Thursday, November 10, 2011

F-15 crash may have been caused by pilot blackout due to g-forces

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Air Self-Defense Force said Wednesday the crash of an F-15 fighter in July probably occurred after the pilot lost consciousness due to g-forces during a training flight.

Lt. Col. Yuji Kawakubo, 37, whose body has not been recovered since his aircraft crashed into the East China Sea off Okinawa on July 5, is believed to have fallen into so-called "G-LOC" -- g-induced loss of consciousness -- as he was exposed to about 5.5 to 6.9 g for about 8 seconds, it said.

A person can typically handle about 5 g before losing consciousness.

It would be the first case in Japan in which a fighter has crashed due to G-LOC, though there have been four other cases in the past 10 years in which pilots have temporarily lost consciousness because of it, the ASDF said.

After taking off from the ASDF's Naha Air Base, Kawakubo's F-15 circled and then descended at a steep angle from an altitude of about 3,000 meters, hindering the flow of blood to his brain, according to the ASDF probe.

It added that there was also a possibility that Kawabuko may have suddenly lost consciousness for some other reason.

No signs of instrument failure in the aircraft were detected in the information obtained from the flight recorder, it said.

(Mainichi Japan) November 10, 2011

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