Two F-15s make contact during training mission off Okinawa
Stars and Stripes October 6, 2004
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Two Air Force F-15 fighters glanced off each other Monday afternoon while flying over water approximately 125 miles off Okinawa’s southern coast
Both returned safely to Kadena Air Base.
The amount of damage, if any, to the F-15s was not immediately known Monday.
The two planes were on a “routine training mission,” according to a Kadena spokeswoman, when the “wingtip of one aircraft made contact with the vertical stabilizers of the second aircraft.”
No one was injured, the spokeswoman said.
The two planes belong to the 12th Fighter Squadron, whose home station is Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska.
The Elmendorf aircraft are operating on Okinawa temporarily to support Japan-U.S. security initiatives, the spokeswoman said.
Aircraft safety has been a hot topic on Okinawa since the crash of a Marine Corps CH-53 helicopter on Okinawa International University grounds Aug. 13.
Three crewmen were injured in the crash. No civilian injuries were reported.
The investigation into the Aug. 13 crash is continuing.
Preliminary reports indicated the mishap was caused by a missing retaining device in the tail rotor which led to loss of control of the aircraft.
Marine officials said the problem was isolated to the chopper that crashed.
Local officials subsequently asked that a planned Kadena appearance of the Air Force’s demonstration flight team, the Thunderbirds, be cancelled — a request the Air Force granted.
The two planes involved in Monday’s incident were able to avoid populated areas by “safely using an over-water approach to the base,” the Kadena news release stated.
The base spokeswoman said the 12th Fighter Squadron would “stand down” – not fly — on Tuesday but other base units would operate as normal.
The F-15 incident’s cause is under investigation, she said.