An investigation into a plane crash has been ongoing since a Marine pilot flying an FA-18C crashed just moments after takeoff in England.
US Marine Major Taj Sareen, 34, died just north of London, England when his plane downed in Cambridgeshire in October 2015.
The accident investigation report, seen by the BBC, showed evidence of a malfunctioning navigation system. The report also stated that Sareen did not report the issues to aircraft maintenance.
Before takeoff, Sareen had made comments to three individuals which “strongly suggest that the navigation system aboard his aircraft was not 100%” before his takeoff back to the States.
The report contributes the “stress from wanting to get home”, “stress of not wanting to be the reason for an additional delay”, and Maj Sareen’s “confidence to manage the problem after successfully flying the past two legs,” as the culminating from Sareen keeping the issue from maintenance staff.
“The better decision would have been to debrief Maintenance Control about the problem and let them troubleshoot the aircraft,” it states.
When asked at RAF Lakenheath if there were any issues with the plane, Sareen responded, “The inertial navigation system, but it is good,” The maintenance controller countered and stated, “Don’t worry about it, the jet is good,” according to the report.
Weather was also a contributing factor in the crash, where Sareen was forced to use his standby flight instruments.
“If the weather conditions had been clear,” the report’s author said, “I believe Maj Sareen would have been able to adequately deal with the system problems/failure modes of the INS (inertial navigation system) and would have been able to avoid impact into the ground.”
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