F-15s Grounded, Structural Failure Suspected
The Air Force suspended non-mission-critical F-15 flight operations on Saturday, the day after the crash of a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C during a training flight. Preliminary findings indicated that a structural failure of the aircraft may have occurred, the U.S. Air Force said. However, the accident is still under investigation and the indefinite suspension of flight operations is a "precautionary measure," according to the Air Force. The Air Force flies more than 700 of the aging F-15 fighters, which date back to 1975. They are gradually being replaced by the F-22 Raptor. The Missouri jet crashed in a wooded area about 120 miles southwest of St. Louis. The pilot ejected and was released from a hospital Saturday after treatment for a dislocated shoulder, a broken arm and minor cuts.
Japan's air force has also grounded its fleet of some 200 of the fighter-bombers.