As part of the ongoing investigation on the accident that has nearly one third of the US F-15 Eagle fleet grounded, Boeing Phantom Works has released this simulation reconstructing the "structural failure of a US Air National Guard F-15C, caused by fatigue cracking of a forward fuselage longeron, slowed down to one-fifth the actual speed of the event!" In other words: "ZOMG! The cockpit broke apart!" Fortunately, the pilot survived the extremely violent accident, which is amazing although not as incredible as the Israeli pilot who managed to land his Eagle after a crash ripped off an entire wing:

Looking at this video it seems that the F-15s are quite formidable machines, even while the USAF investigation is pointing at Boeing's responsibility for a "faulty manufacturing process" that led to the failure of the long structural beams (longerons) that keep the fuselage together.

"The accident investigation board president (Wignall) found, by clear and convincing evidence, the cause of this accident was a failure of the upper right longeron, a critical support structure in the F-15C aircraft," the report says.

About 20 minutes after takeoff from an airfield near St. Louis on Nov. 2, the forward fuselage of Maj. Stephen Stilwell's $42 million F-15C Eagle shook violently and then broke apart 18,000 feet above the ground. Stilwell, his left shoulder dislocated and his left arm shattered, barely had time to safely eject as pieces of his aircraft tumbled from the sky over the Missouri countryside.

More troubling, however, are the results of a parallel examination finding as many as 163 of the workhorse aircraft also have flawed support beams, or longerons. The aircraft remain grounded as the Air Force continues to search for how serious the problem is and whether extensive, costly repairs are needed. Another 19 of the aircraft have yet to be inspected and also remain grounded.

Nearly 260 of the A through D model F-15s, first fielded in the mid-1970s, were returned to flight status Tuesday following fleet-wide inspections.


[Defense Tech and]

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