Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dutch F-16 pilot, Captain Michael Donkervoort

Dutch Air Force F-16 pilot, Captain Michael Donkervoort, was killed on 31 August 2006 in a mysterious crash over mountainous terrain in Afghanistan.

He had taken off from Kabul International Airport as the leader of a formation of two. After join-up and climbout, the two jets headed southwest toward their intended mission area, cruising at Flight Level 320 (32,000 ft above sea level) and a relatively slow speed of 280 kts.

About four minutes after crossing the path of a commercial airliner (that was flying 1,000 ft higher than the two fighters) the pilot of the lead F-16, Captain Michael Donkervoort, suddenly made a mayday call.

His wingman, flying approximately 2 nmi away in line-abreast formation, saw Donkervoort's F-16 pitch down while starting a continuous right roll. Without any further communication from its pilot, the jet impacted the 10,000-ft high mountains 30 seconds later, in a near vertical attitude (80 degrees nose down and 120 degrees right bank) at very high speed (approximately Mach 1.2). Capt. Donkervoort was killed instantly.