For the first time in its history, the Air Force prosecuted mechanics for negligent homicide in the death of a pilot. The mechanics mistakenly had reversed the flight control rods on an F-15 during a routine maintenance procedure. No one caught the mistake. The plane crashed on take off and the pilot was killed. But there was a serious question of whether the mechanics were being made scapegoats. For a decade, the Air Force had been aware of other instances of crossed flight control rods but failed to follow a recommendation from safety experts to make a simple fix that would render the mistake impossible.