Pilot’s Mistakes Led to Fatal T-38C Mishap

Error on the part of an instructor pilot caused the fatal crash of a T-38C trainer aircraft on May 1 at Sheppard AFB, Tex, that claimed his and another pilot’s life and destroyed the airplane, the Air Force announced Aug. 6. Air Force investigators found that Maj. Brad T. Funk, instructor pilot with Sheppard’s 90th Flying Training Squadron, failed to execute proper emergency procedures upon failure of the aircraft’s right engine during a training mission simulating a single-engine landing and then a renewed take off. Because of this, the aircraft stalled shortly off the ground. Both Funk and 2nd Lt. Alec F. Littler, a student pilot assigned to the 80th Operations Support Squadron, ejected near simultaneously, which caused contact between their ejection seats and disrupted the direction and sequence of their ejections. Both were subsequently killed upon ground impact.