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F-16, Cessna planes crash in Berkeley County, Charleston SC, fire officials say

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The Berkeley County Fire Department says two planes have crash-landed near Old Highway 52 at Lewisfield Plantation. (www.wyff4.com) 기타...

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fche
Importantly from a legal point of view, flying an MTR does not release a military pilot from see & avoid responsibilities, nor give them exclusive use of the airspace.
gearup328
Yes, I agree Frank. If a GA airplane wants to cross or fly along an MTR he better contact FSS and find out if it is active. The military puts out a NOTAM if there will be training on that MTR. There are altitude restrictions. The time of beginning and ending are readily available. The military aircraft are busy with timing and accurate positions. They can't be sitting in the cockpit with eyeballs out the window all the time. He dosen't have "exclusive" use of that airspace but if you're little Cessna is there, you are just testing death unless you know it's inactive.
klass7
Also the F16 pilot was not operating in IMC, so he had to maintain VFR clearance. The missed approach directions in that area are to climb and maintain 4000. It's been reported the incident happened between 2000 and 3000 feet. It will be interesting to find out the speed of the F16.
sportpilot1
Not considering lawyers there's a cold hard reality here of procedures that I hope to learn from. Sadly enough I'm sure there are variations that both pilots could have taken that could have changed the outcome.
allench1
allench1 3
I"m not sure the 150 had his transponder on, as the F-16 would have had an alert. Head down doing an approach that is the only way he would have known he had a traffic conflict. just saying!
klass7
The F16 pilot isn't allowed to have his head down doing an approach. He is operating in VFR meteorological conditions not in true IFR. The FAR's require someone practicing approaches to stay clear of traffic. Furthermore the F16 wasn't on an approach. Likely he was moving to do his next approach, but the accident didn't happen on any published approach to Charleston or Shaw AFB.
klass7
It was stated in news reports that both aircraft had their transponders on. Also the C150 pilot announced that he was taking off.
sportpilot1
There were no airspace restrictions were this occurs. Anyone can fly there
mldejong
I suppose you mean that every GA flight should be on an IFR flight plan because a VFR flight plan would not have provided any help. ATC does not see VFR flight plans and these are still uncontrolled flights even with the flight plan. Not everyone is IFR qualified to even file IFR.
mldejong
The above was meant to be in response to Peter Steitz who said below all GA flights should have a filed flight plan.
gearup328
I'll stick to my post. Every flight should have a filed flight plan. Then use flight following. I will say that see and avoid is still the bottom line unless you are on an IFR flight plan and in IMC. My years in commercial aviation were always on an IFR flight plan and I had TCAS. I know many GA aircraft can't afford this. I really don't know if the F-16 has TCAS or if it was turned off. If it did then the Cessna should have shown. Was the F-16 at fault? We won't know yet. If the jet was on vectors for another approach, he was in radar contact. Why didn't ATC see the Cessna? Lots of questions and no answers yet.
sportpilot1
What do you think of ADSB?
mldejong
ADSB would not help the pilots directly unless both aircraft had ADSB-In capability which is not even mandated in 2020. ATC would have more info on the Cessna aircraft though and perhaps would have provided better info to the F-16 if there was time (I.e., more accurate location, speed, and direction), but radar could provide similar information.
sportpilot1
I realize ADSB is not yet 100% but when it is it will give everyone the best chance for safety.
mldejong
ATC should have seen the Cessna and reported the aircraft to the F-16. ATC would not have had the details on the Cessna but should have alerted the F-16. The F-16 also has radar capability, but I don't know if that is always used especially when flying practice approaches. Regarding flight plans and flight following, I agree for cross country VFR flights, but not for short hops or training flights. ATC would never provide VFR flight following for training flights with no destination. But I don't know if the Cessna was training or starting a cross country flight.
GraemeSmith
From the 17:00EDT Press Conference:

Squadron Commander Shaw Air Force Base has confirmed that the F-16 fighting falcon was one of theirs. They also confirmed that the pilot has been accounted for. He has been identified as Maj. Aaron Johnson from the 55th FS. F-16 was on Instrument Training Flight into the Joint Airbase Charleston. Was on with ATC at time of accident and flying practice instrument approaches. Was in Radar and two way radio contact.

Local Emergency Responder - "Civilian Aircraft had just announced its departure from Berkley County Airport" (Direct quote)

NTSB - Two in the 150 died. Tentative identification from wallet at scene - families still to be told.

Witnesses - 150 was hit broadside on by the jet.
fche
"and two way radio contact"

wonder if it's recorded on liveatc
btweston
btweston 0
"Oh sh..."

