Navy Investigates F/A-18D Crash, Provides Compensation to Those Affected


Story Number: NNS120406-22Release Date: 4/6/2012 1:50:00 PM
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From Defense Media Activity - Navy

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Following the crash of a Navy fighter jet in Virginia Beach, Va. April 6, the Navy has begun a compensation process for residents affected, while it continues to investigate the crash.

An F/A-18D assigned to the Naval Air Station Oceana-based Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 crashed in Virginia Beach, Va. April 6 at approximately 12:05 p.m. just after takeoff. The plane crashed into the Mayfair Mews apartment complex in Virginia Beach.

Both aircrew ejected safely and were transported to a local hospital and later released. Five others were also transported to the hospital where they were treated and released. There were no fatalities as a result of the crash.

The Navy has established a process through which compensation will be provided to residents affected by Friday's crash.

"We are committed to doing the right thing to address the needs of these families, who through no fault of their own have endured an incredible hardship," said Rear Adm. Tim Alexander, commander of the Navy's Mid-Atlantic region.

"We owe it to everyone affected by Friday's accident to help them get their life back together," Alexander said.

The Navy met with residents the day after the crash to explain the available resources and start the compensation process. The Navy helped affected residents apply for compensation to cover short-term expenses, and to file for reimbursement for injuries or property damage.

On April 8, the Navy began contacting residents to arrange payment of the emergency funds for those who completed their claims Saturday. The initial payments are for immediate needs such as housing, meals, and clothing. Payments begin at $2,300 for an individual resident and increases for additional family members.

The Navy has arranged to use checks instead of electronic funds transfers because funds can be provided to the residents faster.

An information and assistance call center has been established to provide additional compensation information and other resource referrals plus counseling and legal services to the residents. Residents may reach the call center at 866-345-8179 or 757-444-4557 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Residents who could not attend Saturday's meeting or who have additional questions, should contact the call center.

Additionally, those residents who have requested compensation are encouraged to contact the call center to confirm that the Navy has all required information.

The Navy will have a Legal representative and an information center at the Mayfair Mews Apartments from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily beginning Monday, April 9. That representative will be able to assist residents with forms, answer questions concerning compensation and accept completed forms from residents.

Additional information about the compensation process can be found on the Facebook page of Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic at http://www.facebook.com/USNavy#!/notes/commander-navy-region-mid-atlantic/navy-begins-compensation-process-for-residents-affected-by-jet-crash/10150791065483764.

In addition to compensating those affected, the Navy continues its investigation into the crash. Navy investigators, including engine and system technical experts, continue their work at the crash scene. A flight systems technical expert from Boeing, the F/A-18 aircraft manufacturer, is on site to assist Navy investigators.

The aircraft's Crash Survivable Flight Incident Recorder has been recovered and sent to Naval Air Systems Command at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, for analysis to determine what information is recoverable from the flight. The Crash Survivable Flight Incident Recorder is similar to a commercial airliner's flight data recorder in that it records flight parameters, cautions and advisories for all phases of flight but does not include cockpit voice communications.

The aircraft's wing section and parts of the fuselage are being moved today; the aircraft's engines will remain at the crash site for onsite study by investigators before moving them. Other aircraft components are being moved from the crash scene to Naval Air Station Oceana for detailed examination.

The Navy will continue cleanup work at the crash site, and expects to finish removing most aircraft debris by the end of the week.

The aircraft's crew was treated for minor injuries, and both have been released from the hospital. The aircrew consisted of a fleet replacement pilot and an experienced instructor. Their identities are not being released.

Normal flight operations have resumed at NAS Oceana. Flight operations were temporarily curtailed shortly after the crash.

An Aviation Mishap Board (AMB) conducts the aircraft mishap safety investigation, and is comprised of several members. The board's senior member is a Naval Aviator or Naval Flight Officer. Other members of the board include an Aviation Safety Officer, a flight surgeon, an officer qualified in aircraft maintenance, and an officer qualified in aircraft operations. The board can draw upon a full range of other technical subject matter experts to assist in determining the cause of an aviation mishap. The Naval Safety Center has also provided an experienced aviation mishap investigator to assist the AMB.

An aircraft mishap safety investigation's objective is to search for causes, look for previously undetected hazards and identify those factors that caused the mishap, as well as those that caused any additional damage or injury during the course of the mishap. The AMB is typically augmented by engineering investigations when mechanical malfunctions are suspected.

The results of the safety investigation are documented in a Safety Investigation Report (SIR) that contains succinct, factual information, opinions, and recommendations designed to help prevent recurrence of aviation mishaps.

The time to complete investigations can vary depending on the complexity of the incident. In some cases, the information needed to conclude an investigation is readily available; however, when investigations require extensive, technical study of the wreckage (involving Engineering Investigations or EI's), the process typically moves more slowly.

In general, AMBs are given 30 calendar days to complete the SIR.
In the case of a complex investigation, it is common that more time is required in order to produce a thorough report that fully reviews the incident, determines causal factors, and makes meaningful recommendations. Once submitted, the SIR is reviewed and formally endorsed through the chain of command and this process typically requires several months to complete.

SIR's contain privileged information, and are not for general release. This means they are written with the sole purpose of improving safety, and that use or distribution of the SIR is limited to this purpose. The concept of privilege allows witnesses to express their thoughts and information candidly. Likewise, endorsers can feel unencumbered in expressing their thoughts and opinions.

Concurrent with the aircraft mishap safety investigation, and in keeping with standard practice, a Manual of the Judge Advocate General (JAGMAN) investigation has been initiated by the Navy. A senior Navy Captain, who is a Naval Aviator, will be assigned to lead this investigation. The JAGMAN investigation is conducted in addition to, and separate from, the aircraft mishap safety investigation. A completed JAGMAN investigation is generally releasable under the Freedom of Information Act.

A JAGMAN investigation is ordered when an aircraft mishap results in injury or extensive damage to property. The investigation will determine the cause and responsibility for the mishap, nature and extent of any injuries, description of all damage to property, and any attendant circumstances.

A JAGMAN Investigation is normally concluded within 30 days. However, an investigation involving an aircraft mishap, which also requires extensive technical study with engineering analysis, will often require more time to produce a thorough report.

Shortly after the crash, Adm. John C. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces released the following statement:

"My thoughts and prayers are with our citizens and families who have been impacted by the tragic crash today in Virginia Beach by an aircraft from NAS Oceana.

"I deeply regret that some in our community have lost their homes, and I, like many, pray for the well-being of all.

"I must also offer my deepest gratitude to the citizens of Virginia Beach and the Mayfair Mews Apartments, as well as Virginia Beach's first responders, for their immediate and heroic response to take care of our aircrew after they ejected and all at the scene of the mishap.

"I have spoken with Mayor Sessoms, and all the resources of the Navy in Hampton Roads are being made available to the City of Virginia Beach as we all deal with the impacts and recovery from this terrible mishap.

"We will continue to work directly with the City of Virginia Beach and continue to provide all possible assistance.

"We will conduct a complete investigation into the cause of this mishap and share all information we have as soon as we are able to do so."

VFA-106 is based at Naval Air Station Oceana, and serves as the East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron. Their mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 replacement pilots and weapon systems officers to support fleet commitments.

For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.

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