Navy: Training Jet Crashed in October 2017 After ‘Aggressive’ Flying

A T-45C Goshawk training aircraft / Twitter

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An October 2017 Navy jet crash that killed a student pilot and instructor occurred after the pair abandoned approved training guidelines and flew too low, according to a Navy report.

A report on the crash that killed Lt. Patrick Ruth, 31, and student Lt. j.g. Wallace Burch, 25, in a Tennessee forest showed that Ruth allowed the plane to be flown in a dangerous manner, the Associated Press reports.

The Navy's report on the fatal flight, which originated from McGee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee, said Ruth "was overly confident, nonchalant, and aggressive at low altitude training, with limited awareness of the performance capabilities" of the T-45C jet trainer the pair were flying.

The report also indicated a culture where pilots regularly flew beyond what is allowed by Naval Air Training Command.

On the day of the crash, Ruth exceeded approved training curriculum, having Burch fly the plane below an altitude of 500 feet in turns and make aggressive ridgeline crossings.

Ruth instructed Burch to follow the terrain–a deviation from the approved training route–and then make a hard right turn, but the terrain in front of them was rising. The aircraft went into a stall and the two were unable to eject safely.

The T-45C Goshawk has had its share of problems as well. Many T-45C instructors refused to fly in the plane last spring because of a series of incidents where pilots would pass out in flight due to problems with the oxygen system, leading to a three-day grounding of the aircraft.

Jack Heretik

Jack Heretik   Email Jack | Full Bio | RSS
Jack is a Media Analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. He is from Northern Ohio and graduated from the Catholic University of America in 2011. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Jack was a Production Assistant for EWTN's The World Over and worked on Sen. Bill Cassidy's 2014 campaign.

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