This email has been circulating since late 2007.  It is certainly an interesting set of pictures.  The truth is revealed at the bottom

-------Original Message-------
 Subject: F15 -- Ya got to see this

Is this is the result of an aging fleet or of the lack of qualified inspections??  Either way this is not good news for our pilots or our country
Look at these photos. Even more amazing, someone was taking photos while it happened!

  There I was just flying along, enjoying the flight...

And what's so cool is they actually pay me to do this!

Hmmm... What's that strange sound? Something feels different!

Hey, why am I looking up?


Whoa here. What the . .. . . ? Controls aren't working.

Time for a mirror check. ? Hey, where's the rest of my F-15?

Uh oh, it's over there. I think I've got a definite 'Aw, sh*t' going on here.

I gotta wonder, am I the first guy to ever experience 'cockpit-airframe separation anxiety?'

OK, enough is enough! I'm outta' here!  But first, the canopy has to go...

OK, now it's my turn. I'm gonna be gone - soon as I find that #@&%@?# lower handle.

Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about.


This 'incident' caused the USAF to ground its fleet of F-15's.

How about the guy who took these pictures? 

Just when it looks like it's going to be just another 'average day at the office'.  You never know!

What caused the mid air break up?  The main "longeron" (stringer) behind the cockpit failed due to corrosion.


Pretty amazing, but not true.  There was an F15C crash (Nov 2007) and some fraction of the USAFs F15s were grounded until the problem could be sorted out and fixed.  The newer F15Es were not involved in the grounding.  The pictures are from a computer graphics simulation developed during the crash study.  Click here to see the simulation video.

This is another example of how material on the web gets passed around and before you know it the story is not quite true.