[sound of ejection seat]
onceastudentpilot
I wonder if the pilot of the 150 ever checked about MOA activity.
crosscountry
That's what I was thinking, especially considering there are marked military training routes south of the Gamecock MOAs near the reported point of collision. Interested to see how this one turns out.
klass7
It didn't occur in a MOA or training route. It happened in Class F airspace at 2000 to 3000 msl. The F16 pilot shouldn't have been that low as he went to the next practice approach.
carlsonj
F? I'm pretty sure we don't have that in the US. The last hold-out with Class F was Germany (temporary F for an approach in Class G airspace), and I thought they were discontinuing it as well.
gearup328
There is no class F airspace in the US. Read your CFRs.
CloudSurfer89
This was also reported 8 days ago in Greenville, SC.

http://www.wyff4.com/news/officials-explain-lowflying-fighter-jets/33832058
sgbelverta
Well that would explain a lot of things if there was routine training at low altitudes going on. Obviously the training didn't work because this pilot ran into another plane. Bet there will be some "early" retirements over this incident.
gearup328
You need to read my earlier post about a GA aircraft crossing the ILS final. Approach washed their hands and simply "we're not talking to him". Fighters have a full Mode C transponder but sometimes turn it of during exercises. They don't want to give away their position. This is dangerous in a non combat scenario and in civilian open airspace. In my part 121 commercial flying I got TCAS on lots of military planes. I conclude the fighter was in radar contact and in comm with the ATC approach control. However, ATC has no obligation to point out all other VFR traffic. It's see and avoid. If you read the CFR's (I don't have a good context) but they state that ATC will only provide separation between known IFR traffic. The Garmin line of glass cockpits have the capability to alert the pilot of all traffic with a transponder and squawking. If this Cessna had any kind of traffic alerting, this accident would not have happened. Same goes for the fighter. This is 2015. Step up to the the advances in technology.
otnielocampo
It's not the first, and won't be the last. Some thins that is necessary is to develop a way to prevent things like this from happening. There I live you with a Nat Geo Documentary on Hughes Airwest Flight 706.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P30g6eLV4gU
sportpilot1
ADSB. if you haven't flown with this you should. It shows traffic alerts in real time. Its available for your tablets or an expensive panel mount.
chrisrod1
The NTSB preliminary report has been issued, according to AVweb's Russ Niles. The air traffic controller reported that he was in contact with the F-16 at 1500 feet altitude and that he told the F-16 pilot that he had crossing traffic 100 feet below him. Whoops! Why, in the name of God, would the controller not have the F-16 execute an immediate emergency climb of several hundred feet to allow more vertical separation when he saw the potential for conflict? I'm not sure where the ATC got the altitude of 1400 feet for the Cessna150, but very few of our pressure instruments, including the mode C transponder altitude sensor consistently have a margin of error of less than 100 feet. I sure as hell wouldn't want to bet my life on it! ATC has an absolute responsibility for traffic separation for IFR traffic. Lower speed traffic has the right away. Lower altitude traffic has the right away. Lower power traffic has the right away. Draw your own conclusions; I have already drawn mine.

Peter, you're still correct. ATC flight following for VFR, when available (which is almost always), may be our most important protection against collisions!
LenSmetona
Only the numbers change.
An unfortunate accident for sure, but it has happened before:
https://www.ntis.gov/Search/Home/titleDetail/?abbr=PB240250
I hope a good investigation reveals some possible solutions.
But there will never be zero risk to what we do.
housw
MTR's are very dangerous! The Military Pilot is concentrating on flying the low level, high speed route.....a Civilian Pilot can check w/FSS to see if it's hot but has no way of knowing where the Military aircraft is on the route. Unfortunately this is exactly what CAN Happen.
jdonnelly123
Above 10,000 feet MSL there are no aircraft speed limits. But below 10,000' MSL, you have to maintain an indicated airspeed at or below 250 knots (KIAS). And that's not all.

If an airplane is within class B airspace, regardless of altitude, it is limited to 250 knots indicated airspeed. If it is flying "under the shelf" of class B airspace, it is limited to 200 knots indicated airspeed. There are also areas called "class B corridors" where aircraft can fly without clearance into class B airspace, and in these corridors, they are limited to 200 knots indicated airspeed as well.

