High Attack Angle, Airframe Flaw Downed F-15D

An F-15D assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, crashed on Oct. 8, 2014, in part because of a radome imperfection, which “generated sufficient yaw to cause a spin and delay … recovery,” according to an accident investigation board report, released March 12. The mission pilot was conducting basic fighting maneuvers just north of Lakenheath at the time of the incident. On the final planned engagement, the pilot entered into a “series of vertical maneuvers” and then “executed an abrupt aft-stick pull that spiked” the aircraft’s “angle of attack,” according to the report. Although “a series of aerodynamic studies” have shown that similar radome imperfections “do not significantly affect aircraft aircraft performance except in infrequent cases” the pilot’s “abrupt aft-stick pull placed the [mishap aircraft] in this flight regime,” states the report. In addition, “By a preponderance of evidence, the board president also found that the inherent reduced stability of the F-15D model was a significant contributing factor to the mishap,” states the report. (USAFE-AFAFRICA release)