Sheppard T-6 Crashes, Pilots Eject Safely

The T-6A Texan II is a single-engine, two-seat primary trainer designed to train Joint Primary Pilot Training, or JPPT, students in basic flying skills common to Air Force and Navy pilots. USAF photo.

A T-6 training aircraft crashed Wednesday afternoon in Oklahoma during a training flight. The pilot and co-pilot were able to safely eject.

The aircraft, from Sheppard AFB, Texas, crashed near Lake Waurika, Okla., about 40 miles northeast of the base and emergency crews were quickly dispatched to the scene, Sheppard said in a brief statement.

Sheppard is the Air Force’s largest training base, and is the home to the 80th Flying Training Wing, which trains both Air Force and NATO pilots. The 89th and 459th Flying Training Squadrons fly T-6s.

Wednesday’s crash is the latest in a series of incidents involving the aging Texan II, including a Sept. 19 crash of a T-6 from JBSA-Randolph, Texas. The pilots in that incident also were able to eject and sustained minor injuries.

The fleet has been plagued by issues with its on-board oxygen system, leading to a stand down in early 2018. The pause had a significant impact on the Air Force’s ability to train pilots. The Air Force Physiological Episodes Action Team has recommended that USAF stand up new program offices to monitor and slash the number of hypoxia-like incidents in its trainer and fighter fleets, as it overhauls the On-Board Oxygen Generations Systems on the Texan IIs.

Following the Wednesday crash, Sheppard stopped flight operations and began an investigation to determine the cause.