Accident Northrop T-38A Talon 66-4364, 31 Aug 1978
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 64708
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Type:Silhouette image of generic T38 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Northrop T-38A Talon
Owner/operator:80th FTWg USAF (80th FTWg United States Air Force)
Registration: 66-4364
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
This accident occurred on an aerobatic training mission. While entering a loop the aircraft experienced a structural failure of the wing. The left wing folded up over the fuselage causing the aircraft to enter an extreme roll. The instructor was Capt. Swanson, who ejected from the back seat at what the USAF estimated to be 550 kts. Swanson was killed due to the extreme forces caused by the high speed ejection. The student (can’t remember his name) ejected at a slower speed (under 500 kts) and was seriously injured. He was eventually medically retired from the USAF, having never regained flight status.

During the accident investigation it was shown that the accident aircraft had a fatigue crack in the wing that had been missed on previous inspections. The crack propagated from the cutout in the spar for the main gear tire and spread across the narrow part of the spar over a long period of time. It was determined that this crack started at a stress riser caused by the manufacture’s machining practices when the wing planform was built in 1966.

Subsequently the entire T-38 fleet was grounded worldwide while every aircraft was inspected in the wheel well area by eddy current looking for cracks.



Revision history:

06-Sep-2014 16:25 Aerossurance Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Country, Phase, Nature, Source, Narrative]
11-Mar-2020 16:35 DG333 Updated [Operator, Operator]

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