Terrible news about the mishap off Miramar today. Three people dead, one missing, a neighborhood aflame. It’s bad enough to stack every chip you’ve ever earned and every fact you’ve ever learned on a bet and lose your own life. Far worse to walk away and leave a hole in your wake. It’s every pilot’s nightmare, one of those things you don’t admit even to yourself.
I’d hate to have to live with that.
Easy to second guess, knowing next to nothing about what happen but what the gross physical evidence reveals: A last minute ejection, a (relatively) small hole in the ground – a high speed crash would have been flatter and taken out many more houses while leaving fewer recognizable bits – and a mishap site west of a runway that lands to the west. People will wonder – they’re wondering already – why the mishap pilot didn’t take his crippled jet into NAS North Island, with an overwater approach. The Tomcat guys used to brief that sort of thing all of the time, although they also had a distressing tendency to fall out of the sky in larger numbers.
What we don’t know could fill volumes: What was his experience level, what did he know of his problems, what direction did he receive from higher authority? How quickly did chaos come from carefully structured order?
Can’t know. It’ll all come out, and we’ll all learn from it, but those people will be no less dead.
Probably not a good time to contemplate the wisdom of building up housing communities underneath the lateral limits of a master tactical jet base. There will be time for all that later, maybe.
It just sucks, is all.
All the way around.