The instructing pilot, Lt. Ruth, 31, was hellbent on teaching his advanced flight student Lt. Burch, 25, the old maxim, "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots..." At T-minus 35 seconds, Ruth deviated from the flight path and commenced a descending turn to demonstrate terrain-following techniques. He then returned the aircraft to Burch and instructed him to make a hard right turn.
But the plane was too slow and too low. In response to the irregular maneuvers the T-45C Goshawk training aircraft stalled above the rising terrain. Too low. Too slow. Too late. Unable to eject safely, both lieutenants earn entry into the Double Darwin Awards archives.
According to USNI Aviation News, "The Navy determined that aggressive and unsafe behaviors by an Instructor Pilot and Student Naval Aviator led to the T-45C Goshawk crash."
The pilots were steeped in an aggressive ONAV top-gun culture. Heeding the warning of the daredevils' deadly antics, "The naval aviation training community took the crash investigation process as an opportunity to rededicate itself to the culture of safety and strict adherence to standards."
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