Regulations also state that at or below 2500 AGL (above ground level - over the ground), when within 4 nautical miles from a class C or class D airport, you cannot fly any faster than 200 knots indicated airspeed. Air Traffic Control (ATC) may ask an aircraft to deviate from the 200 KIAS limit, but cannot ask an aircraft to go faster than the 250 KIAS limit (though they can always ask you to go slower).
gearup328
I'm sorry Joe Donnelly. Jet fighters have an exemption to the 250 rule. They routinely fly faster. It states in their AFM that a visual pattern is to be flown at airspeeds way above 250KIAS. In my case--325. Charleston is a joint civilian and military airport and I bet the fighters fly above 250 when coming in on an overhead. There's a reason for this. They have to get down quickly and either refuel or re-arm for the next sortie. If the fighter was on vectors to an instrument approach, he should be way below 250KIAS.
sportpilot1
Apparently the f16 was being vectored to intervept the localizer
klass7
Apparently that was the case, but as you know, that's different than an IFR clearance. The F16 needed to be able to fly without hitting other aircraft. The C150 had just left the airport probably traveling at 95 mph when he was broadsided by an F16.
sportpilot1
That's true. When clear of clouds there's an equal burden on BOTH pilots to see and avoid other aircraft. There is also a distance Below cloud layer requirment for vmc
gearup328
Do you realize the fraction of a second an F-16 pilot has to see and avoid? All GA aircraft need to have a clearance, be in radar contact and have a transponder. The F-16 was in radar contact and being vectored. His squadron had a flight plan on file. He was probably well below 250KIAS. You guys who simply takeoff from a non-towered field and stay below the class airspace above and with no flight plan are just stupid. You're not scanning the airspace. If you saw an F-16 somewhere out there, you couldn't tell if it were a threat or not. He is moving so fast. You only have seconds to analyze. What can you do? Your little plane can't maneuver like a fighter. You're a sitting duck and hope the F-16 pilot sees you.
carlsonj
Sorry, but I believe you're mistaken about the rules. When in VMC conditions outside of Class A and Class B airspace, aircraft do not require an ATC clearance to fly. It's see and avoid. That's true for all of us, GA and otherwise. Even on an IFR flight plan, if you're in VMC, collision avoidance is the pilot's responsibility.

I understand that things are different in other countries (this accident took place in the US), and that there are at least in theory restrictions that could be made that would lessen the chance of an accident like this, but flying in Class E or Class G airspace (around an untowered airport) is not "stupid." It's the reality of flying here, and many of us think it's an important freedom.
sportpilot1
I figure he was clipping along at 400 ft/sec about the same as a corporate jet. At 30 seconds out and coming head on not much bigger than a bug. The cessna pilot had the same problem as the.jet. catch 22.
chrisrod1
No offense, but, fraction of a second?? I gotta throw the brown flag on that. Don't know the F-16's speed yet, but there appears to be consensus that he was almost certainly at or below 300 kts (506 fps). Back when I flew in Cessna singles with USAF fighter pilots, they were a dead lock on traffic in the frontal quadrant at five miles 100% of the time. That's about 51 seconds, just under a minute; that's eternity in collision space. Stevie Wonder can spot frontal crossing traffic at half a mile. That would be 5 seconds to impact; it would be an emergency, but still plenty of time to react and avoid (look at the second hand of your watch and, while counting "one thousand", "two thousand","three thousand","four thousand","five thousand" , imagine seeing and making a rapid avoidance maneuver - plenty of time). There is a high probability that the F-16 pilot was distracted. Spare us the "near impossible" reflex scenario; any pilot who can't see and avoid straight ahead broadside traffic at half a mile in five seconds doesn't belong in the air flying anything except a balloon...
sportpilot1
Regardless of all the reaction timing its pretty sure they did not see each other. The big question of all time is Why? Maybe the investigators will know the answer.
sportpilot1
I'm wondering if the f16 was in the over cast and suddenly popped out just seconds before impact. The cessna was a pop up for appcon and suddenly appesrs on scope. Radio from the cessna was probably on unicom and no one heard it. It seems like an ironic catastrophe that no one saw coming.
gearup328
OK guys--one more story for you. This is real and not made up. On final in a commercial turboprop, on an IFR flight plan in contact with ATC and cleared for an ILS in basically VFR conditions. My TCAS goes off with "traffic, traffic". There's another aircraft at 10 o'clock and proceeding to cross the ILS final. When I told approach control, they said "we're not talking with him". Well fine and dandy. Wash your hands of him and don't advise. Thanks to TCAS we were able to see and avoid.
sportpilot1
We have that situation frequently where I fly from a non-towered airport. The radar site is 70 miles away and appcon sees nothing below 1500 feet.agl. your on your own and you better be looking for traffic unless you are still in the clouds.
sportpilot1
Preflight is the key. Close to any class C or B safety suggests tune in approach control and listen up or request FF
gearup328
Good advice Claude.
klass7
The C150 pilot was 19.5 miles from Charleston at takeoff. He was heading north east away from the Class C airspace. Why was an F16 buzzing by the end of a civilian airport at 2000 to 3000 feet? Apparently he wasn't doing an adequate VFR traffic scan nor using his radar.
fche
(Do these F16's have TCAS or equivalent? If not, the C150 transponder would not have done the F16 pilot any good.)
klass7
The usual targets of an F16 don't give away their position by using a transponder. Yet the F16 can intercept and destroy aircraft. Therefore, it wouldn't be necessary for the C150 to have its transponder on to be tracked on radar. Even ATC can track unidentified objects with their radar.
atomansam
Sam Hart 1
For me, I am going to double down on my flight following and awArneess of MTRs. I have minimal experience checking with FSS about MTR activity but we have one right over my house. Several F16s going over the other day. Called FSS. They knew nothing about them. I have ADSB in as well as most of my friends. However the FAA is blocking traffic as an inducement to install ADSB out. Perhaps they could reconsider this.
carlsonj
It's not that they're "blocking traffic," but rather that the system has a very strange design. It reportedly doesn't have enough bandwidth to do all of the retransmitting it needs to do (because they weirdly allow broadcasts on both 978 and 1090), so they compute a service volume around each participating aircraft and send out information about targets just in that cylinder.

