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Tbirds

Harley

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#21
An Air Force report released Tuesday details the crash that caused the death of Maj. Stephen "Cajun" Del Bagno in April.

The crash happened about 10:30 a.m. at the Test Range, near Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs. Del Bagno was the team's slot pilot, flying the number four jet.

According to the 37-page Air Force Aircraft Accident Investigation Board report, the F-16's flight was planned and authorized, and the crash happened toward the end of the flight.

Del Bagno was conducting a maneuver called "High Bomb Burst Rejoin" that led into a half-loop, or Split-S, maneuver.

During the change, the report shows a sudden change in G-forces, causing Del Bagno to "G-LOC," or lose consciousness after a lack of oxygen to the brain.

A range safety officer called to him twice during this quick incident, telling Del Bagno to "knock it off." Another Thunderbird pilot called to him, as well.

The report states this happened in mere seconds.

The F-16 dropped at 39,750 feet per minute, according to the report, ending in the fatal crash. The pilot died on impact.

The report stated Del Bagno was medically qualified to fly and was not intoxicated.
 
#22
^ Even the best of the best can make mistakes.

I wonder if he was training without a G-suit? I think the Blue Angels fly without G-suits (I think it has to do with the location of the controls on their particular aircraft), does anyone know if the Thunderbirds wear them?
 

Harley

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#23
^ Even the best of the best can make mistakes.

I wonder if he was training without a G-suit? I think the Blue Angels fly without G-suits (I think it has to do with the location of the controls on their particular aircraft), does anyone know if the Thunderbirds wear them?
They suit up just before climbing in.
 

Harley

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#24
Full report says a max of 8.56 G’s. One second before impact he regained consciousness and tried to pull out of it.

No failures of any systems
 
#25
I remember when 4 of them crashed back in the early eighties........................
they are told to follow the leader. when the leader had a malfunction and crashed they followed him with blind faith.
 

MAC702

LEGEN...wait for it... DARY!
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#26
I remember when 4 of them crashed back in the early eighties........................
they are told to follow the leader. when the leader had a malfunction and crashed they followed him with blind faith.
Happened only a couple miles from where I lived. I saw the smoke.

I wonder if there could be a way for ground control to know the pilot's status and to remotely eject an unconscious one. But such a rare, sad situation.
 
#27
I remember when 4 of them crashed back in the early eighties........................
they are told to follow the leader. when the leader had a malfunction and crashed they followed him with blind faith.
That's misrepresenting what happens within a formation. No, they didn't all fly into the ground out of some sense of faith and duty because they were told to.

When flying formation, there is an assumed level of trust with the other members of the formation and performing their job correctly. In order for the wingmen to maintain position in the formation, they have to spend the vast majority of their time looking at specific points of reference on the other aircraft they're flying right next to. Since they're flying in reference to the other airplane, often they are looking sideways or up, nearly entirely focused on these points only a few feet away, and they're not really able to pay attention to what is happening to the world outside the formation.

It is the flight lead's job in a formation to plan for the flight paths of all the aircraft flying together and make sure they don't hit anything. The wingmen are trusting that, since they are focused on looking at the airplane they are right next to, and spending their time and energy maintaining a good formation position, the flight lead will be doing his job properly to plan and fly the correct flight path for the whole formation.

In the case of the Indian Springs crash in 1982, the flight lead mis-executed his "over the top" altitude for the line-abreast loop, and they didn't have sufficient altitude to pull out on the bottom.

The wingmen probably didn't even know they were going to crash until a split second before impact, if at all. They were focused on maintaining their position, and their peripheral vision probably wasn't sufficient to even perceive the altitude until it was too late. In fact, once they were committed with the aircraft pointing downhill (perhaps 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through the loop), there was no way any of them could have recovered without hitting the dirt even if the wingmen *had* realized they weren't going to be able to complete the maneuver.

I can 100% guarantee you that, if any of the wingmen had realized they were going to crash and had the ability to save themselves, they would have. They would not have simply slammed into the dirt out of some misguided sense of duty. They're highly disciplined aviators, but also human beings -- not robots.
 
