WAY, WAY OFF IN THE WILD BLUE YONDER

A CONFIDENTIAL REPORT DETAILS THE AIR FORCE'S CONTROVERSIAL RECORD IN FLIGHT SAFETY AND ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION

At about 2 p.m. on June 24, 1994, a B-52 bomber took off from Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State to practice air-show maneuvers. Barely 15 minutes later, while attempting to circle the runway's control tower in a steep turn, it crashed at 170 m.p.h., narrowly missing nuclear weapons bunkers and a crowded airmen's school. No one had wanted to fly with the pilot-Lieut. Colonel Arthur Holland, a 24-year veteran about to retire. Indeed, two of the three other officers killed with Holland were there because their subordinates feared flying with him.

Holland had a reputation as a "hot stick."...

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