Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Blue Angel Crash Video

WTOC in Savannah, Georgia has amatuer video of the Blue Angels Crash.


Story Number One (CLICK HERE FOR THE STORY) has video of Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis getting into his plane before the show and then it shows the maneuver and ensuing crash about 30 seconds into the story.

The second story (CLICK HERE FOR STORY 2) shows the same crash video but talks about finding the black box.

Watching the video it appears that Lt. Davis pulled an extremely tight high G turn to reverse the direction he was going so that he could rejoin the formation.

The black box should provide plenty of information about how many G's that turn produced and whether he was in control after the G-loading manuever that could have rendered him unconcious and unable to control his jet.

Unlike all other fighter pilots The Blue Angel's DON'T wear G-Suits to counteract the extreme forces that cause blood to rush out of the head during these high G manuevers. When I flew with the Thunderbirds in 1995 I wore a G-Suit and still went "Gray" during the 9-G turn at the my video of the flight.

The Blue Angels opt not to wear the G-Suits because the inflation of the air bladders on their legs could bump the control stick causing eratic control of the aircraft. (The Thunderbirds have a side mounted stick in their F-16's and don't have to worry about this issue.)

To get by without the G-Sute the Blue's learn to anticipate their G-Load and condition themselves to tighten their abs and thighs to prevent a blackout.

BUT....If Lt. Cmdr. Davis performed a manuever that was a higher G-Load than usual he may have very well blacked out causing the crash. Again referencing the video of the crash, notice that the plane never came back to wings level and based on publised reports there was no apparant attempt by the pilot to eject. Both of those factors make me think that he was blacked out, at least until too late to correct the problem. And looking at the attitude of the nose of the plane as it starts to go down it appears the jet may have also lost too much air speed to sustain flight at that angle of attack.

As far as trying to eject from the plane....the ejection seats in these craft are called Zero-Zero ejection seats because they will safely eject a pilot from a jet at Zero altitude and ZERO speed.

Back on September 14, 2003 the pilot flying USAF Thunderbird #6 crashed after miscalculating the altituded needed to perform a Split-S loop which caused him to be too close to the ground at the bottom of the loop. The pilot safely ejected 140 feet above the ground only 8-tenths of a second from impact.

Video of that crash here from inside and outside the plane.


Anonymous said...

Minimal fire so it appears Lt. Cmdr Davis dumped his fuel before hitting the ground and it appears he stayed with his plane instead of ejecting to aim for the trees instead of the homes.

Unknown said...

Amanda - Thanks for reading. Of course all of my theories here are on what I've seen and read online coupled with what I know about fighter jets. (Background - I wanted to be a fighter jock as a young man but my eyesight failed me.)

That said, I disagree with you about dumping fuel, but maybe he did have time to aim the plane to a small extent.

They were near the end of their show so they didn't have a huge fuel. Dumping any remaining fuel at that altitued, that near the crash would have just engulfed a larger area in fire.

Looking at the video after the crash and you'll see there was a large smoke plume from the fire.

As far as aiming the plane away from houses...I think it's feasible that he could have added power at the last minute to try to recover/not crash/miss houses that he saw coming up quickly.

There are probably going to be several factors but I see the blackout and loss of airspeed after the high-g reversal of directions as the main causes.

Widescreen said...

My question is, how do you add Youtube video to your blog?