AT-3 fleet back in service after recent deadly crash
The Air Force Academy’s AT-3 trainers have been put back into service, just over a week after they were grounded following a deadly crash of one of the aircraft, the Air Force confirmed Thursday.
The Air Force said it has completed comprehensive safety checks on its AT-3 fleet and flight training would resume soon.
The AT-3 trainers were put back into service Wednesday, after a crash on Sept. 22 in which the two pilots on the aircraft died, the Air Force confirmed.
The fleet was grounded and all training suspended after air traffic controllers lost contact with one of the planes, which was on a routine training flight in central Taiwan on Sept. 22. Four days later, the plane and the bodies of the two pilots were found in the mountain forests of Hualien County in eastern Taiwan.
Maj. Wang Ching-chun ( 32, and Lt. Huang Chun-jung (
), 23, died in a frontal impact crash at high speed, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office said, citing the coroner’s report.
According to the military, the
), AT-3 took off from an air force base in the southern city of Kaohsiung at around 11:55 a.m. on Sept. 22 and lost contact with air traffic controllers 30 minutes later.
The plane, which had been in service for about 27 years, disappeared off radar screens in the skies over Nantou County in central Taiwan, the military said.
According to a post on the Air Force’s Facebook page, Air Force Commander Gen. Shen Yi-ming ( ) was overseeing the safety checks on AT-3s at the Air Force Academy in the southern city of Kaohsiung. He also asked the academy to complete the investigation into the crash as soon as possible, the post said.
It was the second time within a year that the Air Force grounded its AT-3 fleet.
The last deadly accident involving an AT-3 occurred last October, when Col. Chuang Pei-yuan ( ) was killed after his aircraft collided with another AT-3 trainer during a routine aerobatic training mission and crashed in a field in Kaohsiung’s Zihguan District, and the AT-3 fleet was grounded for safety checks.