New Talon Levers

The Air Force intends to replace the type of wing lever in its T-38C trainers that was identified earlier this month as the cause of a fatal Talon crash at Columbus AFB, Miss., in April. Gen. Stephen Lorenz, commander of Air Education and Training Command, said in a release Aug. 11 that the service would install new, stronger levers in all T-38s as soon as they are manufactured and available. The April accident involving the broken lever—identified as a part of the right aileron by the accident investigation board—is the first known instance of this part failing. But since there is the “very small chance” that the part may fail again, the Air Force made the decision to replace them, Lorenz said. In the interim, T-38 flying operations will continue since AETC deemed the risk acceptable after consulting with subject matter experts, he said. “You have my word that if I learn of information to the contrary, we will stop flying immediately,” he said. Already the practice of moving the T-38’s flight controls on the ground with no power has been halted since this placed “high stress” on the lever, Lorenz said.