Air Combat Command investigators determined that a sun shelter on the flight line at Nellis AFB, Nev., collapsed in high-winds last September due to missing and damaged braces needed to secure the structure. Maintenance personnel secured aircraft and equipment on base ahead of the storm, according to the findings of ACC’s accident investigation board. Wind gusts of up to 56 knots reduced airfield visibility to near zero, states the report. Ground crews were loading 10 F-16s and two A-10s with weapons for live-fire exercises when the structure collapsed on the aircraft on Sept. 8, 2011. Eight of the 40 personnel on scene sustained minor injuries. Additionally, nine vehicles and 21 pieces of airfield equipment were damaged, states the report. Explosives ordnance disposal personnel were dispatched to secure the weapons, including four damaged AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, according to the report. The total cost of repairing or replacing aircraft, vehicles, and equipment was pegged at $7.4 million. (ACC release) (AIB report; caution, large-sized file.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.