Board announces cause of F-15 crash

  • Published
Investigators have determined that structural failure led to the April 30 crash of an F-15 Eagle into the Gulf of Mexico about 60 miles south of Panama City, Fla.

James A. Duricy, from the 46th Test Wing here, was declared dead following the crash after search and rescue efforts were unsuccessful.

Investigators concluded he likely ejected under conditions that were instantly fatal.

The accident investigation board report said there is clear and convincing evidence that structural failure of the honeycomb material supporting the leading edge of the left vertical stabilizer during a high-speed test dive was the primary cause of the crash. At about 24,000 feet and at an airspeed of about 900 mph, the aircraft experienced the structural failure which caused part of the tail to break off and the fighter to depart from controlled flight. The departure created other structural overloads that resulted in the aircraft breaking up.

The accident occurred while conducting a captive carry flight test for the AIM-9X, an improved version of the Sidewinder air-to-air missile.