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F-18 Fighter Jet Crashes Into Virginia Apartment Complex

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  • Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lightknight (213164) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:44PM (#39602805) Homepage

    Anyone have an idea why this happened? Pilot error? Mechanical failure?

  • Okay, fine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:44PM (#39602809)
    I bullshit you not, this is a 100% true story. A friend of mine just got a small apartment complex construction approved by the city and county and the nearby airport denied it because it's in some kind of zone. It's not even the 2-story part, it's a density thing. If it was spread out houses, they'd approve it but having that many people that close together is a safety hazard if a plan were to miss the runway and crash. It was over a mile from the front of the runway by the way. So anyway, they were appealing the decision because "how often do planes randomly crash into apartment complexes next to airports." I have a feeling they're about to either drop the appeal or lose.
  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:07PM (#39602985)
    There was also apparently a fuel dump. So, either the student pilot hit a wrong button, or when they say "catastrophic mechanical failure", catastrophic is probably not an exaggeration.
  • Re:Slashdot-worthy? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lightknight (213164) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:20PM (#39603075) Homepage

    Catastrophic mechanical errors do fall under the jurisdiction of News for Nerds, as a fair number of site visitors have some understanding of mechanics (if not outright degrees in Mechanical Engineering), as do F-18 Hornets (which is more Aeronautical Engineering, but whatever).

    And the politics thing has been a part of the site since 2000 or 2001.

  • Re:Okay, fine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:35PM (#39603197)

    About 11 years ago, on September 11 2001? Well, it wasn't an apartment complex as such, but it was definitely a fighter (commandeered) jet.

    It's not a crash if you "land" exactly where you planned to. Well I guess technically it is but only in the way suicide is technically murder.

  • Re:Grim Factoid? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:52PM (#39603323)

    Indeed. A few months ago I was reading about the Royal Air Force in the 1950s, and some years they lost close to a thousand aircraft of various types; modern jets are so expensive that you can't afford to crash them at the rate we used to a few decades ago.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:59PM (#39603383)

    Sure is ... quantity of training, not quality of patronage.

    I've worked with several allied and friendly militaries. The Brits, Germans and Aussies, just as good as us. Turks, Italians, Colombians and Bulgarians, professional, competent, but much lower fidelity of training and exercises. Mexicans, Kenyans, Ehtiopians, Ugandans, Iraqis, marginal competency and leadership adequate to engage in combat. Every other OPEC country I've worked with, most eastern European countries, and the Chinese -- enlisted mercenary mindset and straightforward patronage in the officer corps.

    Western militaries all work on quality of training and equipment. The 3rd world militaries are all about size. China is in the middle of an internal RMA as they realize that their 3 million soldiers are roughly useless with their byzantine C2 structure and backwards procurement, and are pouring money into modern materiel. The quantities and type of procurement, I hope, is aimed at retaking Taiwan in a paper maneuver, but they appear intent on starting the next world war to secure oil and mineral resources. Yes, that means conquering Australia (iron ore), much of the islands to secure oil, and I have no clue how much of Africa they expect to occupy. I sure hope I'm wrong, but hope isn't much to live on.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:15PM (#39603489)

    A witness was quoted as saying that the engine sounded like it was dying. The problem there is that the Hornet is a twin engine plane. If it was an engine going out, then they could have just shut it down and flew home on the remaining engine.

    The accident happened during (or shortly after) take-off. Anyone know if an F-18 *needs* both engines at that time. BTW, I live in Virginia Beach and the crash happened less than 5 miles from both my house and office. Obviously, the area (Birdneck Road and I-264) is a mess at the moment...

  • by Mark of THE CITY (97325) on Friday April 06, 2012 @10:46PM (#39604163) Homepage
    I used to live in Poway (1969-1982), under the approach pattern for Miramar Marine Corps, formerly Naval, Air Station. I also went to university at [[UCSD]] on the west end of the station. There were accidents over the years, this one [gendisasters.com] especially bad as a single-engine [[F-8 Crusader]] lost power on approach, hit a hangar full of aircraft caught fire. I bet this tragedy and others figured into all subsequent Navy/Marines fighters having two engines. More recently, a [[2008 San Diego F/A-18 crash]] caused four civilian fatalities, following a (relatively rare) double-engine flameout. Most crashes were far less spectacular (ejections over open water or empty fields). Both Miramar and Oceana have more development now, adding to the danger.
  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903) on Friday April 06, 2012 @10:57PM (#39604187)
    It was pointed out on an aviation site (and visible in a Gizmodo photo [gizmodo.com] that the engine nozzles are set asymmetrically (left side is closed down, right is opened up). So this could indicate a problem with one (the right?) engine.
  • by bdwoolman (561635) on Friday April 06, 2012 @11:33PM (#39604361) Homepage

    That is how George Will labeled this kind reporting. The bottom feeders have even gotten worse since he issued his indictment of this vile practice. Mr Will and I share few political ideas. But he was spot on with this characterization. I think of it every time I see one of these savage reports.

    "So, your son died in a friendly fire incident in Kabul this morning. How does this make you feel, Mrs ________?"

  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:54AM (#39604791) Journal

    I've worked with several allied and friendly militaries. The Brits, Germans and Aussies, just as good as us.

    India's air force is top notch.
    They've embarrassed us a few times during international military exercises.
    And they have the 4th largest air force in the world

  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blackicye (760472) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @03:00AM (#39604969)

    There was also apparently a fuel dump. So, either the student pilot hit a wrong button, or when they say "catastrophic mechanical failure", catastrophic is probably not an exaggeration.

    Just a guess, but maybe they dumped fuel in order to incinerate as little as possible of the crash site? It might even make sense for the flight computer to do this automatically if it predicts an imminent crash.

    They primarily dump fuel to reduce weight, and increase manoeuvrability, the flaming inferno factor usually comes in last.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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