Accident Fairchild-Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II 78-0690, 27 May 1997
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 56232
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Type:Silhouette image of generic A10 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Fairchild-Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II
Owner/operator:354th FS, 355th FW, USAF (354th Fighter Squadron, 355th Fighter Wing, United States Air Force)
Registration: 78-0690
MSN: A10-0310
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Barry M Goldwater range, SW of Gila Bend, Arizona -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona (DMA/KDMA)
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
On 27th May 1997, USAF A-10A Thunderbolt II, 78-0690/DM of the 354th FS, 355th FW, was destroyed when it crashed on the Barry M. Goldwater training range, near Gila Bend in Arizona during a routine training flight. The (female) pilot Captain Amy Lynn Svoboda, was killed. On her last mission Amy should have been at 7,000 ft, but was flying at 3,000 ft. She inverted her aircraft and flew at almost full throttle into the ground.

It was the US Air Force's first fatal crash involving a female pilot. There was no sign that she ejected, and rescue crews weren't immediately able to search the wreckage because the plane was carrying live ammunition and rockets. A team trained to handle explosives waited until daylight before recovering the wreckage and the pilot.

Svoboda was one of six women flying the A-10 and 14 women overall flying fighters for the Air Force at the tine of this incident. According to the following extract from the official USAF AIB report into the incident:

"The Air Force report states that pilot error caused the crash, but that the darkness of the moon less night contributed to the catastrophe. Svoboda's A-10 was part of a two ship night surface attack training mission. Both pilots were using night vision goggles, while making bombing runs against range targets. The investigation also concluded, that "night vision goggles she wore reduce a pilot's peripheral vision and depth perception," although, other pilots have reported not having any troubles with the night vision goggles.

The two A-10 aircraft were supported on the mission by an A-10 forward air controller aircraft and an A-10 forward air controller instructor aircraft. During the training mission, the pilot flying the forward air control aircraft saw another A-10 below him at an altitude between 3,000 and 4,000 feet above ground level. The forward air control pilot observed Svoboda's aircraft in a right bank and in a 15 degree nose low attitude. According to the planned mission profile, this was at a time when Svoboda's aircraft should have been at an altitude between 7,000 and 8,000 feet above ground level, flying straight and level, or climbing.

In response, the forward air control pilot made a radio call for the pilot of the aircraft to "check dive angle." Svoboda responded by rolling further right to a nearly inverted position. Col. Harlan Mickelson of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's 12th Air Force headquarters said, "I am certain that Amy thought she was right-side up, because we found the engines at almost full power." Unaware of her true position, the report concludes that the pilot mistakenly pulled back on the stick to initiate what she thought would be a climb, this put her in an inverted dive, from which she could not recover.

Mickelson, who headed the investigative board, said Svoboda reported seeing four bomb impacts, meaning she would have had to twist around to see outside the right rear of her plane. "She should have been concentrating on her flight instrument panel," he said.

The A-10 was carrying practice weapons for the mission. The armaments included six BDU (bomb dummy unit) 33s-25 pound training bombs that emit smoke and a small flash for accuracy evaluation. the training bombs have the same ballistic characteristics as larger live ordnance.

The plane carried six 2.75 inch air to ground rockets. Pilots of the A-10, use these to mark targets or suppress enemy fire. The plane was also carrying 570 rounds of 30mm practice rounds for the gatling gun, and a practice AIM-9 (with out a live motor) air to air missile.

The accident investigation teams analysis included a study of the aircraft's engines, flight controls, egress and life support systems, instruments, oxygen system, hydraulic fluids and other aircraft systems, plus an examination of the aircraft's maintenance records. The maintenance and material analysis led the team to rule out mechanical failure."



Revision history:

05-Dec-2013 22:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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