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Newspaper: Pilot’s Need To Urinate Caused Air Force Fighter Crash

October 28, 1993

BONN, Germany (AP) _ A pilot’s urgent need to urinate while flying his F-16C fighter jet caused the aircraft to crash and cost the U.S. Air Force $18 million, a newspaper reported today.

The warjet went down on Sept. 8, 1992, in Turkey. The pilot, Lt. Col. Don Snelgrove, safely ejected.

Snelgrove lost control of the fighter jet while attempting to urinate into a ″piddle-pack,″ said the Stars and Stripes, the unofficial newspaper of the U.S. military.

A ″piddle-pack″ is a deyhdrated sponge in a plastic container.

According to the newspaper, Snelgrove and another jet took off from the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey and were supposed to fly to the northwestern corner of Iraq to patrol the no-fly zone there.

Snelgrove had to urinate badly, so that’s when the calamity began.

According to the newspaper, Snelgrove set the aircraft on automatic pilot and undid his lap belt.

The belt’s buckle got wedged between the ejection seat and the side-stick controller, which is used to turn the aircraft, the newspaper said.

Snelgrove adjusted the seat upward, sending the side-stick controller to the right and the jet out of control, the newspaper said.

The jet fell into a spin and plunged 33,000 feet to about 2,000 feet as Snelgrove sought futilely to regain control. He finally had to eject.

The Stars and Stripes said it got its information from an official U.S. Air Force report on the accident.

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