Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Spatial disorientation of the pilot was responsible for the June crash of an F-15C plane in England, a report on Monday by U.S. Air Forces in Europe said.
The tactical fighter plane crashed into the North Sea during a training exercise, near the Royal Air Force Lakenheath base, killing the pilot, 1st Lt. Kenneth Allen, and destroying the fighter plane assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron. Rescue teams quickly pulled Allen's body from the water.
"The cause of the mishap was the pilot's fixation on the intercept of the simulated adversary aircraft and failure to execute cockpit instrument visual scans when the pilot encountered Instrument Meteorological Conditions," the USAFE Accident Investigation Board said in its report, released on Monday.
"The inability of the pilot to accurately sense the pitch attitude of the aircraft due to spatial disorientation significantly contributed to the pilot's undesirable low pitch attitude, rapidly descending altitude, and the resulting mishap," the report added.
It also cited reduced visibility and the pilot's inability to identify a discernible horizon.
"The loss of an airman is never easy, and this aircraft accident was no exception," said Col. Jason Camilletti, commander of the 48th Fighter Wing.
"Our Liberty Wing community, especially the Reapers of the 493rd Fighter Squadron, was truly touched by the tremendous outpouring of support from families, friends and partners around the globe in our time of grieving," Camilletti said.
Acknowledging travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, USAFE participated in live streaming Allen's funeral in Utah on social media.