Air Combat Command officials have released the accident investigation board report that cites structural failure as the cause of the crash of a Missouri Air National Guard F-15 Eagle Nov. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)
1/10/2008 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFPN) -- A failure of the upper right longeron, a critical support structure in the F-15C Eagle, caused the crash of a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C, four miles south-southeast of Boss, Missouri, Nov 2.
According to the Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released Jan. 10, a technical analysis of the recovered F-15C wreckage determined that the longeron didn't meet blueprint specifications. This defect led to a series of fatigue cracks in the right upper longeron. These cracks expanded under life cycle stress, causing the longeron to fail, which initiated a catastrophic failure of the remaining support structures and led to the aircraft breaking apart in flight.
The pilot received injuries to his left shoulder and arm prior to ejecting from the aircraft. The $41.7 million aircraft, assigned to the Missouri Air National Guard's 131st Fighter Wing, was destroyed on impact. There were no fatalities. The pilot was the only person aboard the single-seat F-15C. The crash caused minimal damage to private property.
The board president, Col. William Wignall, a senior F-15 pilot, noted the pilot's actions during the mishap sequence were focused, precise and appropriate. The pilot's actions did not contribute to the mishap, said Colonel Wignall. In addition, a thorough review of local maintenance procedures revealed no problems or adverse trends which could have contributed to the accident.