Navy aircraft grounded after Texas crash

Cancellation of this past Friday’s touch-and-go practices at Outlying Field Coupeville was the result of a “tactical pause” ordered Navy wide after a crash off the coast of Texas.

All Navy aircraft were grounded for a few hours after a T-34C crashed into the Gulf of Mexico Thursday.

Though the pilots were unharmed, the accident marked the Navy’s eighth Class A Mishap to occur since January and the third in the previous 18 days, Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, spokesman wfor Naval Air Forces, said.

Vice Adm. David Buss, head of Naval Air Forces, issued a message Thursday grounding all planes and squadrons except those deployed or underway.

Though commanders were given latitude as to the length of the pause, most flights were expected to stay grounded for at least a few hours, Stephens said.

At Ault Field on North Whidbey, each individual squadron paused operations and conducted a safety stand down, after which they resumed air operations, according Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Public Affairs Officer Mike Welding.

During the pause, squadrons were expected to review incident reports and other relevant information to ensure that all safety measures are being followed.

“Given the trend, we want to make sure we’re not making the same mistakes that we have in the past and mitigating further accidents,” Stephens said.

There were 10 total mishaps since this fiscal year began Oct. 1, Stephens said. Another example of a Class A Mishap involved a NAS Whidbey-based EA-6B Prowler that crashed in Eastern Washington in March 2012.


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