Losses and Aviation Safety

Pilot error to blame for Black Eagles T-50B crash in Singapore

The T-50B veered off the runway while taking-off to perform on the first day of the Singapore Airshow 2018

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has completed its investigation into the Black Eagles display team incident in Singapore on Feb. 6 and concluded that pilot error was the cause.

“We concluded that the accident was attributed to the pilot’s failure to observe the procedure for an abnormal situation,” the Air Force said in a statement. “We will educate all pilots about the accident and reestablish relevant procedures.”

The aircraft veered off the runway while taking-off to perform on the first day of the Singapore Airshow 2018.

According Korean Herald, investigators determined that the pilot had disengaged the nose wheel steering prematurely. That leads to the jet leaning towards the right side of the runway while accelerating for take off. Proper procedure is to abort the take off but the pilot choose to continue the take off run and correct his mistake. Ultimately, the jet skid off the runway and flipped over.

Black Eagles perform with eight T-50B aircraft. KAI says the T-50B is customised to increase manoeuverability, and also comes with smoke dispensers.

Apart from the T-50B and baseline T-50A, KAI also produces the FA-50 light fighter aircraft.

Noteworthy the type has proven popular in Southeast Asia. Thailand recently received its first two examples from an orderbook for 12 T-50THs, and the Philippines has received 12 FA-50s as it works to recapitalize its fast jet capability. Indonesia also operates 15 T-50As, having lost one in a crash.

In the Middle East, Iraq has received six examples from an order for 24 aircraft.

The aircraft designated as T-50A also forms the basis of Lockheed Martin’s bid for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) T-X trainer programme to replace the Northrop T-38.

The T-50A is purpose-built around 5th Generation thinking. In fact the aircraft will be able to train the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II pilots of tomorrow, as well as pilots for frontline 4th Generation aircraft. The T-50A builds upon the proven heritage of the T-50 family of aircraft with more than 150 T-50s flying today – 150,000 flight hours and counting – and more than 2,000 pilots who have trained in this aircraft.

Photo credit: Republic of Korea Air Force via Aviation Analysis Wing

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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