F-15 at Take Off
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F-15 Crash Sequence Images

by Brett M. Christensen


Email forward contains a series of images that depict the mid-air break up of a US Air Force F15 jet and the ejection of the pilot. 

Brief Analysis

The incident described in the message did take place in November 2007. However, the images in the message are from a post-crash animation, not the crash itself.


Subject: Fwd: what a ride !!!!

Just Flying along, enjoying the ride….

F-15 Crash 1

Oh my, this is so much fun….it’s so great being a pilot.


F-15 Crash 1Hmmm something feels different…..


F-15 Crash 3Hey, why am I looking up…..??


F-15 Crash 4Oops…my controls aren’t working???


F-15 Crash 5Where’s my F-15…..??


F-15 Crash 6Oh…there it is….


F-15 Crash 7I think I’m having separation anxiety….


F-15 Crash 8OK…I’m out here….but first the canopy has to go…


F-15 Crash 9Glad that worked…..


F-15 Crash 10That’s it….now I’m gone….


F-15 Crash 11Can you imagine what was going through this poor pilot’s mind?

Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

This ‘incident’ caused the USAF to ground its fleet of F-15’s.

How about the guy who took these pictures? Just when it looks like it’s going to be just another ‘average day at the office’.. You never know!

What caused the mid air break up? The main “longeron” (stringer) behind the cockpit failed due to corrosion.

U.S. Air Force’s announcement on Thursday said that a Missouri National Guard F-15 jet broke apart in midair on Nov. 2, 2007 ; the pilot evacuated the plane safely.

The breakup in mid air was blamed on parts that didn’t meet specifications;

which raises issues ranging from national security to potential legal action and even foreign sales.


Detailed Analysis

Although it does not come right out and say so, the implied suggestion in this email forward is that the attached photographs represent actual footage of a US Air Force F-15 as it broke up midair forcing the ejection of the pilot. However, this suggestion is untrue. 

The mid-air break-up shown in the images did occur. On November 2, 2007, a US Air National Guard F-15 broke apart and crashed during a training exercise near Boss, Missouri. Although the incident itself is real, the images included in this email are not real photographs of the crash. Instead, they are taken from an animation prepared as part of the investigation into what caused the incident. When viewed as intended as part of an animation, it is clear that the images are not actual photographs:

Apparently, the creator of the email message has simply taken several still shots from the animation and added a few vaguely humorous captions as commentary on the “action”.

As a result of the crash, the US Air Force grounded the entire F-15 fleet in November 2007. The crash investigation revealed that the crash was caused by the failure of the upper right longeron, a critical support structure in the aircraft’s frame.

The pilot of the F-15, Major Stephen Stilwell, successfully ejected from the stricken aircraft but sustained serious arm and shoulder injuries. The crash caused minimal damage to private property on the ground, but there were no fatalities or other injuries.

By January 9, 2008, 60 percent of the Air Force’s F-15 fleet had been approved to return to active duty. Nine other aircraft were found to have longeron cracks.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,