The reason for the failure of a GE F110 engine high-pressure turbine (HPT) seal was discovered in 1994. The seal failures had been linked to four F-16 crashes and the stand-down of over 500 F110 engines. The original HPT seal in new production engines had been modified starting in 1989, following the crash of a GE F101-powered B-1B bomber (the F101 and the F110 use the same core). The modifications resulted in the altered seals not making full contract around the shaft, stressing...
A Venezuelan air force F-16A ingested a bird while on approach to Barcelona on Sept. 27, 2002, causing it to crash. The pilot ejected safely.
On June 30, 2005, the Air Force reported on the crash of an F-16D short of the runway at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., on March 18 of that year. According to the Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board, a pilot had a large metal briefcase strapped in the unoccupied rear cockpit seat. The item shifted during takeoff and the briefcase jammed against the throttle in the full afterburner position. Preparing for a straight-in flameout approach, the engine stalled short of the runway, forcing the pilot to eject. The pilot, assigned to Nellis' 57th Wing, sustained minor scratches on landing, but the aircraft was destroyed.
Two Greek air force F-16s, one single-seat and one two-seat aircraft, collided during an exercise off the coast of Crete in the southern Mediterranean on Aug. 26, 2010. The crew of the two-seat F-16 ejected safely and was rescued by a fishing boat near the resort of Ierapetra. The pilot of the single-seat jet was killed. Both aircraft were participating in air combat drills with four other fighters, reported Agence France-Presse.
On Oct. 18, 2010, a Thai air force F-16A crashed in the northern Tak province during a training pilot. The pilot was killed. Witnesses said the jet caught fire before it went down. The aircraft was flying with three other fighters at the time. Senior Thai air force officials noted that there was poor visibility at the time.
An Israeli F-16I fighter crashed in the Negev desert on Nov. 10, 2010. The two-seat aircraft was leading a four-jet training exercise when it suddenly plummeted to the ground, reported Haaretz (Israel). There was no warning of any problems prior to the crash, officials said. Both crewmembers were killed. The Israeli air force temporarily suspended training exercises involving F-16Is after the crash. The grounding was lifted on Nov. 14, 2010, after it was determined that the cause of the crash was human error and not a technical problem, reported the Jerusalem Post.
A U.S. Air Force F-16 crashed near Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, during a routine training mission on March 21, 2012. The pilot, assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron, ejected safely. The aircraft went down in a rice field. Air Force Times reported on Aug. 17, 2012, that improper guidance to maintainers was the root cause of the engine failure that caused the F-16CM to crash. An incorrectly installed stator blade sector, which caused problems with engine pressure, led engine compressor blades to break and the engine to fail, according to the results of an Air Force investigation.
On May 4, 2012, a U.S. Air Force F-16C crashed at the Utah Test and Training Range during a close air support exercise. The pilot ejected safely. The aircraft was working with ground forces when it went down, officials said. An Air Force investigation report, released on Sept. 6, 2012, determined that a manufacturing error and oversight during installation inspection caused the crash. A fan blade in the engine came loose and damaged other parts of the engine causing it to fail. The blade was faulty when installed in 2004 and eight years of operation caused it to break free, the report said. The anomaly should have been discovered in a visual inspection of the engine during installation, according to the investigation.
A U.S. Air Force F-16 crashed off the coast of northeastern Japan on July 22, 2012. The aircraft was flying from Misawa Air Base to Alaska when it crashed. The pilot ejected safely and was picked up by the Japanese coast guard and placed on a U.S. container ship in the region. An investigation found that the crash was caused by a valve that prevented fuel from reaching the engine. The F-16's main fuel shut-off valve was partially closed for more than three minutes and fully closed for three minutes. The investigation was not able to determine why the valve closed because critical components were not recovered from the ocean floor.
On Aug. 16, 2012, a Belgian F-16AM crashed during a training mission in northern Belgium. The fighter was operating from the Kleine-Brogel air base when it went down. The pilot ejected safely. An initial investigation indicated that the aircraft may have suffered a bird strike. The control tower noticed an engine fire as the jet was returning after a training mission.
An Israeli air force F-16C slid off the runway while landing at Ramit David air base in the Lower Galilee. The pilot was not injured, but the jet suffered structural damage.
