Part falling from US military aircraft for sixth time in this year

Part falling from US military aircraft for sixth time in this year

March 18, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

An air force RC-135V Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft temporarily stationed at Kadena Air Base from Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska lost its fiberglass part weighing about 907 grams during flight on March 16. According to the Okinawa Defense Bureau, as of the evening of March 17, there was no information from the Kadena base officials about when and where the aircraft lost the part. It has not been confirmed whether there was any damage to residents, such as injuries. The Air Force has not taken measures to suspend flight operation. On March 17, a resident observed the same aircraft taking off from Kadena. Parts have fallen from US military six times this year. Okinawa Prefectural government and local municipality officials have received community complaints about the incidents.

The defense bureau received notification of the incident from a Kadena Base official at 10:30 a.m. on March 17, and then it informed the local municipalities at noon on the same day. Maintenance crews found the part was missing while checking the aircraft after its flight on March 16. The part is a fiberglass access panel, which is about 20.3 cm long and about 25.4 cm in width. There is no report from the U.S. military on what part of the aircraft it came from.

According to a resident, the RC-135V took off from Kadena Base at 11 a.m. on March 16, and it returned to the base after sunset. On March 17, the day after the accident, the resident saw the aircraft take off from the base at 3:27 p.m. and return to the base at 8:16 p.m.

The base officials had not responded to questions regarding the details and cause of the accident from the Ryukyu Shimpo as of 8 p.m. on March 17.

On March 17, the Okinawa Prefectural Government sent a request to the Kadena Base and the defense bureau urging them to ensure the U.S. military carries out thorough measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents, and to improve safety management. An official of the prefecture government criticized the U.S. military for its irresponsibility, saying, “It is regrettable that many of these incidents have taken place despite our requests that U.S. military take measures to prevent incidents. It could lead to a serious accident.” The RC-135V aircraft is engaged in missions to collect information and monitor activities in East Asia, operating from Kadena Base.

An MV-22 osprey aircraft belonging to the Futenma base lost its part on March 16.

(English translation by T&CT)

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