Sheppard T-38C accident investigation complete - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Sheppard T-38C accident investigation complete

Randolph Air Force Base, Texas_Press Release_The Air Force has completed its investigation of the May 1, 2008, T-38C Talon accident at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of two pilots and destroyed the airplane.

Maj. Brad T. Funk, a 90th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, and 2nd Lt. Alec F. Littler, a student pilot assigned to the 80th Operations Support Squadron, were flying a training mission simulating a single engine landing approach with a full fuel load with the intent to touch down on the Sheppard Air Force Base runway and then take off again.  The T-38 landed short of the runway, causing debris from the overrun surface to enter the right engine and causing it to seize.  Major Funk took command of the aircraft upon the short landing and advanced the throttle of the left engine to maximum power, and as the aircraft was climbing from the ground retracted the landing gear and the flaps.  With the flaps retracted, the T-38 had insufficient power and airspeed to sustain lift and stalled. 

With their T-38 in a fully developed stall 25 to 40 feet above the ground, the crew ejected from the aircraft.  Their near simultaneous ejection caused contact between the two ejection seats and disrupted the direction and sequence of the ejection.  Both were killed on impact with the ground.

The accident investigation board (AIB) determined the cause of this mishap was pilot error from the instructor pilot's failure to execute critical emergency procedures upon right engine failure. Specifically, the decision to retract the flaps rather than leaving them extended resulted in insufficient lift to sustain flight.

There were no other casualties from this mishap and other than the aircraft, there was no property damage.  Colonel Richard S. Haddad, 23rd Air Force, Hurlburt Field, Fla., headed the AIB.

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