Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Accidents during combat

I was just reading about the suspected collision and crashes of two Marine Hornet’s last night over Iraq. And I came upon this paragraph:

Late last year, Marine Corps officials said a sharp increase in deadly accidents involving Marine aircraft had forced a close look at possible causes.

From October 2003 through September 2004, the Marines sustained 18 major accidents, including the deaths of 15 aviators and the loss of 21 helicopters and fighter planes.

I might be going out on a limb here, but perhaps the possible cause is combat? The aircraft are flying more than in peace time, so the chances of an accident happening are increased, everything from pilot error to mechanical error (not to mention enemy contact), whether training back home or in theater. Plus there are a few additional factors: in combat there is a tendency to take risks one might not take in training: flying when weather conditions aren’t optimal, because the mission needs to be completed. Most often these risks are worth it, but sometimes the risks prove costly.

I am glad they are taking loss of life and limb seriously, but it seems to me that it is kind of cut and dry. I can't imagine them coming up with any findings, other than "combat increases the chances of accidents." But anything that could possible reduce the occurence of accidents is welcome information.


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