Aircraft part falls from a Kadena F-15 for the fourth time this year

October 21, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

During flight training on October 14, an F-15 fighter jet belonging to U.S. Air Force Kadena Base lost one of the engine parts, weighing 399 grams and 12.7 cm x 30.48 cm in diameter . According to the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG), it is not yet known from which part of the aircraft the part came off. There have been no reports of damage such as injuries. It is the fourth incident of its kind, in which F-15 parts or components fall off, this year.

The Governments of Japan and the United States agreed in 1997 that the U.S. would notify Japan immediately if parts fall from a U.S. military aircraft, whether inside or outside the bases. However, the OPG and local municipality offices received the incident information on October18, four days after the incident took place. According to the OPG, the missing part is a convergent engine liner. Incident information usually includes date, location, and a description of the incident. The base officials reported only that the accident took place in the airspace southwest of the base. However, the exact time the incident occurred is unknown.

Kadena Town Mayor Hiroshi Toyama, the president of the three municipalities liaison council consisting of the mayors of Okinawa City, Kadena and Chatan Town near the Kadena Air Base, criticized the U.S. military, saying that “The incidents of parts falling from U.S. aircraft have taken place one after another. The U.S. military is not taking measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents. They should stop F-15 flights and carry out safety inspections for all the aircraft. If they do not provide a solution, we cannot accept F-15 flight training.”

Wataro Rai, a member of a volunteer citizen group Rim Peace, which monitors the U.S. forces in Japan, said, “There is a possibility that the part falling from the aircraft might trigger the engine to stop or explode. If the part hit a pedestrian, it would have been a catastrophe. I speculate that the aircraft are ageing and the maintenance is not up to the standards of flight operation.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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