HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Naval Air Forces commander has ordered all non-deployed Navy aviation units to suspend flight operations on Monday, June 13, following a string of recent crashes involving U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft. This applies to units based in Hawaii as well.
The one-day “safety pause” is being held in order to review risk-management practices and conduct training on threat and error-management processes.
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“We have a responsibility to prepare our people to go into harm’s way, and there is a degree of risk that come along with training for combat,” said Cmdr. Zach Harrell, spokesperson for Commander, Naval Air Forces. “We know that our people are our most valuable resource in all that we do, and we must to ensure that we are making our best effort to keep our people safe as we train and operate.”
Cmdr. Harrell told KHON2 that the fatal helicopter crash in February at the Pacific Range Missile Facility (PRMF) was not a factor in the decision to conduct a safety pause, as that aircraft was operated by a private corporation. Four people died in that incident.
A PMRF spokesperson said they do have three C-26 Metroliners assigned. These aircraft are leased to the Navy and flown by Navy personnel.
“PMRF will conduct an aviation pause on June 14, which will include assigned Navy personnel who fly the C-26 Metroliner,” said Thomas Clements, PMRF spokesperson.
Last week, five Marines were killed in an aircraft crash near Glamis in Imperial County, California. The victims were all assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group 39 and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. This incident is currently under investigation.
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Deployed units will also conduct a safety pause as soon as their operational schedule allows.