US Marines Ground all F/A-18s Following Crashes

The US Marine Corps ordered a safety stand down for all units of its (non-deployed) F/A-18s following a spate of Hornet crashes over the past few weeks:

The stand-down will provide “an operational pause for all [Marine Air Wings] not including deployed units,” said Capt. Sarah Burns, a spokesman for the Marines.

The pause will last one day and will be taken in the next seven days, Burns said. It will allow units to “discuss best practices and to look at ways to continue to improve,” she said.

Perhaps morbidly, the crashes appear to be creating at least one positive outcome: an increased look into whether the US military is properly funding training requirements for dangerous professions — or whether funding is being funneled to combat operations at the expense of training:

In all, five F/A-18s have been lost and two pilots killed in four crashes since May. The string of crashes has called into question whether the service is taking too much risk in worn aircraft and nondeployed pilots who are only flight training about 10 hours each month. Pilots are supposed to train in aircraft at least 16 hours monthly.

It appears units will stand down individually for a safety day, likely filled with briefings — at which line pilots will probably complain about the amount of flight training they’re getting.