The Navy, Air Force And Army Collect Different Data On Aircraft Crashes. That's A Big Problem

Military Tech
A Wyoming Air National Guard MAFFS 3 air tanker lands at Hill Air Force Base Aug. 17, 2014, without their nose gear. There were no injuries to the crew and minimal damage to the $37 million aircraft.
U.S. Air Force photo

The Navy, Air Force, and Army all collect different information when they investigate why an aircraft crashes or has a problem, making it difficult for the Defense Department to compare trends as it works to improve safety and share lessons learned across the services, according to a Congressional watchdog report.

There have been a series of high-profile crashes in recent years, including fatal ones involving the Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbirds, and military officials are still grappling with oxygen deprivation problems among some aircraft. In March, a Virginia Beach-based F/A-18 Super Hornet crashed near Key West, killing both men aboard.

The Government Accountability Office found that the Norfolk-based Naval Safety Center, Army Combat Readiness Center and Air Force Safety Center don't collect standardized data as part of their investigations. The Naval Safety Center handles investigations for the Marines.

Specifically, the GAO analysis found that the safety centers didn't collect standardized data for between 10 and 17 of 35 agreed-upon data elements for investigations that were to be provided to the Defense Department, depending on the service. For example, the Naval Safety Center and Army Combat Readiness Center don't collect data about which geographic combatant command the mishap occurred in.

The GAO also found a lack of consensus between the safety centers and the Defense Department on reporting data on human factors that may have caused a crash.

"Further, DOD does not consistently collect and analyze relevant training data from all mishap investigations, such as information on the pilot's recent flying experience or training proficiency in the task or mission performed during the mishap," the report says. "Recent studies have suggested that training shortfalls are a potential indicator of trends in aviation mishaps."

The GAO said part of the problem stems from each service using data systems that evolved over time to meet the unique requirements of each military branch. Until each system is upgraded to allow for standardized data, the Defense Department must make time-consuming adjustments to align them that delays sharing critical information to decision makers about reducing risks.

The GAO recommended that the Defense Department ensure standardized data, and it concurred. The GAO also recommended that each military branch identify relevant training-related data to incorporate into future analyses. The Defense Department agreed to do so.


©2018 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

U.S. Army aviation officials have launched an effort to restore full air assault capability to the 101st Airborne Division — a capability the Screaming Eagles have been without since 2015.

Read More Show Less

The U.S. military's withdrawal from northeast Syria is looking more like Dunkirk every day.

On Wednesday, the U.S. military had to call in an airstrike on one of its own ammunition dumps in northern Syria because the cargo trucks required to safely remove the ammo are needed elsewhere to support the withdrawal, Task & Purpose has learned.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump belittled his former defense secretary, James Mattis, by characterizing him as the "world's most overrated general," according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday.

The account from numerous officials came during an afternoon closed door meeting with congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Wednesday. In the meeting, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly brought up dissenting views towards the president's decision to withdraw the vast majority of roughly 1,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria.

Read More Show Less

Retired two-star Navy. Adm. Joe Sestak is the highest ranking — and perhaps, least known — veteran who is trying to clinch the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

Sestak has decades of military experience, but he is not getting nearly as much media attention as fellow veterans Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Another veteran, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has dropped out of the race.

Read More Show Less

After preliminary fitness test scores leaked in September, many have voiced concerns about how women would fare in the new Army Combat Fitness Test.

The scores — which accounted for 11 of the 63 battalions that the ACFT was tested on last year — showed an overall failure rate of 84% for women, and a 70% pass rate for men.

But Army leaders aren't concerned about this in the slightest.

Read More Show Less