Navy Orders One-day Stand-down Following Two Accidents

Order came just days after the service reported an accident-free FY2020.

FA-18 Super Hornet
The pilot of an FA-18 Super Hornet ejected safely before the aircraft crashed in California.Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon Renfroe/US Navy photo

The crash of a T-6 Texan II in Alabama last week—in addition to the loss of an F-18 Hornet near China Lake California earlier in the week—was enough for the head of Naval Air Forces to call for a one-day safety stand-down that grounded all non-deployed units in an attempt to determine the cause of the mishaps.

According to the Navy Times, the T-6 accident claimed the lives of Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett and Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross when their turboprop crashed into a residential neighborhood near Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Florida. The Times said Garrett—an ROTC student from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor—was receiving flight instruction from Lt. Ross at the time of the accident.

Earlier last week, an F/A-18E Super Hornet on a routine training mission from Naval Air Station Lemoore crashed near NAS Naval Weapons Station China Lake, California. Luckily the F-18 pilot was able to eject before the airplane crashed.

The Navy Times said Naval Air Forces commander Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell announced that the stand-down represented “an opportunity for our aviation commands to focus on how to further improve operational risk management and risk mitigation across the Naval Aviation enterprise.” Ironically, The Naval Safety Center had just reported no aviation-related fatalities for the just-ended fiscal year 2020. The Safety Center said this was the first time the service had experienced an accident-free year since record gathering began in 1922.

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