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Air Force grounds all aircraft for one day following accidents

The US Air Force has ordered a one-day standdown for an "operational safety review" following a series of recent acci...

Posted: May 8, 2018 3:36 PM
Updated: May 8, 2018 3:36 PM

The US Air Force has ordered a one-day standdown for an "operational safety review" following a series of recent accidents and fatalities involving military aircraft -- including an incident last week that killed nine crew members of a WC-130 cargo plane -- according to a statement by the Air Force on Tuesday.

Units will be expected to fulfill the review at different times to ensure safety and continued operations.

Units involved in combat operations in places like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan may be exempted from the standdown but will conduct a review, Maj. Gen. John Rauch, the Air Force chief of safety, told reporters Tuesday.

The Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein ordered the units to execute the one-day operational safety review by May 21, 2018.

Reserve and Air National Guard units will have until June 25 to complete the review.

"I am directing this operational safety review to allow our commanders to assess and discuss the safety of our operations and to gather feedback from our Airmen who are doing the mission every day," said Goldfein in a statement.

The review comes after a series of incidents, including the deadly crash of a WC-130 cargo aircraft on May 2 in Georgia.

The Puerto Rico Air National Guard WC-130 was flying from Savannah to Tucson, Arizona, when it nosedived into a Georgia highway, killing all nine people on board.

At least 27 US service members have died in noncombat-related wrecks of military aircraft this year.

"The Air Force is taking swift action to ensure the safety of its force. Although safety statistics over the past decade show Air Force Class A and B aviation mishaps trended downward, the Air Force's manned aviation mishap rate increased since the beginning of fiscal year 2018," the statement said.

"We cannot afford to lose a single Airman or weapons system due to a mishap that could have been prevented," said Goldfein.

"Our men and women have volunteered to give their last full measure for America's security. My intent is to have commanders lead focused forums with their Airmen to help identify gaps and seams that exist or are developing, which could lead to future mishaps or unsafe conditions," he added.

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