Four USAF accident investigation board reports, converted for accurate flowing-text ebook format reproduction, present findings into Class A aerospace mishaps involving the E-4B Nightwatch Advanced Airborne Command Post, F-15C Eagle Fighter, and QF-4E and QRF-4C Target Drones.
E-4B Nightwatch Advanced Airborne Command Post - On 12 May 2010, at approximately 2310 local time, an E-4B aircraft, tail number (T/N) 73-1676, struck its tail approximately 1,300 feet past the threshold of runway 30 at Offutt Air Force Base (AFB), Nebraska (NE), after completing a National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) Alert weather avoidance mission. No injuries or lost work were incurred by the Mishap Crew (MC). The mishap aircraft (MA) is based at Offutt AFB, NE, and assigned to the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron of the 55th Operations Group, 55th Wing, to provide the President and Secretary of Defense with a survivable command center for directing United States forces during all conditions of peace and war, and for supporting the federal government during military, national, and natural emergencies. The MA was damaged on the underbody of the tail section upon impact, and the mishap caused no damage to the runway. Damage was estimated at $3.1 million.
F-15C Eagle Fighter - On 24 October 2011 at 1602 local time, an F-15C aircraft, tail number (T/N) 80-0041, departed controlled flight during a single-ship Advanced Handling Characteristics (AHC) sortie on the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). The mishap aircraft (MA) initiated a left-hand spin at 19,000 feet mean sea level (MSL) after the mishap pilot (MP) attempted a break turn followed by a level heading reversal. The MP attempted to regain control of the MA by following the Spin Recovery Display commands. After multiple revolutions and losing several thousand feet of altitude without any noticeable change in spin characteristics, the MP lowered the landing gear in an attempt to aid MA recovery. At an MP-estimated 8-9,000 feet MSL (terrain elevation is 4,200 feet), the MA recovered from its spin. The MA settled into a 50-70 degrees nose low attitude indicative of an attempt to regain flying airspeed. The MP selected afterburner on both engines attempting to initiate a dive recovery from the MA's low energy state. As aft control stick was applied and the MA neared the horizon, the MA nose sliced to the left. In this slice, the MP went from a controlled situation to an uncontrolled ejection situation that necessitated immediate ejection. The MA crashed into an uninhabited area of the NTTR owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The MP ejected without serious injury, the MA was destroyed, and no NTTR or BLM structures were damaged.
QF-4E - On 6 July 2011 at approximately 1014 local time (L), the Mishap Aircraft (MA), a QF-4E, Tail Number 68-0371, departed controlled flight during an Adversary Support Training (AST) mission and impacted the ground approximately 70 miles east of Holloman AFB, New Mexico. The Mishap Pilot (MP) ejected safely and landed approximately one mile northwest of the MA crash site. The MA and MP were assigned to Detachment 1, 82d Aerial Targets Squadron at Holloman AFB. The MA was totally destroyed upon impact with the loss valued at $2,405,543.84. The MP sustained only minor injuries. There was no dam age to personal property.
QRF-4C Target Drones - On 13 May 2011, at 1751 Zulu (Z) time, the Mishap Drone (MD), a QRF-4C full-scale aerial target, tail number T/N 65-0845, drone designation AF-358, departed controlled flight and impacted the water approximately 16 nautical miles (nm) south of Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The MD was an asset of the 82d Aerial Targets Squadron, 53d Weapons Evaluation Group, Tyndall AFB, FL. There were no injuries, deaths, or reported non-government property damage as a result of the crash.