Via Mudville Gazette I am led to The Donovan and thus to this:
Even in peacetime conditions, F-102 pilots risked their lives on every flight. Only highly-qualified pilot candidates were accepted for Delta Dagger training because it was such a challenging aircraft to fly and left little room for mistakes. According to the Air Force Safety Center, the lifetime Class A accident rate for the F-102 was 13.69 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours, much higher than the average for today’s combat aircraft.
For example, the F-16 has an accident rate of 4.14, the F-15 is at 2.47, the F-117 at 4.07, the S-3 at 2.6, and the F-18 at 4.9. Even the Marine Corps’ AV-8B, regarded as the most dangerous aircraft in US service today, has a lifetime accident rate of only 11.44 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours. The F-102 claimed the lives of many pilots, including a number stationed at Ellington during Bush’s tenure. Of the 875 F-102A production models that entered service, 259 were lost in accidents that killed 70 Air Force and ANG pilots.
Now, doing some very preliminary calculations, total US deaths in Vietnam were of the order of 50,000 out of a total of 2.6 million who served, or roughly 2%.
OK, how many pilots were trained to fly the F-102? 875 planes entered service, and from other figures in the same article we can see it was two years of training and three years of flying for a five year enlistment period (that’s assuming that everyone did the minimum Air National Guard sign up, not career military. No draftees were ever taught to fly.).
OK, and the plane was around from 1956 to 1974. OK, that’s an 18 year period and three years active service each pilot gives us 5,250 pilots trained on that bird. (This is a very rough figure. Very rough indeed.
Anyone who wants to help please do so. I’m assuming only one pilot per bird at a time, which may or may not be true.
I’m also assuming all birds in service for the entire span which is absurdly untrue, but one will underestimate the number of pilots, the other will overestimate. If anyone actually knows the exact number trained to fly the F-102 let me know and I can change the calculation.)
So, 5,250 pilots and 70 deaths means a death rate of: 1.3%.
Jeez. The lousy damn coward. He went and hid in a unit, one which had active service members actually in Vietnam, one where the death rate in training and peacetime from accident alone was damn nearly the same as active service in Vietnam for all troops.
Allyn: Would you like me to show you a picture of the cockpit of the plane he flew?]]>