A U.S. Air National Guard F-16C crashed in central California on Dec. 27, 2012. An investigation, the results of which were revealed in April 2013, indicated that the pilot failed to properly recover from a high-pitch, low-airspeed state, which caused an inverted deep stall. The pilot was complacent throughout the flight, pressed the fighter beyond reasonable limits and made procedural errors in the last few minutes of the flight that helped cause the crash, according to the report. The pilot ejected safely and was not injured.
On May 8, 2014, a Chilean air force F-16AM was involved in a landing accident at Antofagasta-Cerro Moreno International Airport. The pilot ejected safely.
A Turkish air force F-16 overturned after making a hard landing at an air base in the central Amasya province on June 3, 2014. The pilot was injured in the incident.
On Sept. 2, 2014, a Turkish air force F-16C crashed while landing at an air base in the southeastern Diyarbakir province. The aircraft's engine caught fire during landing, according to local officials. The pilot ejected safely.
A pair of Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16s collided during tactical maneuvers over Kansas on Oct. 20, 2014. One pilot ejected and suffered minor injuries. The other aircraft was not seriously damaged and was able to return safely to Tulsa, reported the Tulsa World. The downed F-16 crashed near Moline, Kan., without doing any property damage, noted the Wichita Eagle.
An F-16C assigned to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., crashed in the Gulf of Mexico on Nov. 6, 2014. The pilot was killed. The aircraft was part of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, which was being equipped with the uncrewed QF-16. The aircraft that crashed had not yet been converted. An investigation determined that the civilian pilot experienced spatial disorientation and a loss of visual contact with his formation's lead aircraft before crashing, according to an Air Force release on Sept. 8, 2015. The mishap took place during intercept training with another aircraft.
On Nov. 30, 2014, a U.S. Air Force F-16 crashed in Jordan. The pilot was killed in the non-combat related incident, according to the U.S. Central Command. The aircraft experienced a mechanical problem and the pilot was attempting to return to base when it crashed, reported Combat Aircraft for February 2015.
A Turkish F-16C went down near Konakli in northern Turkey on Dec. 1, 2014. The pilot ejected safely.
A Greek air force F-16D Block 52+ crashed in the Libyan Sea south of Crete during a training flight on Dec. 4, 2014. Both pilots ejected safely.
A Taiwanese student pilot was killed in an F-16 crash near Luke AFB on Jan. 21, 2016. The pilot was engaged in air-to-air combat training with an instructor when the fighter went down. The cause of the crash was under investigation. The crash was one of the few times that the U.S. government acknowledged the existence of a Taiwan fighter trainer program within the continental U.S., noted Defense News. Taiwan's 21st Tactical Fighter Squadron, "The Gamblers," has been training at Luke AFB since 1997. The unit consists of 14 F-16A/B Block 20 fighters.
An Egyptian F-16 went down during a military exercise in Egypt on Jan. 28, 2016. Two pilots were reportedly killed during the crash.
On March 29, 2016, a U.S. Air Force F-16CM crashed while taking off from Bagram air base in Afghanistan. The pilot ejected safely. Hostile fire was not a factor, according to the Air Force. An investigation found that the jet experienced an engine hardware malfunction, which led to the crash, according to an Air Combat Command release on Nov. 16, 2016. The failure of at least one turbine blade prevented the engine from providing the necessary thrust to maintain flight, which triggered an unrecoverable stall. Total loss to the U.S. government was estimated at US$29.07 million.
A South Korean F-16D crashed during a strike exercise in Cheongsong county in the North Gyeongsang province on March 30, 2016. Both pilots ejected safely. The aircraft experienced a sudden engine failure, according to the air force. The air force grounded its F-16 fleet following the crash. Flights were partly resumed on April 4, 2016. Around 130 KF-16s resumed their operations on that date. South Korea's U.S.-built F-16s remained grounded and would not return to the air until the air force completed its investigation into the crash, reported the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). The two models use different engines and the KF-16s completed a special engine checkup before being returned to flight.
