UPDATE: Air Force completes investigation in Columbus base accident

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The Air Force has completed its investigation of the July 9, 2009, T-6A Texan II accident near Mantee, Miss., which resulted in the loss of the aircraft.

The accident investigation board (AIB) determined the cause of this mishap was a result of pilot error.

Student pilot 2nd Lt. Falah Al-Obaidi, an international student in the Aviation Leadership program was flying a solo mission in a T-6A assigned to the 37th Flying Training Squadron. The mission was to practice aerobatics in the Columbus Air Force Base Area 5 Military Operating Area.
About 45 minutes into the flight, the student pilot began a series of aerobatic maneuvers, beginning with three leaves of a clover-leaf pattern and ending with two consecutive loops. According to the investigation report the maneuvers were characterized by incorrect airspeed throughout.
On his final loop, Lieutenant Al-Obaidi released back pressure on the control stick, stabilizing the T-6A at 90 degrees nose up. As the aircraft lost airspeed it transitioned into a steep right bank dive. When the pilot attempted to recover to level flight the steep nose down attitude and rapidly decreasing altitude caused him to think he’d entered a spin or spiral. Once his altitude was below 6,000 feet, the pilot elected to eject.

Lieutenant Al-Obaidi was treated for minor injuries and released from Columbus (Miss.) Baptist Hospital. The T-6A was completely destroyed and there was minor property damage at the crash site.

Col. Eric A. Kivi, 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland AFB, N.M., headed the accident investigation board.

Air Force Press Release

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