Mechanical failure of a T-38C’s right aileron led to the aircraft’s crash during a training mission April 23 at Columbus AFB, Miss., killing its two pilots, Air Education and Training Command said in a release Aug. 7. The findings of the mishap’s investigation show that the aileron failed in the full down position before takeoff. Maj. Blair Faulkner, a 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, and 2nd Lt. Matthew Emmons, a student pilot assigned to the 50th Flying Training Squadron, were taking off when the T-38 began an uncommanded roll to the left from which they were never able to fully recover. Although they ejected, they were too low and the aircraft was inverted, causing both to perish on impact with the ground. Just last week, Air Force investigators identified pilot error as the cause of a T-38C crash that took place at Sheppard AFB, Tex., on May 1.
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.