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030824_299.jpg - Date of accident: 14-SEP-2003 | F-16C Fighting Falcon | 87-0327| Pilot: Capt. Chris Stricklin, | Mountain Home AFB, ID      According to the accident investigation board report the pilot, 31-year-old Captain Chris Stricklin, misinterpreted the altitude required to complete the "Split S" maneuver. He made his calculation based on an incorrect mean-sea-level altitude of the airfield. The pilot incorrectly climbed to 1,670 feet above ground level instead of 2,500 feet before initiating the pull down to the Split S maneuver.When he realized something was wrong, the pilot put maximum back stick pressure and rolled slightly left to ensure the aircraft would impact away from the crowd should he have to eject. He ejected when the aircraft was 140 feet above ground - just 0.8 seconds prior to impact. He sustained only minor injuries from the ejection. There was no other damage to military or civilian property.      The aircraft, valued at about $20.4 million, was destroyed.The difference in altitudes at Nellis and Mountain Home may have contributed to the pilot's error. The airfield at Nellis is at 2,000 feet whereas the one at Mountain Home is at 3,000 feet. It appears that the pilot reverted back to his Nellis habit pattern for a split second. Thunderbird commander Lt. Col. Richard McSpadden said Stricklin had performed the stunt around 200 times, at different altitudes during his year as a Thunderbird pilot.

Date of accident: 14-SEP-2003 | F-16C Fighting Falcon | 87-0327| Pilot: Capt. Chris Stricklin, | Mountain Home AFB, ID According to the accident investigation board report the pilot, 31-year-old Captain Chris Stricklin, misinterpreted the altitude required to complete the "Split S" maneuver. He made his calculation based on an incorrect mean-sea-level altitude of the airfield. The pilot incorrectly climbed to 1,670 feet above ground level instead of 2,500 feet before initiating the pull down to the Split S maneuver. When he realized something was wrong, the pilot put maximum back stick pressure and rolled slightly left to ensure the aircraft would impact away from the crowd should he have to eject. He ejected when the aircraft was 140 feet above ground - just 0.8 seconds prior to impact. He sustained only minor injuries from the ejection. There was no other damage to military or civilian property. The aircraft, valued at about $20.4 million, was destroyed. The difference in altitudes at Nellis and Mountain Home may have contributed to the pilot's error. The airfield at Nellis is at 2,000 feet whereas the one at Mountain Home is at 3,000 feet. It appears that the pilot reverted back to his Nellis habit pattern for a split second. Thunderbird commander Lt. Col. Richard McSpadden said Stricklin had performed the stunt around 200 times, at different altitudes during his year as a Thunderbird pilot.
Image ID: 030824_299 | | Camera: Canon EOS 10D | | Date: 8/24/03 3:13 PM
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