Air Combat Command investigators released an addendum to the report on the May 2012 crash of an F-16C from Hill AFB, Utah, at the Utah Test and Training Range. In its report issued last September, ACC’s accident investigation board determined that a manufacturing flaw in a blade in the first stage fan of the aircraft’s engine caused the crash and loss of the fighter during ground support training. The AIB president reopened the investigation to re-examine whether maintenance crews should have identified the manufacturing inconsistency at the base of the blade, according to ACC’s Feb. 7 release. The report addendum indicates that the blade’s surface inconsistency could have been detected during installation at Tinker AFB, Okla., in April 2004, states the release. However, the ability to detect the defect was limited due to the lubrication applied during machining work and the transfer of the part, it states. Procedures also did not require an inspection, and were not typically completed at Tinker for new blades arriving from the manufacturer, noted ACC. (Updated AIB report)
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.