1994 Fairchild Air Force Base B-52 Crash

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The 1994 Fairchild Air Force Base B-52 crash occurred at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, United States, on Friday, 24 June 1994, when the pilot of a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Arthur "Bud" Holland, flew the aircraft beyond its operational limits and lost control. The aircraft stalled, fell to the ground and exploded, killing Holland and the other three United States Air Force crew members on board. The crash was captured on video and was shown repeatedly on news broadcasts throughout the world. The investigation found that as the B-52 entered its final turn sequence around the tower, its indicated airspeed (IAS) was 182 knots. Although Holland applied additional engine power after starting the turn, his input came too late to maintain the aircraft's airspeed, because its turbine engines take up to 8 seconds to respond to throttle movements. Even though the airspeed indicator was available to all four aircrew members, the aircraft's airspeed was allowed to continue to decrease. Eight seconds before impact, the aircraft's IAS had deteriorated to 145 knots and the aircraft's bank increased past 60. At this time Holland or McGeehan applied full right spoiler, right rudder, and nose-up elevator, and the aircraft entered a turning flight stall. This phenomenon is a stall that occurs at a higher airspeed than the design stall speed which always refers to straight and level flight because the aircraft is turning. Due to the bank of 60 or more, the stall speed for the aircraft was at that moment 147 knots. Thus, flying at 145 knots IAS, the aircraft stalled without sufficient altitude to recover before striking the ground. The subsequent investigation concluded that the chain of events leading to the crash was primarily attributable to three factors: Holland's personality and behavior, USAF leaders' delayed or inadequate reactions to earlier incidents involving Holland, and the sequence of events during the aircraft's final flight. The crash is now used in military and civilian aviation environments as a case study in teaching crew resource management. It is also often used by the US armed forces during aviation safety training as an example of the importance of compliance with safety regulations and correcting the behavior of anyone who violates safety procedures. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

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