#29
I wonder if there could be a way for ground control to know the pilot's status and to remotely eject an unconscious one. But such a rare, sad situation.
Not really realistic for a lot of reasons.

What is far more likely as technology advances is for the jet to recognize the physiology of the pilot and to auto-recover itself to straight and level flight if consciousness is lost, but that's probably a long way down the road.
 
#30
For what it is worth, a GLOC isn't a "mistake". Although there are methods to fight against GLOC (like a G-suit, and the anti-G straining maneuver, or AGSM), losing consciousness is an involuntary physiological response to the environment.
I understand that.

And if the G-forces were attributed to an out of control aircraft due to a mechanical malfunction of the jet, then it would NOT be considered pilot error.

Is that what happened in this case? or were the G-forces that make the pilot lose consciousness a direct result of HIS intentional control inputs?

ie - pilot error, or in the exact words I used, "even the best of the best can make mistakes".
FYI, this holds true for all disciplines, not just pilots.


I don't think anybody, myself or the AirForce, is blaming/faulting the dead pilot by using that term. But without any mechanical cause for a crash, pretty sure the human element is where the cause is.
 
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#32
were the G-forces that make the pilot lose consciousness a direct result of HIS intentional control inputs?
There's not a direct logic line between "his intentional control inputs caused the G situation" that eventually led to a GLOC and stating he made some sort of "mistake".

He was flying the maneuvers as planned, briefed, and practiced for the performance. At no point in the report does it state that Cajun flew the maneuvers that led up to his GLOC incorrectly on the day of his crash, and obviously he'd flown this same maneuver, this same set of maneuvers, and this same overall performance many times before with no G tolerance issues.

G tolerance for individual pilots varies on a day-to-day basis, based on things as simple as diet, rest/fatigue, hydration, environmental conditions, etc. The same individual who had no problems with the negative-G-to-positive-G progression during that maneuver on one day might have a totally different reaction on another day, through literally no conscious or intentional inputs of their own.

Sometimes pilots screw up and -- in the process of mispercieving the situation, or making the incorrect decision about what type of maneuvering to accomplish based on that perception, or making the incorrect control inputs to perform the selected maneuver -- put themselves into GLOC. That is making a mistake, no question. Such things have happened before, and the investigations always identify the root cause of the crash as the incorrect perception, decision, or execution...the GLOC is identified as a contributing factor rather than the root cause. Sometimes an incorrect AGSM is identified as the root cause, too. G suits and the AGSM aren't magic -- G suits only provide about 1G of extra protection over a pilot's natural resting G tolerance, and the AGSM's potency depends on those many factors previously mentioned. Sometimes it works great, and sometimes it doesn't, especially when it is not initiated at the correct time or performed with the correct muscles or method.

There's no evidence in the public domain that any of this is what happened to Cajun.
 
#34
LOL, some guys just love to argue.

o_O
Nothing to do with arguing, just trying to correct what I see as a misunderstanding from the perspective of someone who has experience in the area of discussion.

If you feel the need to say that Cajun "made a mistake", so be it.

The fighter community, who establishes the standards by which his conduct is measured, doesn't say that.
 
#36
I can 100% guarantee you that, if any of the wingmen had realized they were going to crash and had the ability to save themselves, they would have. They would not have simply slammed into the dirt out of some misguided sense of duty. They're highly disciplined aviators, but also human beings -- not robots.

This is ridiculous.

Nobody implied anything like this.



Concerning both the early 80's team crash, and the recent solo crash being addressed in this thread, nobody has been anything but respectful to the pilots.
 
#37
nobody has been anything but respectful to the pilots.
Never said anyone was being disrespectful. I don't believe a finding of "pilot error" to be disrespectful: if a guy screwed up, he screwed up.

That is different than providing information to correct the inaccurate portrayal of what occurred in two incidents. In the case of the piece of my post you quoted, a lot of people don't understand how formation flying is performed and how the "contract" works between guys who are doing it. The way it was described in the post I was replying to wasn't accurate.
 
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Harley

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#39
Geez, if I knew it was going to start yet another pissing match on the forum I never would have resurrected this old thread. FFS.....