Parts fall from Kadena’s F-15; similar accidents frequently happen
February 6, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
An F-15 fighter belonging to U.S. Air Force Kadena Air Base lost its distal portion weighing 5.4 kg from the left of the vertical stabilizers during flight on February 4. This conical shaped metal part is about 23 cm high and about 15 cm in width. According to the Okinawa Defense Bureau, which has received information from officials of the Kadena Base, there is a possibility that the parts fell into the sea. No damage or injuries were reported. There were five similar accidents where parts fell from F-15s last year. However, the air force has not taken measures such as suspending flights.
On January 15, parts, including missile launchers weighing 208 kg fell from an AH-1W attack helicopter belonging to U.S. Marine Corp Air Station Futenma. On January 23, An HH-60 helicopter based at the Kadena Air Base lost parts weighing 68 grams. Such incidents involving parts falling from U.S. aircraft have taken place frequently since the beginning of this year.
According to the defense bureau, maintenance crews noticed that the parts were missing when the F-15 returned to the base on February 4. The defense bureau received information from officials at the Kadena Base at 10:20 a.m. on February 5. Then, it notified the Okinawa Prefectural Government and relevant municipalities about the incident.
An official from the Okinawa Prefectural Government said, “it could lead to a serious accident if the pilot makes one wrong move. Despite requests to prevent a recurrence of incidents, it is very regrettable that cases involving parts falling from aircraft take place one after another.” The Okinawa Prefectural Government sought assurances from the Kadena Base officials that they would prevent a recurrence of accidents and take safety precautions.
(English translation by T&CT)
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