Capt. Amy Lynn Svoboda (1968-1997)Pilot : A-10. First female USAF fighter pilot to die in a crash
Capt. Amy Lynn Svoboda http://www.aerotechnews.com
"...Capt. Amy Lynn Svoboda graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1989 before going to undergraduate pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas. Following pilot training, she remained at Reese AFB as an instructor pilot in the T-37 trainer aircraft.
In the spring of 1996, she went to Davis-Montham AFB for A-10 training. One of 14 female pilots in the Air Force, Svoboda was chief of training for the 355th Wing's 354th Fighter Squadron. She is the first female Air Force fighter pilot to die in a crash...."
Ex-Reese pilot killed in crash over Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - An Air Force fighter pilot with more than 1,400 jet flying hours, most of which were earned at Reese Air Force Base, was killed Wednesday when her attack jet crashed at a desert training range in southwestern Arizona.
Capt. Amy Lynn Svoboda, chief of A-10 training for her squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, was one of just 14 women flying fighter jets for the Air Force. She was flying an A-10 Thunderbolt attack jet.
The plane went down Tuesday night on the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range in southwestern Arizona.
Svoboda's family said the Air Force confirmed Wednesday that she was killed. It was the Air Force's first deadly crash involving a female pilot, Pentagon spokesman Lou Timmons said.
Svoboda, 29, of Glen Ellyn, Ill., was about two hours into a training flight with another A-10 Thunderbolt when her plane went down near the town of Gila Bend, about 100 miles northwest of Tucson and 50 miles southwest of Phoenix, said Capt. Andy White, a base spokesman.
There was no sign that she ejected, and rescue crews weren't immediately able to search the wreckage because the plane was carrying live ammunition and rockets, Timmons said. A team trained to handle explosives waited until daylight.
Svoboda was one of six women flying the A-10 and 14 women overall flying fighters for the Air Force, Timmons said. Women joined the fighter pilot ranks in 1993. The first was Lt. Jeannie Flynn, now a captain at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.
Svoboda was stationed at Reese for 6 years, from October 1989 to March 1996, said Reese public affairs officer Lt. Chris Breighner. She entered pilot training at Reese as soon as she graduated from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1989.
After graduating from pilot training at Reese in the fall of 1990, she stayed on as a T-37 instructor pilot in the 35th Flying Training Squadron, Breighner said.
Svoboda then worked as a T-37 controller in the Runway Supervisory Unit, beginning in August 1993. Her next assignment was executive officer for Reese's 64th Operations Group in June 1995.
She then went to Davis-Monthan for A-10 training in April 1996 and was a member of the 354th Fighter Squadron of the 355th Air Wing.
The Goldwater range covers 2.7 million acres near Gila Bend. Pilots from every branch of the military have used the range since 1941 to hone their bombing, shooting and dogfighting skills.
It was the second crash involving an A-10 from Davis-Monthan in as many months. On April 2, an A-10 Thunderbolt flown by Capt. Craig Button vanished after it broke off from a training mission.
A-10 crash was pilot error, investigation reveals
by Leona C. Bull, staff writer
The Air Force's Air Combat Command has released the official accident investigation report, on the May 27th crash of an A-10 jet on the Barry Goldwater range complex, near Gila Bend, Ariz.. Capt. Amy L. Svoboda, a 29 year old U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, died in the crash.
The Air Force report released last week, states that pilot error caused the crash, but that the darkness of the moon less night contributed to the catastrophe. Svoboda's A-10 was part of a two ship night surface attack training mission. Both pilots were using night vision goggles, while making bombing runs against range targets. The investigation also concluded, that "night vision goggles she wore reduce a pilot's peripheral vision and depth perception," although, other pilots have reported not having any troubles with the night vision goggles.
The two A-10 aircraft were supported on the mission by an A-10 forward air controller aircraft and an A-10 forward air controller instructor aircraft. During the training mission, the pilot flying the forward air control aircraft saw another A-10 below him at an altitude between 3,000 and 4,000 feet above ground level. The forward air control pilot observed Svoboda's aircraft in a right bank and in a 15 degree nose low attitude. According to the planned mission profile, this was at a time when Svoboda's aircraft should have been at an altitude between 7,000 and 8,000 feet above ground level, flying straight and level, or climbing.
In response, the forward air control pilot made a radio call for the pilot of the aircraft to "check dive angle." Svoboda responded by rolling further right to a nearly inverted position. Col. Harlan Mickelson of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's 12th Air Force headquarters said, "I am certain that Amy thought she was right-side up, because we found the engines at almost full power." Unaware of her true position, the report concludes that the pilot mistakenly pulled back on the stick to initiate what she thought would be a climb, this put her in an inverted dive, from which she could not recover.
Mickelson, who headed the investigative board, said Svoboda reported seeing four bomb impacts, meaning she would have had to twist around to see outside the right rear of her plane. "She should have been concentrating on her flight instrument panel," he said.
The A-10 was carrying practice weapons for the mission. The armaments included six BDU (bomb dummy unit) 33s-25 pound training bombs that emit smoke and a small flash for accuracy evaluation. the training bombs have the same ballistic characteristics as larger live ordnance.
The plane carried six 2.75 inch air to ground rockets. Pilots of the A-10, use these to mark targets or suppress enemy fire. The plane was also carrying 570 rounds of 30mm practice rounds for the gatling gun, and a practice AIM-9 (with out a live motor) air to air missile.
The accident investigation teams analysis included a study of the aircraft's engines, flight controls, egress and life support systems, instruments, oxygen system, hydraulic fluids and other aircraft systems, plus an examination of the aircraft's maintenance records. The maintenance and material analysis led the team to rule out mechanical failure.
Svoboda graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1989 before going to undergraduate pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas. Following pilot training, she remained at Reese AFB as an instructor pilot in the T-37 trainer aircraft. In the spring of 1996, she went to Davis-Montham AFB for A-10 training. One of 14 female pilots in the Air Force, Svoboda was chief of training for the 355th Wing's 354th Fighter Squadron. She is the first female Air Force fighter pilot to die in a crash.
Col. John D.W. Corely 355th Wing Commander said, "The A-10 is a close air support aircraft. It flies a very dangerous and demanding mission profile in order to support and defend American allied troops. This mission calls for only the very best of aviators and very bravest of warriors. Captain Svoboda exceeded both of these requirements. Every time she and her fellow A-10 pilots strap on a helmet and fire up their engines, they put themselves in harm's way, so that others might live.
May 27, tragically, harm got the best of the battle. A terrible accident ended her heroic young life, but thank's to Amy's selfless courageous service and of others who share her calling, he cause shall live on forever."