Air Force pilot killed by aircraft part that grounded almost 300 aircraft two years ago

An Air Force pilot instructor died last Tuesday morning during an accident at an Air Force base in Texas.

An Air Force pilot instructor died last Tuesday morning during an accident at an Air Force base in Texas.

Capt. John Robertson of the 80th Operations Support Squadron was in a T-6A Texan II aircraft at Sheppard Air Force Base when the aircraft’s ejection seat activated.

The Air Force said Robertson died from the injuries he suffered in the accident.

“This is a devastating loss for Captain Robertson’s family and loved ones, and for the entire 80th Flying Training Wing,” said Col. Mitchell J. Cok, the acting wing commander. “Captain Robertson was a highly valued Airman and instructor pilot. Our deepest condolences go with all who knew and loved him.”

Col. Cok thanked the Air Force support personnel for their swift response to the accident.

“We are thankful for the M1 maintenance team who immediately provided live-sustaining care, and for the heroic efforts of the security forces, fire and medical personnel here on base and at United Regional Hospital,” Cok said. “Their efforts allowed time for Captain Robertson’s family to be at his side when he passed.”

According to the USAF press release, an interim safety board investigation was convened immediately following the incident.

A full Air Force Safety Investigation Board is also scheduled to be conducted.

In 2022, the Air Force temporarily grounded nearly 300 trainer aircraft over concerns that their ejection seats may not fire correctly.

The ejection seats were potentially manufactured with flaws and required Air Force maintainers to inspect their cartridges to ensure they were functional.

Robertson is scheduled to be buried at the Air Force Academy cemetery on Friday and a memorial service will be held at Sheppard Air Force Base the following Tuesday.

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