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Military aviation mishaps and deaths are declining for the first time in years

The military services saw an overall decline in the total number of serious aviation mishaps and aviation-related fatalities in 2019, reversing a trend in recent years that saw record-high numbers of serious aviation mishaps and deaths in recent years.

Across the force, the total number of major mishaps — defined as those categorized as Class A though Class C, depending on the extent of damage or injury the individual mishaps caused — dropped slightly last year. The Pentagon reported 1,005 major mishaps in 2019, down from 1,036 in 2018, according to a Military Times analysis of Defense Department data.

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The Corps reopened an old aviation mishap investigation following deadly 2018 midair tanker collision

During the investigation of the deadly 2018 midair collision of a KC-130 and Hornet, the Corps discovered a strikingly similar mishap in 2016, which was improperly investigated.

The Corps decided to reopen the investigation into a midair collision between a KC-130 and F/A-18 that occurred on April 28, 2016, off the coast of Japan.

No one was killed in the 2016 incident, and both aircraft were able to land. But, a Hornet did impact and shear off the refueling hose and drogue of a KC-130J, damaging both aircraft during a night time low-light level refueling exercise.

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Is military aviation getting any safer? New mishap data shows mixed results.

Last spring Military Times reported that the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force?s aircraft were in deep trouble. Manned aviation accidents had spiked almost 40 percent over the past five years, killing 133 service members since 2013.

More catastrophic crashes followed and Congress got laser-focused on the problem. After multiple hearings, lawmakers injected $39.4 billion into this year?s budget ?to begin to overcome the crisis in military aviation by getting more aircraft in the air.? Capitol Hill also passed legislation creating a National Commission on Military Aviation Safety.

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