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CheckSix

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 #16 
I won't say the site is remote nowadays (6 miles north of Banning), but difficult to get to - yup!


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DaveTrojan

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 #17 
Hey CheckSix,
how about posting pages of the narrative and or conclusion from the accident report?
CheckSix

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 #18 
Will do - give me a day or so...

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RNester

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 #19 

I'm writing today to respond to the below.

 

For some reason, possibly a slow crosscheck, the pilot allowed the aircraft to decelerate below briefed airspeed and fall well beyond the desired 2-mile distance behind the preceding F-4. Rather than use angular cutoff to close the distance as called for in the flight manual, the pilot tapped afterburner and accelerated to a very high speed which, in turn, significantly increased the aircraft's turning radius or caused him to become disoriented. In either case, the result was impact with a sheer rock face.

 

There are only two pieces of that quote that we can know with high certainty, the rest is conjecture.  The two things we know are that he fell behind, and that at some point he selected AB. 

 

One of the big puzzles in this incident was Ray Ortiz, as FL66 said, he was one of the best, an Instructor WSO.  He knew what was happening, why didn't he eject?


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Richard A. Nester
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 #20 

I thought of one more thing.  If anyone is going to post anything from the UNCLASS portion of the official report, but sure to post the correct version.  The report was changed a couple of years after initially released.


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Richard A. Nester
DaveTrojan

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 #21 
"changed a couple of years after initially released"
Now that is interesting. I never heard of them doing that. 
CheckSix

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 #22 
Finally checked - the report I have is super-brief...  Just a Form 711 and a couple of aerials.  But the wreck site is pinpointed.

RNester - are you the squadron commander who spoke at Martin and Ortiz' memorial service?

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RNester

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 #23 

WRT the accident report being changed, perhaps "found not valid" is better than "changed."  The accident board process, in a nutshell, is to try and find out what happened.  Was there a mechanical failure, did the crew make a procedural or discipline error, was weather, other environmental factors, ATC, crew coordination, squadron supervision, mission briefing, etc---were any of those factors.  Then of course, the objective is to take the findings and try and implement changes that don't allow other accidents to happen for the same reasons.  The board President is given his authority and tasking by the command--numbered Air Force Commdander, I think.  At any rate, the board Pres is expected to go back to that commander in 30 days and tell him what happened, who or what is to blame, and support a group of recommendations.  If he can't place the blame, he risks the wrath of that commander, and being sent back to reconvene the board and work some more.  In more difficult accidents/incidents, it may be impossible to figure out exactly what happened, even knowing the context of radio calls, visual clues from other aircraft, position of instruments, switches, handles, levers, flight control actuators, etc., at the time of the crash.  But, boards are still under pressure to find the cause (assess blame), and are therefore vulnerable to stretching some facts into a broader supposition, and so forth.  In this case, the report was written, briefed up the chain and sent to the Safety Center where the safety experts look at the whole thing again to be sure the findings and recommendations are valid, based on fact and logical connecting of the dots, and they either approve/bless the report or they don't.  If they bless it, it goes into the files, and the recommendations go back to the field--I forget the exact process.  If they don't agree with the report, they have the authority to change the findings and recommendations, or perhaps more accurately just say they disagree and do not believe the findings are valid.  As I think about it, I am betting that the UNCLASS report (Form 711?) probably does not reflect any of this process, not sure.  At any rate, some of the findings in this accident were deemed not valid during this review, and to the best of my knowledge nothing was ever done to reopen the investigation because the facts were known, and just the connecting of the dots leading to stated causes was not believed to be valid.


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Richard A. Nester
Jeff_Wilkinson

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 #24 
Keep in mind that at the time of the crash (as it is today), there would have been two separate investigations with two different reports. See my entry here for more info on the two:

AF Safety Board Reports vs. Accident Investigation Board Reports

The Safety Board report is for mishap prevention, while the AIB report is for legal purposes. The AIB report is not vetted by the Safety Center, but is briefed to the MAJCOM commander. I've seen changes made to the reports for a variety of reasons, especially when new evidence comes to light.


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Jeff Wilkinson
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RNester

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 #25 

Jeff, you are absolutely correct, and that was an excellent summary you included.  However, it was the Safety Center who determined that the original findings were invalid, so it must have been the SIB report.  And to the best of my knowledge (or memory) no new information was added.  Thanks for clairifacation. 


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Richard A. Nester
Jeff_Wilkinson

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 #26 
Makes me curious what the findings of the SIB were before the Safety Center issued the Memorandum of Final Evaluation (MOFE). SIB (and AIB) investigations are conducted not by full-time investigators (unlike the NTSB) but by people who are experts in their field. It's not uncommon to have findings or recommendations changed, especially if the SIB designated certain findings as "causal" if they weren't necessarily so.

Has anyone contacted the Staff Judge Advocate at ACC to see if the AIB report is still available? Not only will it contain the findings of the AIB, but should also contain Part One (Tabs A to S) of the SIB report.

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Jeff Wilkinson
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VOFSAR

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 #27 
I visited the site within a year of the crash, I was on the SAR team, but not the team that found the wreckage. It is on Morongo Indian Reservation property, which requires negotiating with officials at the gate(s). The elevation is about 3750' and in my recollection, fairly accessible. I dismiss reports that the wreckage was at 5500' in Wood Canyon. On my first visit, there was some accordioned parts of the fuselage, some fan blades and tons of confetti. The impact crater was on a perpendicular wall, but not of solid granite as reported and had some small amount of molten metal of some kind in the center of the crater. The wreckage is almost intermingled with a C-119 that went down during fire suppression efforts in the (70's?), leaving behind a PW 2800 18 cylinder engine and some large metal debris. The area has burned over and I didn't have a GPS at the time of my first visit, so subsequent visits to the F-4 site have been unsuccessful for me. The location of the PW 2800/C-119 is at 33 58'31.99, 116 46' 41.99, the F-4 should be relatively close by, if anything remains. Probably a micro site, by now. BTW, the wreckage was in a drainage (dry creek). Some cautions: Large big horn steers graze in the area; attending them is mountain lion (I was stalked within 10' by one); rattle snakes, etc. It can get hot on the exposed southern side of this area; take lots of fluids. Also, to the south of your search area (overlooking I-10) there is a sharp drop-off to keep in mind.
F5G

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 #28 
I read a report somewhere years ago that Dean Martin son died when he tried a loop his F4 Phantom, during the pull-out he crashed..


Terry
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 #29 
Terry, the story about the loop is absolutely false.  I know many in the media speculated on the Martin/Ortiz crash, but they generally had no idea what they were talking about.
VOFSAR

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 #30 
Although I was on the SAR team that searched for Dino's F-4, our squad did not locate the wreckage. I did, however, return to the site about a year later. There was, at the time, one piece of accordioned fuselage, engine fan, impact crater and a lot of metal confetti. The area is restricted access through the Morongo Indian Reservation. These restrictions were not in effect on my first trip.
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