Tag Archives: Aircraft

General Welsh Recalls Memorial, Family of Fallen Aviano Pilot

At the recent Air Force Association symposium, US Air Force Chief of Staff told the story of Maj Luc “Gaza” Gruenther, who was killed during a training flight in January:

Gruenther was a pilot with the 555th Fighter Squadron in Aviano Air Base, Italy, when the Air Force lost contact with him during a training mission over the Adriatic Sea, Jan. 28. Three days later, Gruenther’s body was recovered.

As Welsh told the story of Gruenther, eyes welled with tears in the audience.

“About 1,000 folks showed up to the memorial of Gruenther,” Welsh said. “As the missing man formation passed the memorial, Gruenther’s family got to wave on, saying a final goodbye to their son, husband and wingman. I like to think that Gruenther kept pulling up on the formation and touched the face of God.”
Gruenther’s wife went on to give birth to a baby girl the very next day.


More than 1,000 Attend Fighter Pilot Memorial

Aviano Air Base held a memorial for Maj Lucas “Gaza” Gruenther, the US Air Force fighter pilot killed when his F-16 crashed last week.  Nearly 1,200 people attended, including senior Air Force leaders and Italian dignitaries.

During the memorial service, many spoke of his inspiring nature and enthusiastic spirit, recalling his selfless and admirable qualities that he exemplified in his everyday life.

Gruenther had already been selected for Major, though he had Read more

Aviano Fighter Pilot’s Body Recovered

The body of Capt Lucas Gruenther, the F-16 pilot lost on Monday off the coast of Italy, was recovered Thursday.  Though he had been missing, hopes had been raised after the recovery of a drogue chute and helmet among aircraft debris — seeming to indicate a successful ejection into the chilly waters.

From the family’s statement:

A compassionate husband, a loving son, and a devoted brother; Luc leaves behind a family who loves him dearly and a legacy Read more

Aviano Continues Search for Missing F-16 Pilot, Father-to-Be

Aviano Air Base has begun using its own F-16s to support the search for Capt. Lucas Gruenther, who went missing during a four-ship training sortie Monday night.  Debris has been found believed to be from his aircraft.

It seems he is soon to become a new father:

Gruenther and his wife, Cassy, are expecting their first child in two to three weeks, the Bee reported.

Along with the Aviano AB wing commander, our prayers are with his family:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Capt. Gruenther and his family,” [31st Fighter Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Scott J. Zobrist] said.


Aviano Based US Air Force F-16 Lost off Italian Coast

The US Air Force reported it lost contact with an Aviano Air Base assigned F-16 Monday night:

The aircraft, assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, was performing a training mission over the Adriatic Sea when the base lost contact with the pilot at approximately 8 p.m…

While the aircraft has not yet been found, search teams are working under the assumption that the aircraft crashed in the Adriatic.

The F-16 was reportedly working with a four-ship in poor weather night conditions, and made a radio call about a problem before losing contact.

Our prayers are with the pilot and family.


C-17 Landing at Wrong Airport Blamed on Fatigue

Update: The Stars and Stripes reports on the corrective actions put in place to prevent future aircraft from misidentifying the runways.

The Tampa Tribune obtained the report of last July’s “unscheduled landing” of a C-17 at Peter O. Knight airport in Florida — when it was supposed to land at MacDill Air Force Base a few miles away.

The crew of a military cargo jet landed at the wrong airport in Tampa in July, in part, because of fatigue, complacency and a lack of flight discipline, an Air Force investigation has found.

Fortunately, the crew realized their error and were able to Read more

National Guard F-16 Crashes in California

Multiple news outlets reported a California Air National F-16 crashed in the California desert on Friday.

No details were given, except that it was a medium altitude emergency and the pilot safely ejected.

The F-16 military jet went down in Owens Valley in Inyo County. The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft.

Pilots at the 144th Fighter Wing are on what’s called a “safety stand down” day, meaning all flights are grounded as part of standard procedure following a crash.

As is standard procedure, the Air Force will investigate the mishap and report it some months from now.

Air Force Welfare Inspection Nets USO Photos, Bible

The AF.mil article announcing the Air Force “health and welfare” inspections has become a repository for interesting stories about how inspections are being conducted locally.  Two interesting replies:

12/7/2012 8:13:40 AM ET
We had a team of inspectors come through my workcenter yesterday. They took down all of our photos of aircraft with nose art because someone might be offended. They also made me take down a USO photo of the dallas cowboy cheerleaders that was signed thanking my shop for our service…

mitch, sheppard

Targeting nose art is an interesting choice, given the Air Force itself displays traditional “pin up” nose art the National Museum of the Air Force.  For the time being, the Wright Patt base commander, Col Cassie Barlow, has Read more

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