Associated Press has an interview today with the US Air Force’s head of the accident review board.
A strange combination of factors — radome “imperfections”, imbalances caused by two external fuel tanks, etc — caused Lt. Col Thomas Bouley (pictured) to lose control of his F-15D during a basic maneuver on July 30. The commander of the 65th Aggressor Squadron regained control of the jet, but it was already too late.
By the time Bouley recovered from the spin and decided to eject, thepilot was too low at 586 feet above the ground for his parachute towork properly. Another pilot from the Royal Air Force successfullyejected from the F-15′s back seat four-tenths of a second earlier at744 feet.
The back-seater survived. The AP report doesn’t have details about the “subtle” radome imperfections that tipped the jet off balance.