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From: (Stephen M. Ryan)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Shootdown of mis-identified Iraqi Hinds
Date: 3 Feb 1997 14:37:39 GMT

On Sun, 2 Feb 1997 wrote:
> I am wondering why the USAF relived so many peolpe in the chain of command of
> the unit that was flying the CT-43.  They relieved even to the General 
> Officer level.  I will get details and post it to you.

I think the Blackhawk shootdown had a definite effect on the handling of
the Ron Brown incident.  "Accountability" became the buzzword of the day,
and Gen Fogleman was determined to show the public and Congress that the
USAF did not sweep things under the rug.

There was good cause for firing the top of the chain of command in this
case, though.  There was a specific USAF regulation (now called an "Air
Force Instruction", or AFI) that dealt with former Warsaw Pact airfields.
Specifically, they were not to be flown into without DoD approach plates
or DoD approved commercial plates (e.g, Jeppsen) unless in VFR conditions.  

However, because of the delay in getting these approaches approved (which
involved getting a survey team to measure the necessary elevations and
approach angles, etc.) the USAF--Europe commanders had basically decided
to ignore the AFI and fly into Dubrovnik with unapproved commercial
approach plates.  It turns out that the Jeppsen approach plate for
Dubrovnik was inaccurate, and was a major cause of the accident.

The "minimum descent altitude" (MDA) was about 1000' to low for the
approach.  When the crew missed the first approach, they climbed to the
MDA to try again, and impacted the mountaintop at that altitude.  The MDA
is supposed to keep the aircraft well clear of terrain for several miles
around the airport. If the airport had been surveyed by DoD, this would
have been corrected on the approach plate, and the accident would not have

There were plenty of mistakes made by the crew, but none of them would
have been fatal if the MDA was correctly published, because they did at
least fly the published altitude for the approach.  

Hope this helps.

Steve Ryan

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