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Pilot error cited In F-15 incident

Date Posted: 2005-01-20

A midair bump collision between two F-15 aircraft last Fall is being attributed to pilot error.

Military officials say the October incident occurred when one of the fighter pilots became distracted and lost control of his plane. The incident happened off the coast of Okinawa.

An Air Force statement says the aircraft crossed into the flight path of the second jet during a training drill. Neither pilot was aware of the incident at the time, and continued their exercise. The damage was discovered as the planes were making an emergency landing at Kadena Air Base.

There were no injuries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Okinawa confirms it has received a detailed copy of the report, which directs the two pilots to brush up on their flight techniques.

The two fighter aircraft are assigned to the 12th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. The military had earlier stated the planes inadvertently made contact in an over-water training area after the left wingtip of one plane nudged the second plane’s vertical fin.

Once the planes landed, local Okinawa officials and residents began lodging protests. The incident occurred only weeks after a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter crash landed onto the Okinawa International University Campus in Ginowan. That CH-46D Sea Stallion lost its rear rotor and gyrated out of control. There were three injuries to Marine crewmen, but nobody on the ground was injured.

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