Spatial Disorientation Doomed U-28A Aircrew

Spatial disorientation among the aircrew caused the fatal crash of an Air Force Special Operations Command U-28A ISR aircraft in Djibouti, Africa, earlier this year, announced command officials on Oct. 24. All four crewmembers were killed when the aircraft went down just outside of the Ambouli International Airport on Feb. 18 as it was returning from a combat mission. AFSOC’s accident investigation board found that “the crew had fallen victim to spatial disorientation,” states AFSOC’s release. “The evidence demonstrates that the [mission crew] did not recognize the position of the aircraft and, as a result, failed to take appropriate corrective actions,” states the AIB report (caution, large-sized file). “The crew never lost control of the aircraft” and “there were no indications of mechanical malfunction,” states the release. The mishap crew was deployed to the 34th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The aircraft, tail number 07-0736, was assigned to Hurlburt Field, Fla. Valued at $14.5 million, it was destroyed in the mishap, according to AFSOC.