F-18 crash attributed to rare dual engine failure
Firefighters douse an apartment complex when a US Navy F-18 jet fighter crashed after take-off on April 6, 2012 in the tourist resort of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
July 2nd, 2012
05:12 PM ET

F-18 crash attributed to rare dual engine failure

By Jennifer Rizzo

A Navy F-18 fighter jet that crashed into a Virginia Beach neighborhood in April experienced dual engine failure, marking the first time an F-18 has had two unrelated catastrophic engine failures at the same time, according to a report released on the investigation.

In the first five seconds of flight, the jet's right engine stalled from a fuel leak, the investigators said. The pilot tried to compensate with extra thrust from the left engine but it also failed due to an unrelated problem with the afterburner.

"It was not a single failure but an extremely unusual and complex multisystem emergency," Rear Adm. Ted Branch said at a press conference Monday.

With a failed right engine and a malfunctioning left engine that was not generating sufficient thrust, the aircraft quickly lost altitude. When the F-18 dropped to 50 feet the crew ejected.

One second later the jet crashed into an apartment complex, but no one was killed. The whole ordeal, from takeoff to crash, lasted only 70 seconds.

If the right engine alone had failed, it is highly unlikely the aircraft would have crashed, Branch said.

"We have never had this kind of unrelated dual engine mishap in the F-18," he said. "It's the first time its ever happened with this aircraft."

Emergency procedures will be revised to take this rare occurrence into account, he said.

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Filed under: Military • Navy
soundoff (11 Responses)
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    July 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  6. AlexShch

    "One second later the jet crashed into an apartment complex, but no one was killed. The whole ordeal, from takeoff to crash, lasted only 70 seconds" - obviously an extreme luck that nobody got killed, however, 70 seconds is not a lot, and the jet, while flying several times faster than a car, could not go very far. Does this mean that the apartment complex was directly on the path from the runway? And would it be prudent to have an exclusion safety zone to keep a couple of miles down from runway unpopulated?

    July 2, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Reply
    • Ignaceous

      It's surrounded on all sides by apartments. Take a looks

      July 3, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
    • TJ

      wow. boy if you had been the prudent police 50 years ago when they built all of that stuff this would have never happened:) vertually every military and civilian runway has structures and people in thier path. These types of crashes are very RARE at best. luck, skill, AND pre-planning get my vote for why no one was killed

      July 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
      • Cheese Wonton

        Encroachment of civilian communities on military airfields is all too common, and there is no way the military can interfere in the decisions of communities outside their gates.

        July 4, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  7. Phunnie boy

    We just can't have this kind of thing happening to our wonderful F-18 fighter-bombers, can we? Please let's get this fixed as soon as possible.

    July 2, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Reply

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