Mid-flight noncombat mishaps and blunders occur frequently in the USAF during training and utility flights—sometimes with the loss of life and regularly with the destruction of expensive aircraft. In one extreme case, a $2.2 billion B-2 Spirit bomber crashed soon after takeoff and was destroyed.
The events surrounding such accidents are gathered by USAF investigators and a report is published for each case. The author has collected these reports, including some made available following FOI (Freedom of Information) requests to U.S. air bases, and rewritten them in language accessible to the general public.
The causes—bird-strikes, joy-riding, unauthorized maneuvers, pilot disorientation, an unseen binoculars-case blocking the plane’s joystick, unexpected moisture in an air-pressure gauge—are often surprising and, at times, horrifying.