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Air Boss Orders Naval Aviation Safety Stand Down After Two Crashes

Navy T-6B Texan IIs at NAS Pensacola, Fla. US Navy Photo

The head of naval aviation has ordered a safety stand down after two crashes last week only three days apart, the Navy announced on Monday.

All non-deployed aviation units stopped operations on orders from commander Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, the service announced.

“This stand down provides an opportunity for our aviation commands to focus on how to further improve operational risk management and risk mitigation across the Naval Aviation enterprise,” reads a statement from the service.
“The safety of our personnel and our local communities is a top priority we take all aviation incidents extremely seriously.”

On Friday, U.S. Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross, a 30-year-old instructor pilot, and U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett, a 24-year-old student pilot, died after their T-6B Texan II crashed in an Alabama town near Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.

On Oct. 20, an F-18E Super Hornet crashed near Naval Air Station China Lake, Calif. The pilot was recovered safely.

The following is the complete Oct. 26, 2020 statement from Naval Air Forces.

Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, Commander, Naval Air Forces, directed all non-deployed U.S. Navy aviation units to conduct a safety stand down Oct. 26.

This stand down provides an opportunity for our aviation commands to focus on how to further improve operational risk management and risk mitigation across the Naval Aviation enterprise.

This safety stand down follows an F/A-18E Super Hornet crash near Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake on Oct. 20, in which the pilot ejected safely, and a T-6B Texan II crash in Foley, Alabama, on Oct. 23, in which the two-person aircrew did not survive. No civilians were injured as a result of either incident.

The safety of our personnel and our local communities is a top priority we take all aviation incidents extremely seriously.

We remain the greatest aviation force in the world and are committed to learning from these incidents in order to avoid these tragedies in the future.

Categories: Aviation, Military Personnel, News & Analysis, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.