ACT News


RAAF rules out Hornet crash tie

Defence has ruled out any possible connection between the dramatic crash of an American navy ''classic'' F/A-18 Hornet on Good Friday and an incident involving one of its own planes near Canberra last month.

One of three Australian ''classic'' Hornets detailed to conduct a flyby at the RAAF's 91st birthday on March 30 was forced to return to base due to a ''minor cockpit depressurisation issue''.

''This type of issue could not be relevant to the recent USN crash,'' a Defence spokesman said.

Last Friday's crash has been hailed as an ''Easter miracle'', with rescue workers amazed nobody was killed or seriously injured when the two-seater F/A-18D crashed into an apartment complex less than eight minutes after take-off.

Defence said while the US Navy plane was younger than the F/A-18As, and F/A-18Bs flown by the RAAF the Australian planes had an excellent safety record.

''The F/A-18D aircraft flown by the United States Navy [USN] and United States Marine Corps [USMC] is similar to the RAAF F/A-18B; both are two-seat aircraft and both have similar mechanical systems. The F/A-18D is a slightly upgraded and newer version of the F/A-18B model,'' the spokesman said.

''However, the RAAF has conducted extensive upgrades and modifications to our F/A-18 A/B fleet and these aircraft remain among the safest and most operationally capable fighter aircraft.''

The RAAF was aware of the crash and would receive information on its cause once that had been determined. ''As an integral part of the worldwide F/A-18 fraternity, the RAAF will receive data regarding the cause of the crash when it is available. Any procedures suggested by the USN, relevant to our particular fleet, will be immediately addressed by the RAAF. At this stage there is no conclusive evidence as to the cause of the USN crash.''