Navy: Training jet flew too low, for thrills, before crash

Source: MGN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The U.S. Navy is citing pilot error for a military training jet crash in Tennessee that killed the two aboard, saying it was being flown for thrills and too low.

Navy officials say in a report the T-45C Goshawk was flying below allowable altitudes in October 2017 when it plunged into woods near Tellico Plains.

The crash killed 31-year-old instructor Lt. Patrick Ruth from Metairie, La., and 25-year-old student pilot Lt. j.g. Wallace Burch from Horn Lake, Miss. Both were stationed at Naval Air Station Meridian.

The instructor and student pilot were assigned to the Eagles of VT-7.
Ruth had been in the Navy for nine years and was a member of VT-7 since 2015. Burch had been in the Navy for nearly three years and was a member of VT-7 since 2016.

The report cites a "culture" within the individual training unit and Naval air training at large that allowed pilots to fly "beyond the bounds" of approved Naval Air Training Command curriculum. It also says leadership failed to ensure training operations adhered to approved publications.

Lieutenant Patrick L. Ruth, 31, of Metairie, La. (Source: NAS Meridian)
Lieutenant Junior Grade Wallace E. Burch, 25, of Horn Lake, Miss. (Source: NAS Meridian)