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