ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 60813
Last updated: 6 January 2022
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic T38 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Northrop T-38A Talon
Owner/operator:United States Air Force (USAF)
Registration: 68-8153
MSN: T6158
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:12 mls N of Edwards AFB, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
A T-38A aircraft assigned to the 412th Test Wing impacted the ground 12 miles north of Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, while participating in a United States Air Force Test Pilot School (USAFTPS) training mission. The mishap navigator (MN) ejected from the aircraft and sustained serious injuries. The mishap pilot (MP) did not initiate ejection and died upon impact with the ground. The mishap aircraft (MA) was completely destroyed upon impact.
The AIB president found clear and convincing evidence that the cause of this mishap was the failure of the rudder operating mechanism, causing the rudder to deflect 30 degrees left. This hardover rudder induced an uncontrollable yaw and a resulting roll, causing the aircraft to depart controlled flight. This condition is unrecoverable in the T-38. The AIB president found substantial evidence to conclude that due to a maintenance error, one of the seven bolts securing the rudder operating mechanism u201CCritical Safety Itemsu201D was improperly secured. The unsecured bolt worked its way free over an unknown period of time, eventually backing out of its location sufficiently to allow the two critical components to separate, thus disconnecting the flight controls from the rudder actuators. The pilot's properly-executed zero-to-negative-g input was the finalu2014but not causalu2014condition that allowed the bolt to finally work free, disconnecting the rudder's controls. The pilot-induced pitch down, followed immediately by a non-pilot-induced rapid yaw and roll, incapacitated the MP, from which he never recovered. Improper maintenance practices, including training, documentation, and oversight of maintenance personnel, were a factor in allowing this mishap.



Photo of 68-8153 courtesy

Edwards - AFB (KEDW / EDW)
3 June 1982; (c) Gerard Helmer

Revision history:

22-May-2009 01:27 Bleiente Added
22-May-2009 02:27 slowkid Updated
22-May-2009 02:34 slowkid Updated
09-Jan-2010 10:11 harro Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Location, Phase, Source, Narrative]
22-Jun-2011 13:48 TB Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
06-Sep-2014 14:43 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
06-Sep-2014 16:13 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description