dangle
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U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:59 pm

Updated version of today's LAT article includes photos that are claimed to be of the accident aircraft:

https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... china-lake
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:11 am

Seven people are said to be injured. Most probably a panic reaction to the crash.
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
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Tugger
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:08 pm

And this wasn't just any "normal accident", the plane flew into a cliffside, full on. And basically disintegrated. It was the shrapnel and fuel etc. that apparently injured the people on a ridge above. This is a weird one.

The pilot died. Condolences to his/her family.

Here is a more current article with more information:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/08/02/ ... th-valley/

Tugg
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Kiwirob
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:50 pm

So it looks like it could be suicide?
 
Sooner787
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:43 pm

Kiwirob wrote:
So it looks like it could be suicide?


I seriously doubt that.. Flying that low and that fast , there's no room for error,
whether a pilot gets behind the aircraft or there's a mechanical issue.

Prayers to the pilot's family and to his squadron :(
 
dangle
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:44 pm

Pilot has been named (quoted from LAT):

The Navy pilot who was killed in a crash at Death Valley National Park earlier this week has been identified as 33-year-old Lt. Charles Z. Walker, officials said.

“The NAS Lemoore aviation family is grieving the loss of one of our own,” said Capt. James Bates, commander of Strike Fighter Wing Pacific.

“Lt. Walker was an incredible naval aviator, husband and son. He was an integral member of the Vigilante family and his absence will be keenly felt on the flight line,” Bates said. “Our aviators understand the risk associated with this profession, and they knowingly accept it in service to our nation. The untimely loss of a fellow aviator and shipmate pains us all. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... lley-crash

A terrible time for his spouse and family.

To Kiwirob: I haven't seen anything in the media to indicate suicide. If you're referring to the fact the pilot failed to eject, I think this simply speaks to the rapidity of his transition from controlled flight to controlled flight into terrain leaving no time to eject.
 
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DeltaMD90
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:13 pm

Common misconception for people that haven't flown ejection seat aircraft... You'd think you'd always have a get out of jail free card and deaths would be rare. To the contrary, they are usually in high performance aircraft. High performance aircraft are great but you are often seconds away from hitting something with the right (or should I say wrong) inputs

You can go from a normal flight, thousands of hours into your career, to a very bad situation in a second... And by the time you process what is hap—DEAD

Know a guy that last week came close to departing the side of the runway and hitting trees, close call. Literally a second or so from death (not his fault, it was his student unexpectedly slamming right rudder plus brake.) I asked him if he considered ejection, he said no, it just happened so quickly.

He was lucky, but theoretically he had enough time to eject... if you sit on a couch and analyze the situation the next day or are in the plane with a crystal ball of what's gonna happen. Just the sheer unexpectedness and human reaction time overwhelmed him. And he's an excellent pilot
 
cpd
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:28 am

Sooner787 wrote:
Kiwirob wrote:
So it looks like it could be suicide?


I seriously doubt that.. Flying that low and that fast , there's no room for error,
whether a pilot gets behind the aircraft or there's a mechanical issue.

Prayers to the pilot's family and to his squadron :(


Speculation has been that it was to try and avoid the people on the ground.

An awful accident and the pilot is far too young to die. :( He is only some years younger than me.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:10 pm

That’s always the speculation and almost never the case. A handful of out of control plane means the pilot is way too focused to see and avoid a crowd of people. Yes, there’s been cases, but it cook cookie that can do it in a very controlled situation. This CFIT case doesn’t look likely to be such a case
 
aklrno
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:24 pm

Has anyone seen any coordinates of the crash site? I go through that area a few times a year but I can’t pin it down. Sounds like it’s part of Panamint Valley. Is the scenic lookout spot the Father Crowley viewpoint? That’s the only place on the California highway 190 with a parking area. I can’t think of any other road in the area except the one to China Lake but that one isn’t on a ridge.

I have had fighters fly over me so low in Panamint Valley that I expect to see scorch marks on the car roof.
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:05 pm

aklrno wrote:
Has anyone seen any coordinates of the crash site? I go through that area a few times a year but I can’t pin it down. Sounds like it’s part of Panamint Valley. Is the scenic lookout spot the Father Crowley viewpoint? That’s the only place on the California highway 190 with a parking area. I can’t think of any other road in the area except the one to China Lake but that one isn’t on a ridge.

I have had fighters fly over me so low in Panamint Valley that I expect to see scorch marks on the car roof.


Crash site is about 650 yards NE of the Father Crowley parking lot. It's very near the dirt trail that proceeds NE of the parking lot overlooking the canyon wall. Presumably, the civilians who were injured were on this trail. There are several pictures of it on the web. Here's one: https://www.kget.com/wp-content/uploads ... 540&crop=1

Oh and coordinates assumed to be here: 36.354772°,-117.545417°
Condolences to the family of the aviator.
 
aklrno
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:31 am

Thanks retired weasel. Did you fly through the area in a wild weasel? F4 or F18? Are you one of the people who flew at rooftop level?

Will the accident report be released to the public? The pilot must have been flying right into a very bright afternoon sun. I wonder if that was an issue.
 
aklrno
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:44 am

Just saw Juan Browne (blancolirio) on YouTube and he described the area well. He mentioned a possible morning sun problem. I didn’t realize it happened early in the day.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:12 pm

Those coordinates work easily with google maps, then switch to 'satellite' - thanks.
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WIederling
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:22 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
Seven people are said to be injured. Most probably a panic reaction to the crash.


You mean the individual parts from the rapid disassembly panicked
running over some unsuspecting visitors to the area?
Murphy is an optimist
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:30 pm

aklrno wrote:
Thanks retired weasel. Did you fly through the area in a wild weasel? F4 or F18? Are you one of the people who flew at rooftop level?

Will the accident report be released to the public? The pilot must have been flying right into a very bright afternoon sun. I wonder if that was an issue.


Stationed at George AFB for 2 tours during the late 70's and 80's, we flew extensively in the Panamint Valley area including a lot of low level on our way to a training range. There was no internet, no "Star Wars Canyon", no "Rainbow Canyon" that I can remember. Presumably we flew either down that canyon or close to it during training, but I can't remember differentiating it from other canyons in the area. Our standard formation for Weasel Tactics would probably have not allowed one F-4 to go low in the canyon and we had altitude restrictions (depending on the current TAC commander) varying between 300' and 500'. So I doubt we flew really low in this canyon during that time frame like you can find on U-Tube of current showboating.

Edit: The accident report will be made public eventually, but may take months to years. I won't speculate on the cause because the list of factors could be a mile long.
 
BravoOne
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:02 pm

Suspect that this is the area where the crash occurred.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiAW6u4Yt1w
 
canyonblue17
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:42 pm

I had heard that Father Crowley Point had been temporarily closed following the crash. Any news as to whether it has since been opened? And will low level training continue in that area?
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JayinKitsap
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Re: U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashes in Death Valley

Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:49 am

BravoOne wrote:
Suspect that this is the area where the crash occurred.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiAW6u4Yt1w


Incredible video as well as the one following. At 500 nm 500' disappears in less than a second. Most of the passes would be over in 5 to 6 seconds. No time to correct if out of position.

May the pilot RIP, quite sad.

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