ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 145713
Last updated: 8 December 2016
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Narrative:On May 18, 2012, at 1212 Pacific standard time, a Hawker Hunter Mk 58, single-seat turbojet fighter aircraft, N329AX, operated by ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Company) under contract to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) crashed while on approach to Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California (NTD). The sole pilot aboard was killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The flight was conducted under the provisions of a contract between ATAC and the U.S. Navy to provide ATAC owned and operated aircraft to support adversary and electronic warfare training with VMFAT-101 (Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101). The airplane was operating as a non-military public aircraft under the provisions of Title 49 of the United States Code Sections 40102 and 40125.
Hawker Hunter F.Mk 58
|Owner/operator:||Airborne Tactical Advantage Company|
|C/n / msn:|| 41H-003067|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||1.5mi from Naval Air Station Point Mugu CA -
United States of America
It crashed in a field off Broome Ranch Road between CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo and Point Mugu.
NTSB say ATAC did not have a crew resource management or aeronautical decision making training program in effect. If such a program had been in effect, it may have led the accident pilot to follow the flight lead's recommendation and return or divert rather than continue the flight and troubleshoot.
Sergio Mendoza, 23, was working in a celery field when he saw the two planes flying together. Mendoza said he saw one jet catch on fire and start breaking apart midair before he lost sight of the plane going down.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: the pilot's decision to continue the flight with a known fuel imbalance condition that resulted in a loss of lateral control when the imbalance exceeded the known capabilities of the airplane. The fuel imbalance was due to incomplete refueling and an ineffective preflight inspection by the pilot. The imbalance was further complicated by an incorrectly assembled fuel transfer valve and motor combination.
Contributing to the severity of the accident was the pilot's delayed decision to eject prior to exceeding the ejection seat envelope. Also contributing to the accident was (1) the Navy's oversight environment, which did not require airman, aircraft, and risk management controls or standards expected of a commercial civil aviation operation, and (2) ATAC's organizational environment, which did not include CRM training to promote good aeronautical decision-making and ORM guidance to mitigate hazards. Also contributing to the accident were the design features of the airplane, which were typical of its generation, including the lack of accurate fuel quantity indications, the design of the fuel transfer valve; and the maintenance program's lack of clearly documented procedures and type-specific training for the Hunter.
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