AT-3 fleet back in ser­vice af­ter re­cent deadly crash

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

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