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Taiwan attributes majority of its military aircraft crashes to pilot error

A majority of the military aircraft crashes that have taken place in Taiwan in recent years were the result of pilot error, Taiwan’s state-owned Central News Agency (CNA) quoted Vice Defence Minister Chang Che-ping as saying.

The collected data points to pilot error rather than mechanical problems in 65% of such crashes in Taiwan, Chang was quoted as saying in parliament on 29 March: seven days after two Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) F-5E Tiger II single-seat fighter aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision off Taiwan’s southeastern coast that resulted in one of the pilots being killed and the other being declared missing. The incident took place after the RoCAF resumed F-5 flights in mid-November 2020, following a fatal crash of another F-5E into the sea on 29 October.

Chang’s comments were made in response to investigative findings presented by independent lawmaker Freddy Lim showing that pilot error was determined to be the cause of 38 of the 52 F-5 crashes that have taken place since the type entered RoCAF service in the mid-1970s, according to the CNA.

”Mechanical malfunctions could occur, and the weather could change any minute above ground, but it’s up to the pilot to fly the aircraft back to safety,” said Chang, who pointed to “some issues pertaining to cultural traditions in Taiwan, which may have contributed to the high incidence of pilot error and death in military plane crashes in Taiwan”, according to the CNA.

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