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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — The Air Force cited pilot error in the release of a training flare from a F-15C fighter jet over Kadena Air Base on Thursday.

The flares are to be used over ocean training areas only.

The incident occurred about 2:40 p.m. while the Kadena-based plane was returning from a routine training mission, according to an 18th Wing news release.

“The flare — a small, inert training device — disintegrated in the air over Kadena Air Base,” the release stated. “The aircraft was flying over the base preparing to land. At no time was there any danger to community residents or property.”

The flares routinely are used in over-water training areas. Pilots are required to follow strict written procedures for deactivating the flare system before leaving those areas.

“This flare separation was caused solely by pilot error and not related to safe F-15 performance,” the base release stated. “The pilot did not follow proper disarming procedures” before leaving the training area. “While transitioning to land, the pilot mistakenly released the flare.”

The Air Force did not release the pilot’s name.

Brig. Gen. Harold Moulton, 18th Wing commander, immediately directed all flying squadron commanders to ensure pilots review and comply with mandatory in-flight safety procedures.


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