The pilot in the F/A-18 crash that killed four family members in a San Diego neighborhood has been cleared to resume flying, the Marine Corps said today.
Lt. Dan Neubauer has been put on "probationary status" and will resume training. The decision was made by Lt. Gen. George Trautman III, deputy commandant for aviation, after a review of the details of the Dec. 8 crash by senior officers.
Neubauer was close to finishing his training and being assigned to a deploying squadron when he crashed while attempting an emergency landing at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. He bailed out just seconds before the plane smashed into homes in the University City neighborhood.
An investigation into the crash by the Marine Corps blamed poor maintenance and a series of errors by the pilot and officers on the ground. The investigation said Neubauer should have landed at Naval Air Station North Island instead of attempting a landing at Miramar, which is 11 miles away.
Four squadron officers were relieved of duty and eight other Marines and a sailor were reprimanded. Neubauer was grounded after the crash. The investigation faulted him for not being more forceful in describing the aircraft's power loss and not insisting on landing at North Island.
In resuming training, he will probably be required to duplicate parts of the regimen that he had already completed. The crash occurred minutes after Neubauer took off from the carrier Abraham Lincoln.
An investigation said that Neubauer "screamed in horror" when he saw that his plane had destroyed two homes and damaged two others.
Photo: Marine Lt. Dan Neubauer after bailing out seconds before the crash. Credit: Associated Press / courtesy of Dawn Lyons
Photos: F/A-18 crashes in San Diego