Wednesday, 9 December 2020

RAAF Amberley crash forces grounding of Super Hornets and Growlers

RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet A44-223 (CN AF-23)

The Royal Australian Air Force have grounded its entire fleet of Super Hornets and Growlers after two pilots were forced to eject before a crash at Amberley yesterday. The emergency involved an RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet, operated by the No1 Squadron,  which ran off the runway at the base.   A witness filmed a pilot and co-pilot parachuting back to the ground after the incident. The Hornet had been third in line for take-off during Tuesday afternoon’s manoeuvres. The jet was around 200 metres into its take-off run when the disaster happened. One eyewitness observed smoke coming from one of its engines before the crew ejected. The multi-million dollar jet continued on with no one at the controls until it left the runway and crashed its nose onto the ground. In response, the federal government has grounded the jets “out of an abundance of caution” as investigators search for answers over what led to the accident. Twenty-four Super Hornets and  eleven Growlers are out of service indefinitely while a full investigation gets underway. A RAAF spokesperson says the pilots are “well” after the incident. “The aircrew of that aircraft are safe and no other personnel were involved in the incident,” a Defence spokeswoman said in a statement.

A Google search shows footage of the incident as a wrecked RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft with scorched burn marks around the cockpit on the ground near an airstrip. Another picture shows two pilots parachuting towards the ground after they were forced to eject at around 2.30pm during a regular training exercise. The plane, which has been described as “badass” by mechanics, seems to have encountered engine failure as it was taking off alongside seven other aircraft. The Super Hornet is powered by two General Electric F414-GE-400 engines.

Aircraft Information
Aircraft: Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet
Owner: Royal Australian Air Force 1 Squadron
Registration: A44-223
Serial Number: AF-23
Engines: 2 x General Electric F414-GE-400 engines.

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