Navy F/A-18E crashes in Inyo County [star wars canyon]

Military aircraft accidents/mishaps.
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outlaw162

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Unread post07 Aug 2019, 15:17

Probably a bunch of deaf varmints in that canyon.

Yes, I can see where this is valuable training for the young lady T-38 driver.

edit: I notice from the Edward's User Brief that the Fresno air defenders have pre-designated entry and exit points for the airspace. I wonder if you ever see their Eagles down there?
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Unread post07 Aug 2019, 18:12

I guess this answers the question. Callsign FAT22. No need for look-down, shoot-down here. I guess theoretically there's a requirement to intercept and ID drug-runners.

(There's also a video of a C-17 on 'you tube' making 3 passes. :shock: I didn't see in the procedural controls where you could 'pop up' and come back around for another go at it.)

This reminds me of the old LAAT circuits.
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Unread post09 Aug 2019, 15:36

8) Just a reminder of what these chaps do otherwise when not 'canyon flying' or otherwise being LAND LUBBERS. :devil:

F/A-18F Carrier Break [25 Oct 2017] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz7dluAFXb0
“Bringing a section of fighters back to the boat at 500' and 480 Knots.” Wingnut172N

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outlaw162

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Unread post12 Aug 2019, 00:13

Another non-initiate question:

In Spaz's exciting 'canyon' video on the previous page (not the boat NoPro LAND LUBBER-line video with the weird flying gloves just above).....that black T-38 flying the Jedi appears to be a Beale AFB 9th RW aircraft, a flight time proficiency trainer for U-2 pilots. Now as far as I know, U-2s generally perform their missions above 60,000 feet, except to land. What possible reason does a 9th RW T-38 have for flying the Sidewinder, let alone the photographer packed Jedi?

Any U-2 drivers or knowledgeable others, enlighten me again.
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Unread post12 Aug 2019, 01:01

Why? Because some pilot stuff makes you better at everything else you do. Low altitude stuff qualifies in that regard; I doubt they spend much time on it.
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Unread post12 Aug 2019, 04:06

You know as a point of continued discussion, I'm not sure that 'stuff' they don't spend much time on is worth the effort or the seemingly consistent obligatory use of AB for the admittedly captivating drama prominently displayed thru the canyon.

In 50 years of professional (for pay) flying (1964-2014, no desk jobs) I was ultimately convinced that if 'stuff' wasn't necessary to be trained to complete proficiency with currency maintained, it wasn't worth the time, money or risk to do it at all.

Admittedly training low level navigation in aircraft with GPS/inertial and moving map is fairly straight forward (to the point of, as you say, the tasking being well adapted to current advanced simulation capability). (BTW Lowat T-38 adversaries for the Raptors are restricted to 500' AGL.)

But teaching U-2 guys low level navigation in the T-38 as 'pilot stuff' seems to me to fall in the same category as teaching F-35 drivers to manual bomb.

(Although all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but call it what it is)
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Unread post12 Aug 2019, 04:21

“...call it what it is.”

Sour grapes?
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Unread post12 Aug 2019, 04:40

To some extent. I sure do miss it.
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Unread post12 Aug 2019, 11:46

outlaw162 wrote:To some extent. I sure do miss it.

Be happy for the time you have had. I'm not sure what it was but hey - not many people get to do it - and for so long? 8)
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Unread post03 Sep 2019, 04:50

BinWaitin' for more info - I guess this may take some time - so went looking for more SD Official Info to find these:

http://www.aangfs.com/wp-content/upload ... iation.pdf (1.9Mb USAF SD Info 2015)
&
https://www.cnatra.navy.mil/local/docs/ ... /P-912.pdf (1.1Mb USN CNATRA Low Level Flight Training with SD info)
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Unread post24 May 2020, 03:59

Inside a fatal Super Hornet crash in Star Wars canyon
22 May 2020 Geoff Ziezulewicz

"A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet was flying “too fast and too low with respect to the surrounding terrain” before it struck the wall of Star Wars canyon in California’s Death Valley National Park last summer, according to an internal investigation obtained by Navy Times. The July 31 crash took the life of Lt. Cmdr. Charles Z. Walker, 33, a pilot with Strike Fighter Squadron 151. Walker was a lieutenant at the time and was posthumously promoted.

“The flight profile created conditions where the processing time and subsequent reaction time required of the pilot made it difficult for the aircraft to exit the canyon safely,” the report states. “The findings of this investigation should be widely shared as an example of the unforgiving nature of naval aviation and the fact that a brief lapse in judgement can produce catastrophic results.”...

