Remembering 5371

Photos by MJ Klein

I was exactly one year ago today that I took this famous photograph:

The Final Seconds of 5371:2

I think it’s safe for me to say that I do not accept the results of the official investigation: “pilot error.” In every photograph where the position of the rudder is able to be determined, it is in the same position: “left.”

The Final Seconds of 5371:11

Even in this smaller size, the rudder is very clearly in the left position in this photograph. The problem is, the base where they needed to get to is to the right. The next few photographs also confirm that the rudder did not move. The very last few photographs in the series show the same rudder position.

The Final Seconds of 5371:12

This shot, taken next in series from the one above shows the left rudder and right ailerons. Ask your pilot friends about this combination of control positions and see what they have to say. Clearly the pilot was trying to bring the right wingtip down and he couldn’t do it because the rudder is jammed left and he lost power.

Draw your own conclusions, but personally I still feel sad and angry about this situation, even after a year has passed. I love the house we live in but every time I’m up on the roof I see those artifacts and think about the 2 heros….

5371 Photo Set

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  2. MJ

    I think it’s easier to say pilot error then mechanical failure. A mechanical failure could be bad for morale for the other flight crews who could be second guessing their equipment and ground crews.

    Speaking of anniversaries, I think I started reading your blog around the same time you posted the flight 5371 story.

    owshawngs last blog post..Mother’s Day with CMIL

    1. owshawng » the whole week, the press kept referring to the F5-F as “aging” and inferred that the accident was caused by its age. it almost seems that the official findings in this case were designed to specifically counter those charges.

    1. naruwan » yes, it really has. amazing how time files, but also amazing is what gets ignored. someone writes a commentary on an impotent political slogan and has 7 television stations interviewing them about it. someone else is the sole eyewitness to a tragic military jet crash and gets a local newspaper interview. emphasis on the unimportant i would say.

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