USAFE releases AIB report on F-15E crash in Libya

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- United States Air Forces in Europe officials released the results of their investigation into the March 21 crash in Libya of an F-15E Strike Eagle as it performed combat operations enforcing the United Nations mandated no-fly zone established for Operation Odyssey Dawn.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the board president, Col. Scott Shapiro, USAFE Chief of Strategic Airlift Capabilities, found clear and convincing evidence that the cause of the mishap was the aircraft's sudden departure from controlled flight because it exceeded the critical angle of attack during an Air Force-approved combat maneuver. Other contributing factors to this accident include the pilot conducting an AF-wide acceptable maneuver for the F-15E at a previously untested altitude and lateral asymmetry (unbalanced aircraft).

Both the pilot and weapons systems officer survived the crash by successfully ejecting before the aircraft impacted in an unpopulated area near Benghazi. Remains of the aircraft were later destroyed so critical systems information and equipment could not be salvaged by foreign forces.

Both the pilot and WSO were temporarily deployed to Aviano Air Base Italy at the time of the incident. Both are members of the 492nd Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom.

The convening authority, USAFE Vice Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Mueller, approved the board president's report without comments.

The primary purpose of the board was to provide a publicly releasable report of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. An executive summary of the report is available at

For more information contact the USAFE Public Affairs Office at 011-49-6371-47-6558.

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Comments: 3

by Michael on March 7, 2012 :

This is patently ABSURD. Pilots are trained to deal with unbalanced aircraft. I mean every time they fire a missile or drop a bomb part of the plane becomes unbalanced. Further the 20mm Vulcan Cannon is located on the Starboard wing which further unbalances it. The plane was SHOT DOWN by either Surface to Air Missiles or antiaircraft guns. All one has to do is look at the tail of the wreckage. The tail fins are both nearly snapped in two and the remains pointed toward the right hand side. Further the cockpit is nowhere in sight and both engines are missing! THAT MEANS IT BROKE UP IN FLIGHT not on the ground.

by EUCOM Public Affairs on March 7, 2012 :

Michael, though we do appreciate your taking the time to comment on the matter, we firmly believe our investigators have done a thorough job and have come to the best conclusions. They had access to more information than the general public and even others close to the investigation.

by Matt on March 29, 2012 :

Michael, I'm guessing you're not a fighter pilot from your post. It's pretty obvious you don't know what you're talking about.

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