Did deferred maintenance cause RAF crash?
A British surveillance plane that exploded in Afghanistan was sent on a mission even though it was known to have fuel leaks, The Times of London reported.
The crash killed the 14 men onboard the plane.
The newspaper said documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show there had been recurring problems with fuel leaks on Nimrod planes, especially the one that crashed. But the Royal Air Force was suffering from budget cuts while trying to operate in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Operational tempo is driving everything and safety is very much lower in the order of priority," a recently retired pilot told the Times. "The modern RAF lacks the money, aircraft and manpower to do the job and is forced to operate planes way past their sell-by date."
The plane that crashed was sent from RAF Kinloss to the Middle East with maintenance on some of its leaks deferred. It flew 15 missions and then, on the 16th mission -- Sept. 2, 2006 -- it blew up shortly after the pilot reported a fire onboard. // Copyright 2007 by United Press International