Video 91 added on 2006-09-22: Video Type: Crash Aircraft: F-14 Tomcat Views: 7659
Video Rating: 9.29 7 Votes
An F-14 flies by the USS Paul Jones on September 20, 1995, and then explodes over the sea. The following is an explanation of what happened:
This is my first post on Ebaums and really I am posting to clarify a few things.
1) I am a Navy Air Traffic Controller.
2) I was stationed aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) From 1994-1999.
3) I was on Marshal Control in the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) when this accident happened.
I?m not certain how many specifics I can get into. I do not think I can get into where we were exactly or where we were going. However, the accident report has been declassified and as such I can relay a few pertinent facts about what happened.
I was tracking the Aircraft and he was traveling at a high rate of speed. He never requested to do a flyby on the John Paul Jones and since he was inside my airspace (out to 60 nautical miles) he should have made a request to do so. Fact is he never was in communications with me at all.
Naval investigators concluded the loss of the airplane was due to "pilot error" because Bates failed to take the required action to prevent his plane from going into an uncontrollable spin after an engine stall.
The F-14 he was flying was an F-14A and the engines on that series were prone to compressor stalls when making high angle of attack maneuvers, at high speeds, in dense atmosphere (read: Low altitude). At the time of this accident they were transitioning to the F-14B with engines that were 30% more powerful.
Because of the great distance between F-14 engines, asymmetrical thrust becomes a real problem should one engine fail.
Going outside of the official mishap investigation; it would appear to me that just prior to the explosion, LCDR (Lieutenant Commander) Bates place his aircraft in a very hard turn. If you look at the video, you will notice the aircraft flying at a 90-degree wing down attitude just prior to the explosion.
As I stated earlier; Naval investigators concluded the loss of the airplane was due to "pilot error".
Some of you may recall there was an F-14 accident in January of 1996. In this accident the pilot requested an "Unrestricted climb" and his departure took him vertical. He was observed to pass into an overcast layer of clouds at nearly a 90-degree angle of attack. Shortly after he was seen going into the clouds, his aircraft reversed direction and impacted a house. The pilot, RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) and three people on the ground were killed.
The findings on this accident were also found to be "pilot error".
Can you guess who the pilot of the later flight was? If you guessed LCDR John Stacy Bates you would be correct.
In a period of 16 months, there were 4 losses of F14's in LCDR Bates' squadron, VF-213 the Fighting Black Lions. Two of which were attributed to him.