December 23, 2020

Emergency Airworthiness Directives (EAD) for Pilatus training aircrafts

It began a few weeks ago with an 1st Emergency Airworthiness Directive for the Harley-type buckle assemblies in the seat harness of the ejection seat on Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft. French Air Force recognised a problem and informed Martin Baker/Pilatus and the respective governments:

Pilatus PC-21 is the latest turboprop-powered advanced military training aircraft and in use by the Air Forces of Australia (49), France (17), Jordan (12), Qatar (24), Saudi Arabia (55), Singapore (19), Spain (24, 1st delivery end of 2020; will replace mainly the CASA C-101 Aviojet, but will also take over advanced training which is currently carried out on the T-35 Pillan), Switzerland (8), United Arab Ermirates (25) and the United Kingdom (2 for advanced training in ETPS).

At this moment (December 23rd), there are all modern military training aircraft systems of Pilatus Aircraft Ltd listed with the same problem of requiring a specific inspection.

December 11, 2020

Trial: Swiss Hornet Pilot that crashed in France in 2015 acquitted

The 43-year-old F/A-18 fighter jet pilot was charged with multiple negligent failure to comply with service regulations before Military Court II in Aarau.

The pilot was also acquitted of allegations of misuse and leakage of material. The court refrains from disciplinary punishment. The auditor had requested a conditional fine of 60 daily rates. The defense attorney demanded an acquittal.

The F / A-18 fighter jet crashed uncontrollably near the French town of Glamondans and was totally destroyed. According to the indictment, there was a total loss of around 55 million francs.

During the two-day trial, the pilot had reported the problems during combat training. Until the end he did not know what problem he had. It was about preventing flying into the ground. It was an emergency."I only had one try, only a few seconds. I did what I could," he said. In all other accidents in the past 25 years, the Swiss pilots with the F/A-18 crashed and died. "I have chosen life," said the pilot.

With the happy ending of this story I will also publish my favourite cartoon to this incident, made by Tagesanzeiger cartoonist Kurt Schaad:

(And I say Pierre, that was not a duck !)

December 10, 2020

December 05, 2020

Pilot of Hornet Crash 2015 in France now on trial

 The aircraft - Hornet D J-5235 - crashed during an air combat training with two F-5 Tiger II in the binational EUC25 training area near Glamondance (F) on october 14th, 2015. Pilot ejected with only minor injuries and is now on trial for not following rules/emergency procedures to safe the aircraft.

The Pilot - Martin H. - was one of three test pilots for flying the Gripen due the evaluation 2014 and can be seen here on an swiss television documentary. The presumption of innocence continues to apply to the accused pilot:

The aircraft crashed was mainly in use by armasuisse as a test aircraft with special wiring - seen here in january 2004 

Reports of the french/swiss investigation (on June 13th, 2017) stated that (source):

 ... In the last exercise phase, the left engine of the F / A-18D stalled, which resulted in a drop in engine performance. The aircraft began to roll to the left with an unwanted rolling motion and quickly lost altitude. The pilot was no longer able to bring the aircraft into a stable flight position. Shortly afterwards he operated the ejector seat. The plane then crashed on an arable land near the village of Glamondans in the French Jura. The pilot survived slightly injured.

.../ ... 

Based on these results, the F / A-18 pilot is initially suspected of violating Art. 72 MStG (non-compliance with service regulations) and Art. 73 MStG (misuse and waste of material). In order to be able to determine whether a criminal act was committed in a specific case, the examining magistrate asked divisional officer Bernhard Müller, deputy commander and chief operations officer of the Air Force, to order a preliminary investigation. The latter approved the application and ordered a preliminary investigation.

The presumption of innocence continues to apply to the accused pilot.

F / A-18 crash of 2015: Main hearing in military court (source)

Bern, 11/24/2020 - On December 9, 2020, the main hearing against the pilot of the F / A-18 fighter plane, which crashed in 2015 in the French Jura, begins in Aarau before Military Court 2. He is accused of multiple negligent non-compliance with service regulations as well as negligent abuse and waste of material.

From December 9 to 11, 2020, the main hearing of Military Court 2 against the pilot of the F / A-18 fighter aircraft will take place in Aarau, which crashed on October 14, 2015 as part of air combat training near the French village of Glamondans near the Swiss border. The indictment accuses the pilot of multiple negligent non-compliance with service regulations as well as negligent misuse and waste of material. The trial is expected to last three days. Military Court 2 is presided over by Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Rüedi.

The hearing begins on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 8:15 a.m., in the Chamber of the Commercial Court of the Canton Aargau (Obere Vorstadt 40, 5000 Aarau). It's public. The number of visitor places is limited due to the protective measures in connection with COVID-19.

Media representatives and other interested persons who want to take part in the main public hearing are asked to register with the Communication Military Justice Department by Friday, December 4, 2020 at the latest. The registered persons will be informed up to two days before the main hearing whether they can take part in the main hearing. Identification and registration is required in the courthouse. The registered media workers will be sent additional information (including indictment) about the proceedings before the main hearing.

shortly after the crash a rapid response unit deployed to the crash site in France out of Meiringen