Maintainer makes mistake that leads to T-38A mishap, injury

  • Published
  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – Today, Air Combat Command released an Accident Investigation Board report indicating an aircraft maintainer made a mistake that led to a T-38A Talon collapse and injury Feb. 27, 2023, at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

The aircraft, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., collapsed inside a hangar at Holloman AFB where it was undergoing routine maintenance. The accident resulted in one civilian maintainer, an M1 Support Services employee, being hospitalized and subsequently released. The aircraft sustained $116,715 worth of damages. 

Earlier that morning, the aircraft was in the M1 maintenance hangar to undergo post-wash maintenance procedures, including gear lubrication and a landing gear retraction test. 

While performing lubrication on the nose landing gear assembly, the nose of the aircraft collapsed on top of the maintainer, pinning him underneath. After several minutes, seven other M1 employees were able to lift the nose up enough to remove the maintainer from underneath the aircraft. Emergency services were called and responded.

The AIB president found that the maintainer caused the mishap by improperly removing the nose landing gear safety pin and then exerting force on the nose landing gear assembly during the lubrication task. 

Furthermore, the AIB president determined that multiple actions taken by the maintainer demonstrated a trend of diverging from standard operating procedures. This reoccurring behavior culminated in the maintainer’s wrongful removal of the safety pin before applying lubrication to the assembly. 

The AIB report can be viewed at website link 27 February 2023 ACC T-38 49th Wing Holloman AFB AIB Report