The U.S. Air Force is investigating another noncombat military air crash. On Wednesday, a T-38C Talon II trainer jet crashed near Columbus Air Force Base (CAFB) in northeast Mississippi. The two pilots ejected safely from the aircraft, and were taken to a nearby hospital, treated and released.
The supersonic jet crashed in a wooded area without damaging any houses or other buildings. Witnesses in downtown Columbus, which is nine miles south of CAFB, reported seeing a plume of smoke above the crash site. The Air Force base is home to the 14th Flying Training Wing.
There were six Class A Mishaps of the T-38 between fiscal years 2008 and 2017. The crashes include one in 2008 that also occurred at CAFB. In the 2008 crash, a pilot and student pilot were killed when a defect with the jet’s flaps forced the plane into a roll. The position of the plane, nearly upside down and low to the ground, prevented the pilots from safely escaping before the crash. Last November, two instructor pilots stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, were killed when the T-38 they were piloting crashed 14 miles northwest of the base in Del Rio, Texas.
“The large number of recent military air crashes demonstrates a pattern of ongoing issues within the service,” said Mike Andrews, principal at Beasley Allen Law firm and author of Aviation Litigation & Accident Investigation. “Without adequate solutions to address these issues, the lives of service members remain in jeopardy – an escalated and often needless risk.”
Air Force Safety Center
Air Force Times