52 FW releases AIB report on A-10C crash in Germany

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Spangdahlem Air Base officials released the results of their investigation into the April 1, 2011 crash of an A-10C Thunderbolt II, north of Laufeld, Germany as it returned to base on a training mission.

Concluding the investigation, the board president determined that the cause of the Spangdahlem-based A-10C crash was human factor error.

"Specifically, the mishap pilot suffered from spatial disorientation while flying in close formation on an instrument approach in weather. The mishap pilot broke out of the weather, recognized the unusual attitude, attempted briefly to recover the mishap aircraft, experienced "ground rush" and ejected based on the unrecoverable parameters. Additionally, the Board also found other contributing factors to include vision restricted by meteorological conditions, procedural error, and recency of experience."

The pilot survived the crash by ejecting before the aircraft impacted an unpopulated area near Laufeld. The aircraft was completely destroyed upon impact.

The USAFE vice-commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen Mueller, convened an Accident Investigation Board to investigate the crash, and designated Col. Peter Davey, 603rd Air Operations Center Commander, as the board president.

The convening authority approved the board president's report without comments.

The primary purpose of the board was to provide a publicly releasable report of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. An executive summary of the report is available at http://usaf.aib.law.af.mil/index.html.

The entire report is available at http://usaf.aib.law.af.mil/. For more information contact the USAFE Public Affairs Office at 011-49-6371-47-6558 or pa.ops@ramstein.af.mil.