Crashed F-5s were sound mechanically

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Crashed F-5s were sound mechanically

The South Korean Air Force has concluded that mechanical problems did not cause the crash of two of its F-5 fighter jets that took the lives of three pilots last week.

“As a result of examining the wreckage of the two crashed jets and their communication records, we have confirmed that there was no mechanical problem,” said a South Korean Air Force officer who asked not to be identified. “We concluded that the engines of the jets at the time of the crash were operating properly.”

The officer added that after the crash the Air Force checked its F-5 jets and other aircraft to see if anything was wrong with their engines.

The Air Force is still investigating the cause of the crash. Investigators are mainly focusing on two possibilities - pilot error and a midair collision.

Since no mechanical problems were spotted after safety checkups of all F-5 aircraft nationwide, the officer said flight of those jets is scheduled to resume on Monday. Except for F-5 jets, the South’s Air Force allowed other types of fighter jets to conduct patrol missions in order to maintain combat readiness against possible military provocations from North Korea.

A one-seat F-5E and a two-seat F-5F crashed into a mountain some 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) west of the city of Gangneung, Gangwon, on March 2.

The F-5F was following the F-5E, which was controlled by Capt. Euh Min-hyuk. First Lt. Choi Bo-ram was in the front seat and Lt. Col. Oh Chung-hyun was at the back of the F-5F.

The air operation was a training exercise for Choi, a beginner pilot.

By Lee Min-yong []

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