Investigators declared the first prototype AC-130J Ghostrider gunship a total loss after the airframe was severely overstressed after departing controlled flight during a test sortie from Eglin AFB, Fla., officials announced. As a result of the incident, “the mishap aircraft exceeded its design limit load to an extent that rendered it unsafe for flight and is considered a total loss to the Air Force,” according to Air Force Materiel Command’s Accident Investigation Board report, released on Nov. 6. The crew was performing a high-angle, side-slip at Eglin AFB, Fla., during handling tests of the developmental gunship when the aircraft departed controlled flight at 15,000 feet altitude over the Gulf of Mexico, according to the AIB. The AC-130J “tumbled inverted” before test pilots were able to recover controlled flight, entering a vertical dive, on April 21. The aircraft lost 5,000 feet altitude, pulled 3.19 Gs, and oversped the flaps’ maximum allowed airspeed by 100 knots before returning to level flight. The AIB determined the pilot’s excessive rudder input and failure to quickly recover from uncontrolled flight were the primar?y cause of the mishap. Problems with the aircraft’s warning system, pilot disorientation, confusion from being hit with unsecured equipment, and inadequate technical guidance also contributed to the mishap. The aircraft, serial number 09-5710, also suffered a similar incident in February, and has been grounded since the April mishap. A second AC-130J prototype was delivered to commence operational testing at nearby Hurlburt Field, Fla., in July. Loss of the aircraft is estimated at $115.6 million. (See also Ghostrider Gains and Pains from the September issue of Air Force Magazine.)
Feb. 28, 2021
In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, Air Force Magazine is posting daily recollections from the six-week war, which expelled Iraq from occupied Kuwait.
Feb. 26, 2021
Acting Secretary of the Air Force Roth, NORAD’s Gen. VanHerck, U.S. Space Command’s Gen. Dickinson, Spark Tank, and more from Day 3 of the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.
Feb. 26, 2021
A crew chief and production superintendent from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., took home the 3D-printed trophy in the Department of the Air Force’s Spark Tank innovation contest for a simple idea he predicts could “solve a lot of issues across the aircraft community.” Master Sgt. Justin Bauer pitched his…
The first flight of the AGM-183A hypersonic missile will happen within a week, experts reported Feb. 26 at AFA's virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. The Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon will fly soon after a failed attempt, which was apparently due to technical and procedural glitches not related to the missile's design.
Air Combat Command is trying to move forward with an experiment it hopes will pave the way for a larger overhaul of fighter pilot training, despite pandemic-era complications. The command is working through the contracting process for the resources it needs to test the “Reforge” idea, ACC boss Gen. Mark…
Feb. 26, 2021
Nearly 140 Air National Guard personnel from Texas and Kentucky have responded to parts of Texas that were devastated by Winter Storm Uri, ANG Director Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh told reporters Feb. 26. The polar vortex ravaged Texas’ power grid and deprived many citizens of running water.
The head of Air Combat Command isn't sure the cost of operating the F-35 will hit the desired $25,000 per hour by 2025, and he's headed out to meetings to see what can be done to make it happen. He's also concerned that China will beat the U.S. to 6th-generation…
The Pentagon’s new Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military has 90 days to find ways to combat the problem within the ranks, and the group will consider all options to address an issue that has “shattered the dreams” of many service members who joined with optimism about…
Feb. 26, 2021
Air Education and Training Command has incorporated a focus on human performance optimization—which includes personal resilience, health, fitness, diet, and mental performance—into its Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 program, 19th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills said at the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.