An F-16 fighter, part of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team, crash-landed on June 2, 2016, after completing a performance during commencement at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The pilot ejected safely. The jet suffered an apparent engine failure before going down, according to Air Force Academy sources cited by the Colorado Springs Gazette. Immediately visible damage included the nose of the jet and a rear wing. A malfunction caused the crash, according to an Air Force investigation cited by the Air Force Times on Dec. 14, 2016. A throttle trigger malfunction and inadvertent throttle rotation resulted in the F-16CM losing thrust and crashing. The pilot "inadvertently rotated the throttle," which placed it into an engine cut-off position. Such a rotation normally cannot occur unless the throttle trigger is pressed. That trigger was stuck in the pressed position, said the report. The investigation found debris in the throttle trigger along with wear on the trigger assembly. The trigger remained stuck after being pressed. The jet lost thrust. The pilot attempted to restart the engine, but he was too low. The fighter was destroyed in the incident, the report said.
On June 7, 2016, two F-16 fighters assigned to the South Carolina Air National Guard collided during routine night-flying operations over Jefferson County, Ga. Both pilots ejected safely.
A U.S. Air Force F-16 crashed into a safety barrier at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., on Aug. 8, 2016. The jet, assigned to the 482nd Fighter Wing, hit the safety barrier because of "an aborted takeoff," said an Air Force release. The fighter was taking off for a routine training mission at the time. There were no injuries in the incident.
An Israeli air force F-16I crashed on Oct. 5, 2016, while returning to base after a strike mission in the Gaza Strip. The jet was landing at its home base, when the crew "felt the need to eject," said an Israeli military spokesman cited by Defense News. The pilot was killed in the ejection, while the navigator suffered light injuries. The air force did not plan to ground its F-16I fleet pending an investigation, the spokesman said, possibly indicating that human error was likely to blame. An imbalance due to carrying ordnance on one wing and not the other may have contributed to the crash, according to an Israeli expert cited by the Times of Israel. A preliminary report indicated that the crew responded appropriately to the emergency, the newspaper reported on Oct. 21, 2016. An investigation attributed the crash to an "asymmetric landing" in which the jet's weight was not evenly distributed, reported the Times of Israel on Feb. 16, 2017. The investigation found that the pilot and navigator followed the proper procedures during their attempted landing at Ramon Air Force Base, but "an inability to control the aircraft developed."
A Turkish air force F-16 crashed near the Diyarbakir airport in southeastern Turkey on Dec. 12, 2016. The fighter was returning after a training flight when it went down, said military sources cited by the Daily Sabah (Istanbul). The pilot ejected safely. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.
A Turkish air force F-16 crashed on March 22, 2018, in the central Nevsehir province during a training flight. The pilot was killed, reported the state Anadolu Agency. The cause of the crash was under investigation.
On April 4, 2018, an F-16 belonging to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team crashed at the Nevada Test and Training Range, reported the Air Force Times. The pilot was killed. The accident occurred during a routine training flight, the Air Force said. An investigation was launched.
A U.S. Air Force F-16C assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., crashed on April 24, 2018, while attempting to land at Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport in Arizona. During the landing, "the aircraft departed the prepared surface," said a release from Luke AFB. The pilot ejected and was in good condition. The pilot attempted an emergency landing after experiencing engine trouble, reported the Air Force Times. The jet was thought to be coming in too fast when landing and the pilot ejected on the ground, said an Air Force official. This is a common practice when landing with too much speed. Images from the crash site showed that the jet's nose and much of its cockpit broke off in the crash.
A Taiwanese air force F-16 went down shortly after taking off from Hualien Air Base for a training flight on June 4, 2018, reported the Central News Agency (Taiwan). The aircraft crashed in the mountains north of Taipei, killing the pilot. The cause of the crash was under investigation. Initial evidence suggested the cause was a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error, the air force said. The service temporarily grounded its F-16s following the incident.
A U.S. Air Force F-16CM crashed at Shaw AFB, S.C., on June 30, 2020. The aircraft was on a routine training mission when it went down, killing the pilot. Shaw AFB is home to three squadrons of F-16CM Block 50 jets, which specialize in the suppression/destruction of enemy air defenses mission, noted the War Zone website. The Aviationist blog said that two unverified sources said that the crash may have been caused by an issue with the landing gear that prevented them from extending for landing.
An Air Force F-16C fighter went down at Holloman AFB on July 13, 2020. The fighter crashed while landing, according to a release from the base. The pilot ejected safely and was treated for minor injuries, reported Defense News. The incident was under investigation.
