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back to article Fighter jet crashes in suburban San Diego

An F/A-18D on a training mission yesterday crashed into a suburb of San Diego, killing three people on the ground, Reuters reports. One person is still missing, although the pilot ejected safely. The aircraft was flying from a carrier in the Pacific to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar when it apparently suffered a failure of …

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Just missed a metal

"there might have been a grandmother, and a mother and two children" - soon to be posthumously declared "enemy combatants" or "terrorist shields", I'm sure.

Sorry, buddy, George Bush requires a minimum of *5* dead females and/or children for even a bronze.

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No surprise.

'"well-manicured neighbourhood", close to the border with Mexico. '

Of course it is. they have a huge supply of gardeners to hand.

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Joke

Chewing gum

Did he run out?

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Unhappy

Deadstick

I guess in this day and age of computerised flight systems and inherently unstable (aerodynamically) fighter aircraft that the options to deadstick (i.e semi controlled glide) to a safer place if available are somewhat limited!

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Anonymous Coward

Finally!

A plane crash in the US where you can see actual plane wreckage...

Also, can you imagine going to school the next day? "Sorry, ma'am, my homework was chewed up by a fighter jet's engines."

And now, I'd like to apologise for my bad taste and sincerely offer my condolences to the families of the dead. I'm glad the pilot's alive, hope he's okay!

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g e
Silver badge

I hope I didn't kill anybody

You reckon they think that when dropping a bomb, too.... ?

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Witnesses

told local radio the pilot "might have been intending to crash the plane in a nearby canyon in order to avoid hitting a school"

Yeah right, were these witnesses ringing from the local airforce base?

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Flame

I feel the need.... the need for speed

I'd just like to point out that miramar was the setting for Top Gun.

In the words of Goose: "Goodness gracious, great balls of fire."

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Flame

"I hope I didn't kill anyone"

A real pilot would have stayed in the plane and steered it away from houses to make sure he didn't kill anyone (else)

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lolzers

He hopes he didn't kill anyone? You wrecked a friggin fighter jet into a house. Unfortunately for those in the house they can't eject safely, the pilot shoulda rode down with the bird, the people in the house had no choice.

I've always had a fear of living in the flight areas of airports and such, im glad I don't live anywhere near anything like this.

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@Peter Ford

You're not very bright, are you? If there was a mechanical failure in the plane (which it sounds from other reports like there was) his ability to modify the flight path was probably very limited. We're not talking about a glider here (as Ian pointed out).

Of course, don't let that get in the way of your self-righteous lust for someone to blame.

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Unhappy

Maybe I'm thick

but I can't seem to find any photos on the Reuters link

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@James Woods

You're right! Then we'd have four people dead instead of just three!

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Thta old cliche

I'm sure pilots don't really avoid schools and houses when about to crash. Most like all they can do is to bail out before they join the flaming wreckage.

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Unhappy

A bad day for all

Please. Let's just acknowledge this as a tragedy and stop looking for people to attack.

The pilot was ordered to proceed to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar after one engine failed. After the second failed, he stayed at the controls until just a few seconds before impact to try to avoid carnage on the ground. This put him at considerable personal risk.

Frankly, given how heavily populated the area is, I'm impressed that so few people died.

What's not clear is why the pilot was routed to MCAS Miramar instead of Naval Air Station North Island, where his approach would have been over water instead of housing.

Unfortunately for the pilot, he's going to live with the knowledge that his flight killed people. And as they pointed out on the radio (KPBS) this morning, he'll probably be tied up with lawsuits for the rest of his life. Hell of a way to wind up a training mission.

If anyone else posts about how the pilot screwed up or what kind of whitewash we're getting from the US military about this incident, please cite primary sources or shut up. For instance:

Why the pilot must obey ATC routing: US Federal Aviation Regulations (don't know specific numbers, but could dig out my FAR-AIM if necessary).

What the locals really think about this: I live here and worked across the street from MCAS Miramar for seven years.

More info and photos can be found at:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20081209-9999-7n9jetdown.html

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Unhappy

Poor dad lost his entire family

I'm a local and have intimate knowledge of this "well manicured" neighborhood. They found the missing person today btw, a 16-mo girl who'd been upstairs (whereas her mom, grandma, and baby sister were downstairs and immediately found afterwards). The poor dad was seen kissing everyone goodbye in the driveway earlier that morning. They were a Korean immigrant family that had just 'moved up' to the neighborhood.

The house across the street had been for-sale earlier this year and my wife and kids and I had driven by twice in the past year. I've literally parked my car where the plane hit.

Needless to say, I've been following the news closely. And I think any/all discussion of the merits of the pilot, the plane, of the location of Miramar, etc is totally pointless. The only thing I'm gonna point-out is that witnesses said the pilot bailed at the last possible second, i.e., he clearly risked his life to try and steer the plane into the canyon (and only missed by about 100 feet).

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But TWO turbines failing on the same flight???

What are the changes that BOTH of those turbines would fail on the same flight??? The overall reliability of a jet engine is out of this world. If you have seen what some turbines have been through and STILL produce usable power, you would be shocked.

About the only thing I can think of that would take out both of his engines in short order would be either running out of fuel, or seriously contaminated fuel. Jet's don't run on water very well.

But, either way, we will never know what really happened to cause this crash. The Air Force is VERY good at making sure only the proper story goes out. I'll never forget that "mechanical malfunction" that caused a F117 Nighthawk to crash and burn during takeoff at Holloman AFB in '89 (or '90. Some time around then). My dad saw the video of what REALLY caused that "mechanical malfunction".

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Dead Vulture

The rule is

or was when I did a bit of training in the RNZAF , 56 years ago , was that in the event of engine failure , you were to point the aircraft away from built up area (with poor frightened civilians ) .

If this meant staying with the aircraft instead of bailing out, well one dead was better than lots of dead in houses etc.

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Gold badge

He is a real pilot

"A real pilot would have stayed in the plane and steered it away from houses to make sure he didn't kill anyone (else)""

In some areas of the northeast and California especially, there's huge areas with no house-free areas to go. It sounds like he did what he could, a jet with no engines isn't particularly flyable.

I can't see a dual-engine failure being attributable to pilot error.

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@James

Thanks James for a proper perspective... unlike these armchair arses that not only think they are qualified to comment on this tragic incident, but want to turn it into yet another slam-Americans-and-George-Bush fest.

And for you dorks... try and think and feel for the people involved, from the families of those who died, to the pilot and his family, and the neighbors and the rest of the community.

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@RRRoamer

So what REALLY caused that "mechanical malfunction" then, we are all ears (or eyes so to speak.....)

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Anonymous Coward

Pilots

I don't want to be too judgemental - maybe the fact that he was a trainee had a lot to do with it - but British pilots stay with the plane until they're certain it's going to hit uninhabited ground.

It sounds as though his controllers were mainly at fault for sending him to a base in a heavily populated area. Much money for the lawyers methinks.

And please don't protest that the controllers couldn't have known - they're supposed to *think*.

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@ AC 13.27

"British pilots stay with the plane until they're certain it's going to hit uninhabited ground"

what if they're certain it's NOT going to hit uninhabited ground, like this pilot rightly was, according to eyewitnesses?

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