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Air Force releases findings on 2018 Kadena Air Base F-15C mishap


Pacific Air Forces released the results of its investigation into an F-15C aircraft mishap that occurred June 11, 2018, off the coast of Kadena Air Base, Japan, Apr. 23, 2019.

On June 11, at approximately 6:17 a.m. local Japan Standard Time, an F-15C assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron, 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan, crashed into the Pacific Ocean approximately 70 miles south of Kadena. The aircraft broke apart upon impact. The pilot ejected from the aircraft and sustained serious injuries. Japan Air Self Defense Force rescue forces flying a UH-60J helicopter, recovered and transported the pilot to a military hospital at Camp Foster, Japan. 

The incident did not result in any other injuries, fatalities or damage to private property.

The Accident Investigation Board (AIB) president found by a preponderance of the evidence that the cause of the mishap was pilot error, which resulted in a negative G departure from controlled flight due to the coupling of aerodynamic forces of yaw and roll. 

Additionally, the AIB president found by a preponderance of the evidence that spatial disorientation, lack of emergency procedure training for negative G departures from controlled flight, and limited time to analyze the situation and recover were substantially contributing factors to the mishap.

Following this incident, the 18th Operations Group adjusted training standards to allow for increased decision time for pilots experiencing similar situations. Also, training and evaluation requirements have been increased on advanced aircraft handling characteristics.

In accordance with AFI 51-503, Aerospace and Ground Accident Investigations, the accident investigation board conducted a legal investigation to inquire into all the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident, prepared a publicly-releasable report, and obtained and preserved all available evidence for use in litigation, claims, disciplinary action, and adverse administrative action.

Click here to read the full version of the investigation report.