Air Force Takes Corrective Action
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 13, 1996 Air Force officials are taking action to reduce the risk of tragedies like the crash of a CT-43 passenger jet that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others.
Command failures, aircrew error and an improperly designed instrument approach procedure caused the April 3 crash in Dubrovnik, Croatia, according to an Air Force investigation board report released June 7.
"Nothing we do will ease the pain and loss from the accident which cost families and the nation so much," Defense Secretary William J. Perry said in a statement released June 7. "But we will use the lessons from the accident to make military aviation as safe as possible."
As a result of the crash, DoD and the Air Force began changing equipment, training, procedures and personnel, Perry said. Officials will consider more changes based on a complete evaluation of the board's findings, he said.
Perry directed the services to review aircraft safety equipment including flight data and cockpit voice recorders and global positioning systems. The Air Force has reprogrammed $264 million to install and upgrade safety equipment.
"The Air Force has already begun to take actions necessary to minimize the chance of another tragedy, to ensure that our commanders perform to the standards we have long established and upheld, and to give the family members of those lost in this mishap a full report on what went wrong," Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall said during a Pentagon news conference.
Air Force planes are now prohibited from making instrument approaches at airports in Europe until non-DoD approach procedures have been reviewed and approved, Air Force officials said. DoD assigned more personnel and resources to speed up the review process. DoD flight information publications will have more reliable information about foreign airports.
U.S. officials notified Croat and international officials of design errors for instument landings at Dubrovnik. DoD and the Federal Aviation Administration have published warning notices to airmen.
Air Force officials directed all U.S. Air Forces in Europe commands to ensure strict compliance with Air Force flight directives and to provide theater-specific training, emphasizing non-DoD approaches.
Operational support crews in Europe are receiving flight evaluations and refresher training on instrument procedures.
The Air Force tasked the Air Mobility Command to produce worldwide airfield suitability reports and a summary of airfield restrictions applicable to all Air Force operations.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe is taking a variety of actions to improve tasking, command and control of airlift, standardization and evaluation procedures and to clarify responsibility and accountability, service officials said.