It Disintegrated?

The Missouri Air National Guard F-15C that crashed Nov. 2 possibly disintegrated during flight, reports the Washington Post. The Air Force grounded its entire F-15 fleet the next day, pending results of the accident investigation. It is flying the fighter only for mission critical operations in Southwest Asia and there the air component commander is using other aircraft for regular patrols, leaving the F-15s on “ground alert.” According to Josh White of the Post, initial findings from this latest accident revealed that the fighter “broke apart behind the cockpit while in flight.” This is the second recent F-15 accident suffered by the Missouri ANG’s 131st Fighter Wing at Lambert-St. Louis Airport. The Air Force has yet to release the accident report on the two-seat version F-15D that crashed in May, but the Post reports that a steering cable failed. The Air Force flies some 700 F-15s, averaging around 20 years old—the Air Guard average age is 28 years. Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Bentley told the Associated Press this week that the fighters are grounded indefinitely.