Gen. Larry Spencer (USAF, Ret.), president of the Air Force Association, discusses Rep. Adam Smith’s proposed commission on aircraft safety in the armed forces, and how the recent safety issues may lie in old aircraft platforms.
In the aftermath of last week’s deadly C-130 crash in Savannah, GA, some members of Congress are questioning the airworthiness of the Pentagon’s fleet of aircraft. While the Department of Defense says that the string of military aviation fatalities is not a crisis, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) believes it’s a problem that needs solving. To investigate the issue, Smith introduced a bill to form the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety, which has received support from HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX). “In the last ten years, there’s been 84 fatalities in aircraft accidents. That’s a problem.” Gen. Larry Spencer (USAF, Ret.), president of the Air Force Association. “If you put it into context… if you combine both unmanned and manned aircraft, the overall trend in mishaps is down. The challenge now is that since February or so, they have had 18 mishaps… so there’s concern there. The chief of staff, David Goldfein, independent of the proposed mark from the congressman, [issued] his directive to stand down, to get folks to just take a breather. ‘Let’s step back, take a look at where we are. Stop the train for a second and make sure that everyone is doing the right thing.’“