Leadership culture and a reckless instructor led to U.S. Navy plane crash

The U.S. Navy has finished investigations of a plane crash with a T-45C Goshawk aircraft from the Training Squadron 7. The accident happened on 1 October in Tennessee. That reports Navy Times.

Investigators found that the crash happened as the result of recklessness on the part of the pilot-instructor. The instructor flat-hatted just before the crash, which means to fly low in an airplane in a reckless manner for the thrill of it.

The official report found that the instructor was overly confident, nonchalant, and aggressive at low altitude training with limited awareness of the performance capabilities of the aircraft.

At the time of the accident, the instructor had decided to deviate from the approved route and simply follow the terrain. 10 seconds before the crash he directed the student to perform a hard right turn at low altitude. Unfortunately the speed was too slow for the rising terrain in front of them, and the attempted recover maneuver was beyond the limitations of the aircraft which entered into a stall. Due to the low altitude there was not enough reaction time for the aircrew to eject safely.

I find it commendable that the report points to cultural explanations for the crash. The reckless instructor was himself a product of a leadership culture which allowed the safety standards to slip. Apparently it had become commonplace in the squadron that instructors lacked sufficient qualifications, and that students were challenged with techniques that were too advanced for them to handle.




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