On Nov. 17, 2020, a Taiwanese air force F-16 went down shortly after taking off for a night training mission. The jet disappeared from radar screens minutes after taking off from Hualien Airport on the island's east coast, reported Taiwan News. The aircraft was part of a three-ship formation. The air force grounded its F-16 fleet after the accident pending an investigation, reported Reuters. It was the second Taiwanese fighter crash in less than a month amid increasing missions to intercept Chinese aircraft.
A Wisconsin Air National Guard F-16 Block 30 fighter crashed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during a routine night training flight on Dec. 8, 2020. The pilot was killed in the crash. The fighter, assigned to the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., went down near Hiawatha National Forest, reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
An Air Force investigation, released on June 9, 2021, said that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation while flying at night, in poor weather and without working GPS, reports Air Force magazine. The pilot was part of a two-ship conducting a scramble flight using a backup instrument profile, using the jet's avionics during the night flight. Both pilots were wearing night-vision goggles during the mission. During the sortie, the pilot noticed that his GPS was degraded due to a loss of satellite-tracking data. He decided to perform an in-flight alignment of the F-16's inertial navigation system while troubleshooting the GPS issue. At the same time, the two fighters performed a lead swap, with the wingman taking point. After switching, the pilot continued to try to diagnose the navigation problems and then lost visual contact with the wingman. The two pilots established deconfliction “via vertical and horizontal means,” during which the pilot of the lost F-16 experienced spatial disorientation. His F-16 performed a series of heading, altitude and attitude changes. The nose dropped to 90 degrees low, at 135 degrees of right bank and at a speed of 600 knots “that terminated with controlled flight into terrain,” according to the investigation. The pilot did not try to eject. The fighter was completely destroyed.
The combination of night, weather conditions, the use of night-vision goggles, low illumination, the aircraft’s speed and position and the pilot’s breakdown in visual scan of the aircraft’s instrumentation impacted his “ability to recognize, confirm and recover from the unusual attitude created by the spatially disorienting event,” the report said. The pilot's fixation on the navigation issues and degraded GPS also contributed to the crash.
The Taiwanese air force grounded its F-16s after a recently upgraded F-16V went down off the west coast of Taiwan on Jan. 11, 2022, reported the Central News Agency (Taipei). All 140 of Taiwan's F-16s would undergo safety checks before being permitted to return to the air. The F-16V had disappeared from radar screens about 30 minutes after taking off from Chiayi air base in southern Taiwan for a routine training mission with other aircraft, officials said. The training took place over the Shueisi Bombing Range near the Aogu Wetland, reported the Taipei Times. The jet was seen diving into the ocean by a civilian onshore and another pilot after completing a series of simulated missile launches. There was no indication that the pilot had ejected and no emergency call was made, said the officials. The pilot was later declared dead. The fighter that crashed had about 3,400 flight hours, including 401 after it had been upgraded to the F-16V configuration. It had last completed a safety check in late December and had otherwise performed well during the six months after it completed its modernization, the officials said.
On Jan. 20, 2021, Taiwan's F-16 fleet resumed operations, reported the Central News Agency. The first mission involved four F-16Vs intercepting Chinese military aircraft that entered Taiwan's southwestern air defense identification zone.
A U.S. F-16 went down in western Louisiana, near the border with Texas south of Fort Polk, on March 23, 2022, reported the Air Force Times. The jet, assigned to the Oklahoma Air National Guard, was on a training flight in military airspace when it crashed. The pilot ejected safely. The F-16 was part of a Houston-based detachment of Oklahoma's 138th Fighter Wing, which manages aircraft at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base. Under the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the detachment defends U.S. airspace along the Gulf of Mexico and as far west as Arizona. The cause of the crash was under investigation.
A South Korean KF-16C fighter crashed in a mountainous area about 12 mi (20 km) west of an airbase in Wonju in northern South Korea on Nov. 20, 2022, reported the Yonhap news agency.The pilot ejected safely. An investigation made public on Dec. 30, 2022, attributed to the crash to a maintenance error. Maintenance personnel failed to lock a nut used to fix the drive shaft of the engine fuel pump during maintenance in 2010, officials said. The lack of the nut caused the abrasion of a cogwheel on the drive shaft, which blocked the normal transfer of fuel to the engine. Engine inspections were launched to determine if any other engines had the same problem. Those aircraft that had completed the inspection were scheduled to return to flight status on Jan. 2, 2023.
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