Crash at Columbus AFB

My sister who lives on CAFB just called to tell me that a plane crashed today, 2 dead. Does anyone know about this?

From AETC:

Two pilots dead in T-38C crash at Columbus AFB

14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

4/23/2008 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Two pilots died today when an Air Force T-38C Talon trainer crashed at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Columbus Air Force Base.

Names of the deceased have not been released, pending the notification of next of kin. A board of officers will investigate the accident.

Additional details will be provided as they become available.

This earns a large WTF? Neither pilot could punch them out?

Very sad.

Sounds like the crash happened on the base - leads me to think it was a landing mishap. Probably no time to react.

Crash on CAFB Runway Kills Two Pilots

The crash of a T-38 training aircraft on a runway at Columbus Air Force Base at about 12:30 p.m. today killed two pilots, according to Air Force spokespersons.

Witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke coming from the sprawling base complex and at least two ambulances going to the scene. The base runways were closed and by 2 p.m., eight T-6 aircraft from CAFB that were out on training missions had been diverted to Golden Triangle Regional Airport.

Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant said he was on the scene but could not release any details.

But in a press release, Air Force officials said the plane crashed and both pilots were killed. The names of the pilots are not being released until their relatives have been notified. Under Air Force policy, names aren’t disclosed until 24 hours after family notification.

No details about the pilots were available other than that one was a student pilot and the other was an instructor.

Two base sources said the two pilots ejected as they were about to land. The T-38C Talon is a twin-engine, high altitude jet trainer. One witness said the plane appeared to be upset down or had begun to roll as it approached for landing.

It is unclear whether the plane had just taken off and experienced problems and was trying to get back to the base, or whether it had been on a training mission and was returning.

The crash is the third involving CAFB planes since January 2007, but the first involving deaths.

On Jan, 18, 2007, two pilots escaped serious injury when the T-38C they were flying crashed in Northwest Mississippi near the Panola-Quitman County line after a flock of Mallard ducks cracked the plane’s sockpit. Debris from the cockpit clogged the plane’s engines.

The two pilots ejected safely.

On Nov. 28, 2007, two planes crashed in rural Noxubee County after colliding during a training session near a rural airfield CAFB uses near Shuqualak. The four pilots ejected safely from the two T-6 Texan aircraft.

Prior to those two incidents, the base had not had a major incident in more than seven years.

The T-38C incorporates a “glass cockpit” with integrated avionics displays, head-up display and an electronic “no drop bomb” scoring system. The AT-38B has a gun sight and practice bomb dispenser.

The T-38 needs as little as 2,300 feet of runway to take off and can climb from sea level to nearly 30,000 feet in one minute. T-38s modified by the propulsion modernization program have approximately 19 percent more thrust, reducing takeoff distance by 9 percent, according to the Air Force Web site.

The instructor and student sit in tandem on rocket-powered ejection seats in a pressurized, air-conditioned cockpit.

Air Education and Training Command uses the T-38C and the AT-38B (modified T-38A) to prepare pilots for front-line fighter and bomber aircraft such as the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Warthog and F/A-22 Raptor.

The Talon first flew in 1959.

AETC began receiving T-38C models in 2001 as part of the Avionics Upgrade Program. T-38C models will also undergo a propulsion modernization program which replaces major engine components to enhance reliability and maintainability, and an engine inlet/injector modification to increase available takeoff thrust.

It appears they may have been inverted or extremely banked while at a very low altitude.

Damn shame.

Sad and unfortunate event.