...The investigator wrote that Walker was not current in low altitude training because he had not flown a minimum of 10 minutes in a low altitude environment in the past 30 days, so he was instructed to keep his jet at least 500 feet above ground level during that day’s training. No evidence emerged that Walker was “flat-hatting” or flying at a low altitude for thrills, according to the report.

“LT Walker was considered to be the most proficient (low altitude training) pilot in the squadron,” the report states. His chain of command reported that “the ‘low level’ flight was likely a favorite mission of LT Walker and that he was very thorough in his preparation.”

Walker entered the canyon from the west, descending through 4,000 feet and going roughly 630 mph “in full afterburner,” the report states. His wingman didn’t see the crash. “The wingman was in a hard right-hand pull at the time of impact and reversed left to roll wings level when he saw a huge ball of fire extending up in a column of fire and smoke” at about 9:43 a.m., the investigator wrote....

...Simulations later suggested that Walker was going too fast to pull up and escape the canyon before crashing.

“It is possible that LT Walker intended to fly through Star Wars canyon as most aircraft do—through the center of the canyon maneuvering to stay between and below the canyon walls until exiting to the east into the northern portion of the Panamint Valley,” the investigator wrote. “LT Walker may have attempted to turn level through the canyon, realized his turn radius would be too great to navigate safely due to his speed and attempted a vertical pull to exit the canyon.”

“Based on current information, we will never know what actually occurred,” the investigator wrote...."

MAP: "A map included in the investigation into Lt. Cmdr. Charles Walker's death shows where his Super Hornet crashed in Star Wars canyon. (Navy)" https://www.armytimes.com/resizer/nZoEw ... uality(100)/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/mco/D4NTGWG32ZECVKZBQ4LYJHUAXI.png (jpg 60kb)


Source: https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-nav ... rs-canyon/
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Unread post24 May 2020, 04:26

“There but for the grace of God go I...”

RIP shipmate.
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Unread post29 May 2020, 04:56

Navy Concludes Experienced Pilot’s ‘Brief Lapse of Judgement’ Root Cause of ‘Star Wars’ Canyon Crash
28 May 2020 Sam LaGrone

"An experienced pilot’s split-second lapse in judgment is the likely cause of a 2019 F/A-18E Super Hornet crash in Death Valley National Park, Calif., the Navy concluded in a command investigation obtained by USNI News. Lt. Charles Walker, 33, was leading a two-fighter low-level training mission through the Rainbow Canyon in the park when his Super Hornet collided into the canyon wall.

Walker, who was posthumously promoted to lieutenant commander, was the training officer for the ”Vigilantes” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore; a Top Gun graduate; and the most experienced pilot in his squadron at flying low, according to report. Navy Times first reported on the results of the investigation.

Walker and his wingman had begun a training mission at NAS Lemoore that would have them take a well-known low-level flying route through the so-called “Star Wars” canyon in the national park. Pilots fly a complex route at high speeds below the lip of the canyon. Walker had flown a similar mission the day prior, according to the investigation. However, “on the date of the mishap, he was faster, lower, and accelerating while descending prior to his attempt to cross a ridgeline that was approximately 500 feet higher than the day prior,” reads the report.

Investigators reconstructed the flight path using his wingman’s flight data and GoPro video as well as bystander video. All flight data recorders on Walker’s aircraft were either completely destroyed or too badly damaged following the impact on the canyon wall. “The aircraft is believed to have entered a flight profile which was too fast and too low with respect to the surrounding terrain. The flight profile created conditions where the processing time and subsequent reaction time required of the pilot made it difficult for the aircraft to exit the canyon safely, as evidenced by the mishap result,” reads the report.

Based on the synthesized information, investigators concluded that Walker was likely attempting to make a turn to follow the route along the canyon, realized he would turn too wide and hit the canyon wall, and at the last moment tried to fly up and out of the canyon. Instead, the Super Hornet hit the side of the Rainbow Canyon at more than 600 miles per hour.

“Based on current information, we will never know what actually occurred,” reads the report. Walker’s wingman was three seconds behind him on the same route...." [more at the URL but of course similar to Navy Times first report above]

Map: https://news.usni.org/wp-content/upload ... .34-PM.png

Accident Report 73pp PDF: https://assets.documentcloud.org/docume ... JAGMAN.pdf (17Mb)

Source: https://news.usni.org/2020/05/28/navy-c ... nyon-crash
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