for a nuke. Either they are keeping the real speed classified (we list the Nimitz class as 30+ with the emphasis on the +) or they never worked out the problems they were having with the ships reactors.
Naval aviation (regardless of Country or equipment) -- some of the most dangerous flying around.
It’s been deployed for 3 days.
Forgive me but I don’t remember how long the small Fr carriers spent in retrofit and not a one sailed the ocean.
I think they have two, just not sure.
Three days is about the maximum they can stay out without breaking down. IIRC, the De Gaulle’s nuclear power plant doesn’t have enough cooling to operate anywhere near the maximum speed and the propeller once fell off the shaft.
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