All military aircraft, except F-5 jets, would resume operations before Thursday, after being grounded in the wake of a fatal crash last week, air force Chief of Staff Huang Chih-wei (黃志偉) said yesterday.
Yesterday and today, the air force’s combat, surveillance and transport aircraft would be resuming flights, including F-16s, Mirage 2000-5s, Indigenous Defense Fighter jets, C-130H Hercules aircraft and P-3C Orions, Huang said at a press event in Taipei.
According to the Ministry of National Defense, all military aircraft have been grounded for safety checks, except those on guard or combat readiness missions, after two F-5E jets on Monday last week collided mid-air during a training mission off the coast of Pingtung County.
Photo: Tu Chu-min, Taipei Times
F-5 jets would remain grounded until Tuesday or Wednesday next week, pending safety checks, and pilot training and psychological counseling, Huang said.
Taiwan’s fleet of 43 F-5s comprises single-seat F-5Es and twin-seat F-5Fs.
Huang said that the search is still on for Captain Pan Ying-chun (潘穎諄), one of the pilots involved in the collision.
Pan is believed to have ejected from his aircraft, as did Lieutenant Lo Shang-hua (羅尚樺), who was flying the other plane and was found at sea on the day of the crash, but was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.
A search and rescue team of 300 people has found some personal gear and aircraft debris, Huang added.
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