Out of Control and Unresponsive

A flight control system failure caused an F-15C to crash during an air-to-air training flight near Kadena AB, Japan, last spring, Pacific Air Forces investigators determined. The 44th Fighter Squadron aircraft had completed a two-ship scenario on May 28, 2013, and was returning to base when the pilot reported the aircraft stopped responding to control inputs. The F-15 entered a descending left-hand corkscrew, from which the pilot was unable to recover, despite attempts to isolate the fault, forcing him to successfully eject at 4,500 feet. The accident investigation board conclusively found the mishap was caused by the aircraft’s failure “to respond to the pilot’s flight control inputs due to a failure in the aircraft’s hydro-mechanical flight control system,” according to the report. Investigators added that a lack of simulator training on this type of malfunction and limited time to troubleshoot contributed to the accident. The F-15’s loss is estimated at $32.6 million, according to the report. (AIB report) (PACAF release)