Engine Fire Doomed F-15E

An unexplained engine fire caused the loss of an F-15E on an aggressor training sortie from the operating location of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia on May 3, announced Air Combat Command. “A rare ignition of the titanium components” within the right engine severely damaged vital systems, leading to the crash, according to the findings of ACC’s accident investigation board, whose report came out on Sept. 26. Midway through the training engagement, the Strike Eagle’s crew experienced a violent concussion during a full-afterburner climb, according to the AIB report. The pilot leveled the aircraft, and immediately shut down the right engine, responding to an overheat warning, states the report. Struggling to control the aircraft, the pilot applied full left stick and rudder to keep the fighter near level. The pilot called his backseater to eject, then canceled the order after regaining momentary control. Moments later, a complete power failure forced the crew to eject and both were recovered unharmed, states the report. The F-15E belonged to the 391st Fighter Wing from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. The cost of the airplane’s loss is estimated at $45.5 million. (AIB report; caution, large-sized file.)