Air Force to Ground Planes for One-Day Safety Review

During the review, commander-led forums will gather feedback from airmen who perform the Air Force's flying operations and challenge them to identify problems that may cause a future accident.

After a series of aviation accidents and fatalities, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein has directed all Air Force wing units with flying and maintenance functions to ground aircraft for one day to conduct a one-day operational safety review. The deadline for the review is May 21.

"I am directing this operational safety review to allow our commanders to assess and discuss the safety of our operations and to gather feedback from our airmen who are doing the mission every day," Goldfein said.

During the review, commander-led forums will gather feedback from airmen who perform the Air Force's flying operations and challenge them to identify problems that may cause a future accident.

An investigation by Military Times found that fatal military aviation accidents across all the services are at a six-year high. Twelve fatal accidents have resulted in the deaths of 35 military pilots and crew since Oct. 1, 2017.  

The Air Force said safety statistics over the past decade show that Air Force Class A and B aviation accidents have trended downward but acknowledged that the manned aviation mishap rate has increased since the beginning of fiscal year 2018, including a WC-130 Hercules crash May 2.

"We cannot afford to lose a single airman or weapons system due to a mishap that could have been prevented," Goldfein said. "Our men and women have volunteered to give their last full measure for America's security. My intent is to have commanders lead focused forums with their airmen to help identify gaps and seams that exist or are developing, which could lead to future mishaps or unsafe conditions."

During a briefing with reporters Tuesday, Air Force Chief of Safety Maj. Gen. John Rauch said the Air Force would share its operational safety review with other services but that the final report would not be released publicly.

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