The Pendleton Panther

Four Pilots Claimed in T-39 Accident

Posted on: April 13, 2010

The T-39 training jet, used by the U.S. Navy to train their pilots, has a less than impressive safety record.  In the last eight years, four T-39s have crashed, the last of which occurred Tuesday.  The accident claimed at least three crew members with a fourth still unaccounted for.  The aircraft made its fatal landing deep in the woods near Elijay, Georgia  after just barely making it over a house.  The plane was seen by eyewitnesses flying at very low levels through the hills of northern Georgia, and may be connected to the crash.  While flying at lower altitudes is not inherently dangerous, is drastically reduces the room for human error, and that is just the reason that these training flights require pilots do fly so low.  Although the majority of flight in the Navy is done with computers and advanced sensors, fighter pilots–especially those stationed on aircraft carriers–are sometimes called upon to use their own judgment.  It is still unclear, however, what caused the crash as one witness claims to have seen debris falling from the passing aircraft, but the remnants do not suggest any mechanical failure.


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