A US AIR FORCE BOARD of inquiry is trying to determine why a Boeing-built E-3B Advanced Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft crashed at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, on 22 September.

The militarised four-engine Boeing 707 was attempting to take off for a training mission. All 24 aboard, including two Canadians, were killed when the aircraft ploughed into a heavily wooded area 2 miles (3km) beyond the air base.

The remains of a dozen geese were found at the end of the runway immediately raising speculation that a bird strike may have caused the fatal accident. A USAF spokesman says that all possible causes, including bird ingestion, are being explored. Witnesses say that one of the aircraft's four power plants was on fire during take-off.

The accident was the first E-3B loss since the AWACS aircraft were introduced in 1977.

Source: Flight International