Pilot error blamed for Cherry Point crash

April 9, 2009 8:19:31 AM PDT
A crash that destroyed a Marine Corps fighter jet last year is blamed on a mistake by the pilot.According to a report on the investigation, the pilot of the $40 million AV-8B Harrier didn't readjust thrust nozzles on the plane properly, and that caused it to fall out of the sky.

The crash happened February 13, 2008 in Carteret County. The pilot ejected safely and no one on the ground was hurt. The plane landed in a field, making a 20 foot deep hole in the ground.

The report says the pilot started having problems when he slowed the plane by moving the thrust nozzles. The design of the Harrier fighter allows pilots to change the direction of thrust from the engines. The plane can hover and even take off and land from the ground vertically.

After making the nozzle adjustment, the plane started losing thrust, and the report says the pilot didn't troubleshoot the problem properly. When the plane fell below 5,000 feet, the pilot said he make the decision to eject.

The investigating officer recommended the pilot return to flying after undergoing refresher training.


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