Failure on the part of an Air Force Special Operations Command instructor pilot to ensure “adequate time separation” between the PC-12 light transport aircraft that he was flying and a preceding AC-130 gunship led to the PC-12 flying into wake turbulence upon landing approach at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and crashing during a training sortie July 8, Air Force accident investigators have determined. According to the newly issued findings of the accident investigation board, the wake turbulence led to the pilot losing control of the aircraft. The crash caused “substantial damage” to the PC-12 and minor injuries to the three pilots aboard, including the instructor and two students. There was no evidence of any mechanical failure, the AIB said. AFSOC uses the PC-12 to shuttle special ops forces around within a theater.
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.