Navy Report: Pilot Error Caused Fatal Crash

Lt. Nathan H. Williams
Lt. Nathan H. Williams

OSWEGO, NY – After nearly a year, US Navy investigators have determined the crash that killed an Oswego High School grad and another naval officer was the result of pilot error.

The crash occurred just after noon (Pacific Coast Time) on April 6, 2011.

The pilot, Lt. Matthew I. Lowe, 33, of Florida, and the weapons officer, Lt. Nathan H. Williams, 28, of Oswego, had just taken off in a F/A-18F Super Hornet for a training flight from the Lemoore Naval Air Station.

According to the report, Lowe and Williams didn’t properly follow the instructions for performing a “load roll” maneuver.

The report concludes the jet attempted the loaded roll maneuver moving at too fast and too steep an angle.

According to a report in the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register, “The mishap was caused by the aircrew’s failure to execute the maneuver in accordance with the prescribed airspeed and [angle of attack] parameters” for doing a loaded roll, states the three-page summary issued Dec. 6, 2011, by Vice Adm. Allen Myers, commander of Naval Air Forces Pacific.

It goes on to say that Williams managed to eject, but was too close to the ground for his parachute to deploy and save his life.

Navy investigators also concluded that Lowe attempted to eject after his weapons officer did, but the process had barely begun when the plane hit the ground; both men died instantly, the Times-Delta/Advance-Register reported.