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Thursday, March 3, 2011

French Air Force Mirage 2000 N Crashes

A Mirage 2000 N from French Air Force base 116 at Luxeuil-les-Bains crashed on Tuesday night during a very low altitude night training flight. The remains of the aircraft, together with some human remains, were found on Wednesday morning at Saint-Oradoux-près Croq at an altitude of around 800 meters in the central mountainous region of France.
The Mirage had disappeared from radar screens Tuesday night above the Creuse region. A government official said the pilots had given no sign of life since the crash and said the 25 meter diameter crater caused by the crash which had rapidly filled with water from a nearby pond was being pumped out in order to reach the aircraft. A French air force spokesmen said weather conditions were “extremely poor” due to “very thick fog” and this was hindering the search.
The human remains found near the site were undergoing genetic analysis at the gendarmerie's forensic lab to compare them with the DNA of the two 30-year old crew members.
The aircraft belonged to the Lafayette 2/4 squadron and took off at 20:20 Tuesday for a training flight which was a “traditional mission ... with nothing unusual,” according to the Luxeuil air force base. The pilot had 1,000 flight hours and the navigator 900, the air force said, adding that the aircraft disappeared from radar screens just one hour after take off. Its companion aircraft flying a parallel route 4 kms away could not see it.
When pilots eject, a distress signal is automatically emitted. “But we received no such signal,” Colonel William Kurtz an air force spokesman, told AFP, who added that “the pilots did not have time to launch a mayday nor to signal that anything was wrong. For this type of training mission it is usual to keep almost total radio silence.”

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