Without ADS-B Out, the system doesn't know where to compute the service volume, so it can't send the traffic information.

I agree with you about the sometimes sketchy data about MTR usage.
gearup328
I know a bit about bandwidth. Most wi-fi cable modems (think cable TV) are intentionally slow to save bandwidth. I use an ethernet cable instead. They don't want you to do that because it sucks up a ton of bandwidth. I was told that my installer was not allowed to use a cable. I went from about 36MBPS to about 90MBPS and I'm paying for 36. . Sounds like the FAA has the same problem.
GraemeSmith
No - Charlestown and Berkley don't have LiveATC coverage. First thing I checked.
gearup328
You're right. We fly training flights with no flight plan but stay under the floor of class C airspace in a training area that local ATC knows about. . All cross countries are flight planned and followed.
chrisrod1
Pete, according to George Perry, Senior VP of the AOPA's Air Safety Foundation, military pilots are required to file and fly IFR flight plans with ATC when operating normally in the national airspace (not in Restricted Areas). We can assume that should be true for the F-16 until proven otherwise. I'm pretty sure that flying practice IFR approaches would be considered operating normally. Now your advice that us bug smashers should always use ATC flight following when traveling cross country is pure gold. I always do and don't understand why other VFR pilots don't. I've only been surprised by nearby traffic a few times (head still on a swivel). My ATC "buds" and I discussed frankly at the time. However, your advice for VFR recreational fliers to file VFR flight plans on each flight is ludicrous. If I just apply it to cross countries, it will only help locate the wreckage and casualties IF I fail to get off a Mayday to the controller doing my flight following and the ELT fails to go off. Feel free to enlighten us here.
sportpilot1
I would like to know the altitude profile and track of the F16. Did appcon have acquired target on the cessna squawking 1200? At what piont did the F16 drop below the cloud deck? In this crash all that matters is did appcon have a target on the cessna soon enough to react? The cessna was popping up and appcon may not have seen him. I have all trust if appcon had acquired the cessna they would have turned the F16. That's their job. In cruise flight you are at stable altitude supposedly separated by 500 ft. Climbing and descending is where the danger is.
mldejong
If he was in Class C airspace he should have been in contact with ATC.
gearup328
Yes, see and avoid is an overused phrase. That jet or even your GA aircraft is intently monitoring instruments in the cockpit while practicing approaches. This F-16 was a single seat version. He is very busy in the cockpit. There is a two seat version and that is the one that should be used for instrument training. All practice instrument training should be done with another pilot who is scanning for conflicts. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
mldejong
That assumes he put himself under a hood which would not be smart in a single seat airplane.
sportpilot1
There is no such thing as practise IFR IF you are on file with ATC and have a clearance. You are an instrument flight under ATC control. Single pilot IFR is as common as rain
carlsonj
Not only "not smart," but not legal, at least for civil aircraft. In VMC, you're required to see and avoid, even on an IFR flight plan. Flying under the hood requires a second pair of eyes -- 14 CFR 91.109(c).

