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[News conference after A-7D crash. (Spc. Joseph B. Garrison, US Army)]

Aircraft Losses

Maj. Bruce L. Teargarden (USAF)
Bandit #222 (Jan 22, 1987)
October 20, 1987
A-7D #69-6207
Nine people killed on the ground
Cause: Engine failure

[Unknown Bandit with a 4450th TG A-7D during the 'black' years.()]
On the morning of October 20, 1987 (less than a week after Maj. Stewart's crash) an A-7D being flown by Maj. Bruce L. Teargarden lost power as he attempted to make an emergency landing at Indianapolis Airport, Indiana. (NOTE: Picture above is NOT that of Teargarden or this specific aircraft) The flight was enroute from Pittsburgh IAP to Nellis and had a flameout just after Teagarden crossed the Indiana border. He was at FL320 when he lost power. He managed to glide about 30 miles to Indianapolis IAP, made a descent through weather conditions included a low 800 ft overcast, and below that, about a 4-5 mile visibility in fog. Apparently the civilian controller in the tower was the one in error. The civilian made him increase his sink rate real sharply to give him maximum runway. The pilot argued, but the controller insisted. After the controller had overcorrected the A-7D it was going to land 50 yards short of the overrun of the runway. When this became apparent the controller he told him to "go around again" - (This was heard on the tapes in the accounts). Finally, the controller figured out that a flameout in a single engine jet means that you are "flying a glider with really low performance" to put it bluntly. Having only limited control of the airplane at this point Teagarden opted to eject.

The pilotless A-7 continued on and smashed into the main lobby of a Ramada Inn, killing nine people. Although Maj. Teargarden's affiliation with the 4450th TG was released to the press, the USAF succeeded in keeping the unit out of the media' eye by, among other things, not sending the group's commander, Col. Michael Short, to a hastily called press conference in Indianapolis. Instead, the commander of the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing at Nellis AFB, Brig. Gen. Joel T. Hall, was sent to field reporter's questions, implying that Teargarden was not engaged in other-than-routine activities Teargarden was found to be blameless in the tragedy because of the controller's actions. The cause of the crash was a defective gear in the accessory gearbox. It sheared causing the driveshaft to rip open the lube oil system and the engine then seized up soon afterward.

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