Fighter in the sky

F-15 picture by Kurt Fairhurst
F-15 picture by Kurt Fairhurst
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It could be between 60 and 90 days before RAF Lakenheath releases an official report on the crash at Weston Hills on Wednsday afternoon.

There have been 14 accidents involving the USAF F-15 Eagle in the past ten years

In March 2011, an F-15E 91-0304 from RAF Lakenheath crashed near Benghazi, Libya in Operation Odyssey Dawn. Both crewmen ejected safely and were recovered by friendly forces.

Equipment problems with weapons interface software and the right external fuel tank led to a strong right-wing weight imbalance, 
which caused the aircraft to enter a flat spin during a low-speed, high altitude, 100 degree bank-angle right turn.

The mishap investigation board found the cause of the crash to be lack of published knowledge on F-15E manoeuvering with large external store weight imbalances at high altitude.

In August this year, a pilot died when an F-15C Eagle of the 104th Fighter Wing (Massachusetts Air National Guard) crashed in America near Deerfield.

Investigation at the scene of the crash show that the pilot never ejected.

On Wednesday, 11 jets had been in the air from the base at the time of the crash, although not all of them were flying in the area of Weston Hills.

The cause of the crash remains unknown at this stage.


* The £19 million aircraft is capable of 1,875mph and is among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 aerial combat victories.

* F-15s are manoeuvrable tactical fighters, designed so one person can perform air-to-air combat.

* The US Air Force has nearly 250 F-15s.

* The first F-15A flight - the first model - was made in July 1972.

* They were designed by McDonnell Douglas and first used in the Vietnam War.

* They are now among the most successful modern fighters.

* The F15-C – one of the most used in the Air Force – is 63ft long and has a 48ft wing span.