Feeds

San Diego F-18 crash deaths 'avoidable'

Mechanical failure and human error led to tragedy

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The F/A-18D Hornet crash which last December claimed four lives after the aircraft came down in a suburb of San Diego was "avoidable", the BBC reports.

The Hornet - reportedly piloted by Lt Dan Neubauer of Marine Corps Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 - was on a training flight from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln when the right engine failed due to an oil leak shortly after take off.

Instead of opting to land at Naval Air Station North Island on the tip of a peninsula in San Diego Bay - an approach over water - the pilot made for Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, several miles inland and surrounded by residential communities.

As Neubauer made his approach, a problem in pumping fuel from the tanks to the engines provoked the second General Electric turbofan to fail. Seventeen seconds later he ejected safely, but the aircraft crashed into a house in the suburb of University City, killing two small children, their mother and grandmother.

Tapes subsequently released by the Federal Aviation Administration demonstrated that air traffic controllers "told the pilot three times that he was cleared to land at North Island".

Marine Col John Rupp told a press conference: "These malfunctions in combination presented the pilot with a complex emergency that was compounded by a series of well-intentioned but incorrect decisions, both inside the cockpit and in the squadron's ready room."

As a result of the investigation, "four senior officers have been relieved of duty - meaning they will probably not be promoted", while "nine other marines have received less career-damaging reprimands". The pilot of the aircraft has been grounded pending a decision on possible disciplinary action.

However, Republican member of the US House of Representatives Duncan Hunter, who was present at a closed-door Marine briefing into the accident, said: "He probably won't fly anymore."

Following the crash, the owner of the destroyed property, Don Yoon, said he didn't blame the pilot who "did everything he could" to avoid the disaster. Yoon, who lost wife Youngmi Lee, 36, his daughters, two-month-old Rachel and 15-month-old Grace, and his mother-in-law, Seokim Kim, 60, said of Neubauer: "I don't want him to suffer from this accident. I know he's one of our treasures for the country. And I don't blame him, I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could."

Hunter concluded, though, that the pilot "didn't understand what was happening, and a lack of communication between him and the ground crew kept the plane on course for Miramar". ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.