The Taiwanese air force has grounded all AT-3 aircraft and suspended their flight missions for the foreseeable future after a AT-3 training aircraft crashed Tuesay, Taipei Times reported.
Some officials called for cutting the number of aerial acrobatic shows, saying the AT-3 squadron and its aircraft may have been burdened by having to perform at too many events.
“A task force has been set up to investigate Tuesday’s crash, which killed the pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Chuang Pei-yuan,” Wang Hsuan-chou, director of the political warfare department at Air Force Command Headquarters was quoted as saying.
“We inspected the accident site today and found that Chuang did not eject from the plane. He was dislodged from the plane by the impact of the crash. His body was found about 20m away from the main fuselage,” Wang said.
Air force headquarters released a press statement on Tuesday afternoon, only hours after the crash, according to which Chuang “tried to parachute to safety before the plane crashed, but ejected at too low an altitude and his parachute never fully opened.”
Wang also announced that all AT-3 aircraft have been grounded, and all training sessions and flight missions for the Thunder Tiger Aerobatics Team suspended.
Air force officials said safety is the top priority and all operating aircraft at the two air bases on the east coast were taken in for inspection and maintenance checks after Tuesday’s crash, while night-time training runs have been cancelled.