Warplanes: April 15, 2001

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Seven F-117 stealth aircraft have been lost. The most public loss was the one shot down over Serbia in March, 1999. The first was lost in 1982, when flight control equipment was installed incorrectly. In 1986 one was lost due to pilot fatigue. Another was lost in 1987 for the same reason. Electronics overheated and failed, causing another F-117 to crash in 1992. Pilot fatigue caused another crash in 1995. One aircraft crashed at an air show because several bolts were missing and a wing came off. The three aircraft lost due to pilot fatigue all resulted in pilot deaths. In the remaining crashes, the pilots survived. The F-117 has a heavy workload for the single pilot, especially since it operates mainly at night and the pilot has to handle navigation, in flight refueling and precision bombing all by himself. Past experience with all weather bombers should have suggested that the F-117 be a two seat aircraft, but that would have reduced it's bombload. 

 


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