I'm not certain about the military rules, but it seems to me to be unlikely that they could follow a different set of rules when operating at a civil airport under VMC.
chrisrod1
What am I missing here? If the F-16 was practicing IFR approaches, then shouldn't he have been under ATC direct control for traffic separation, no? If he was between approaches, then shouldn't he have been flying VFR, no? See and avoid? What is ATC's responsibility here? We will need the FAA's flight track information, especially speed of the F-16 (as well as download of same from USAF) to figure this out, but at ~250 kts, available reaction times are more than half that of a normal GA aircraft encounter. That's a little more challenging than normal, but should be more than sufficient for a military fighter pilot highly trained to detect, see, close with, or avoid moving aerial objects (targets or otherwise). I highly respect my Air Force brethren and their difficult job, but this one doesn't smell even close to right. Let's get the facts right, but this basically appears to involve negligent manslaughter of two innocent civilians. Appears to be ATC or USAF responsibility: take your choice after (if ever) all the facts are out. I have a hard time understanding any responsibility for the Cessna pilot, VFR talking to ATC and squawking a transponder code. If I appear a little edgy about this, I fly that same airspace and that could have easily been me and my Cessna 182...
sportpilot1
The F16 had every right to do what he was doing just like any corporate jet or anyone on IFR flight plan
The cessna 150 had every right to do what he was doing like any VFR flight. Where was there a violation of FAR?
chrisrod1
AvWebFlash reported that the commander of the 20th Fighter Squadron (or Wing) at Shaw AFB announced that the F-16 was under positive ATC control at the time of the collision. I'm not IFR certified, so I don't know if you are allowed to go head down. I assume that the pilot of a single place F-16 pilot would be allowed to if that's what's required on a real zero visibility IFR approach. Now we wait for vetted information to assign responsibility. I still don't see how much can accrue to the Cessna pilot.
sportpilot1
Is no doubt there are overlapping responsibilities here. The safety of all pilot's in the area depends upon appcon radar. Circumstances in the last 15 seconds determined the outcome. Who did or did not see what.
htruesdale
David, You're spot on about there being no excuse for this tragedy to have ocurred. I have flown in that same area at least 100 times in the past 20 years, nearest MOA is about 15-18 miles north. I believe the Air Force / U.S. Government will have one heck of a huge lawsuit on their hands before this is over.
gearup328
This scenario almost happened to me. We were on the 45 to initial for the pitchout at Key West NAS when out of nowhere came a C-150 right in front of us. I was flying the right wing in my F-102 doing 325KIAS at 1500AGL. I was only focused on lead. He pitched up really fast and as I looked straight ahead I saw the Cessna. No time for radio. I pitched up maybe missing him by 200 feet. He may not have even seen us. He was in the NAS airspace at pattern altitude. He was oblivious to the regulations or the danger. You little guys operation anywhere close to a military base or on MTR's need to know what you're doing. Military aircraft are not out there just farting around. They're practicing tactics. They need to be in the cockpit to navigate to targets. At over 300KIAS it is a fraction of a second to make visual and take action. FSS will give you times and altitudes of training routes. I'm not bashing anyone here but just putting out come common sense.
klass7
Peter, no doubt those things happen, but in this instance the two aircraft were not in a MOA or MTR. There was no excuse for a military aircraft running over a general aviation plan.
gearup328
OK Dave. Here we go. See and avoid. This is not 1930. We fly very fast aircraft today. That F-16 could have been a corporate jet. We need to be on flight plans and in radar contact all the time today. Even going 250KIAS below 10000 poses a problem for a Cessna doing 90KIAS and is not very maneuverable. If the Cessna was not in radar and radio contact---well you know.
All commercial and military planes are in radar and radio contact. We all have flight plans. You guys who want to just go up and fly around are taking your chances. I'm very sorry for the two on the Cessna but I'm glad the F-16 pilot got out OK.
sportpilot1
Hopefully one day we all will have ADSB equipment and can see each other electronically. I doubt the cessna had this installed yet but its nice to be able to see traffic on screen showing location and altitude. Maybe one day
margeauxk
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

F-16, Cessna Collide Mid-air in SC

An F-16 fighter jet and a Cessna 150 collided in mid-air this morning in South Carolina, with the pilot of the fighter jet successfully ejecting, reports WCSC.

http://www.newser.com/story/209454/f-16-cessna-collide-mid-air-in-sc.html
japanjeff
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Cessna 150 and F-16 fighter collision

A Cessna 150 and an Air Force F-16 fighter jet collided about 25 miles north of Charleston, S.C., near the Berkeley County airport.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/07/08/cessna-f16-victims/29861975/

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