April 21, 2007

Blue Angel Down

Aw, hell.

The news is still breaking, so hopefully the one dead is a mistake, and everybody is okay. Hopefully. Knock on wood. Please?

The Blue Angels were scheduled to be the headliners at this summer's Duckford Air Show, after the USAF Thunderbirds were here last summer.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, there wasn't a mistake. The plane crashed into a residental area, damaging houses and cars, and killing the pilot. It appears, though, that nobody on the ground was badly hurt.

photo from Birminghamnews.com

Obviously it's way too early to tell what happened, but one thought from the scene is that there may have been a bird ingested into an engine (according to the article I was reading, birdstrike is not uncommon in the area). Conflicting with that, though, is the report from a man who was mowing his lawn a short distance away from the crash site and saw it happen; he said he didn't hear anything obviously wrong with the plane. Not sure if you could tell that an engine was out just by listening, but.... More as warranted.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:07 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Sucks.

These things happen, remember F-117 crashing once due to a structural failure?

At least it wasn't like Lviv 2002, with 84 killed.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at April 21, 2007 11:14 AM (9imyF)

2 I haven't heard anything on it, but it is unlikely a bird down the intake took him down. The Hornet flies fine with only one engine, and the first action would be to zoom and convert airspeed to altitude. Several of my buddies sucked down birds on low levels and they all made it home fine (I never sucked one down an intake in a Hornet, although a few bounced off my canopy).

More likely he clipped a powerline or a tree. If he wasn't the lead pilot he likely was not looking forward and never saw it coming (much like how the entire Thunderbird formation bought it a few years back when the lead flew them into the ground).

Could be a lot of other reasons as well. We won't know for sure until the mishap report comes out.

Posted by: astro at April 22, 2007 04:47 PM (fh7ip)

3 Astro, when it comes to this sort of thing, you've got the experience, and will defer to your thoughts.

The only thing that even suggests to me that it's a possibility was the report that said that #6 fell out of formation. The Angels were at the conclusion of their program, and were heading for the runway for landing, and #6 suddenly headed down. Is it possible he didn't have time to climb for height?

Again, total speculation. No clue what happened, no idea if this scenario is even plausible. Just a damn shame... I'm sure it could have been worse if the pilot hadn't stayed with the plane. Brave man, Lt. Commander Davis was.

I was looking forward to seeing them at the Duckford AirFest, and comparing the Angels to the T'Birds, too. I'm sure they'll cancel their appearances (and rightfully so) now.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 22, 2007 05:03 PM (2nDll)

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