Tag Archives: f-16

Air Force May Mothball F-16s if A-10 Stays

The US Air Force will reportedly ship perfectly good F-16s to the desert — and potentially slow down the F-35 program — if it is forced to keep the A-10 beyond the date it wants it retired:

The House Armed Services Committee inserted $683 million into the 2016 defense bill to stop the Air Force from retiring the A-10 Warthog.

However, Air Force leaders said the service will have to mothball F-16s and delay the deployment of the F-35 in response to the move by the committee.

The HASC logic basically says the Air Force needs the A-10 right now, as Continue reading

F-16 Crash Blamed on Pilot Error

F-16 Missing Wing

Last October’s midair collision between two Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16s was blamed on pilot error:

The pilots…were flying in formation, conducting tricky combat maneuvers, with a third F-16 role playing as an attacking enemy. The two pilots lost sight of each other before their right wings collided 16 seconds later in clear skies.

The instructor lost control and ejected; the student returned Continue reading

USAF F-16 Pilot Killed in Crash in Middle East

The Air Force announced Tuesday that Capt William DuBois was killed when his F-16 crashed “in the Middle East” in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.  Officially, the crash was declared not combat related and was said not to have occurred in Iraq or Syria.  CNN reported it occurred in Jordan.

As with all such incidents, the Air Force will investigate the cause.  The crash follows another recent fatal crash out of Tyndall AFB just last month.

Also at FoxNews and AF.mil.

F-16 Crashes in Gulf, Pilot Killed

An F-16 pilot from Tyndall AFB was killed last Thursday morning when his jet crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.

The pilot was civilian Matthew LaCourse, a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel and 1978 US Air Force Academy graduate. LaCourse was a part of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, which is the unit fielding the pilotless QF-16s as full-scale drones.  He had previously topped 2,000 hours in the F-4/QF-4, which preceded the QF-16.

As with all mishaps, the Air Force will investigate and report on the incident.

LaCourse’s death serves as a regrettable reminder of the danger of the pilot profession.

Also at the Stars and Stripes (and previous reports), FoxNews (previous), and the Air Force Times.

F-16s Collide, One Pilot Ejects over Kansas

The Air Force reported that two Oklahoma National Guard F-16s collided during training yesterday. One pilot ejected safely; the other returned to base.

Two Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16 fighter jets flying a training exercise out of Tulsa collided in midair over southern Kansas, causing one of the pilots to eject from the aircraft.

Oklahoma National Guard spokesman Col. Max Moss says neither pilot was seriously injured in the collision Monday afternoon southwest of Howard, Kan.

The pilot who ejected was taken to a hospital but not believed to have serious injuries. As with all mishaps, the Air Force will investigate and report on the incident some months from now.

Also at the Air Force Times.

Fighter Pilot Col Stephen Williams to be New USAFA Commandant

Col Williams, left, and his wife at the Misawa 2014 National Day of Prayer.

The Air Force Academy announced Col Stephen Williams has been selected for promotion to Brigadier General and for the position of Commandant of the US Air Force Academy.

A 1989 Academy graduate, he was the top engineering mechanics graduate here….

According to his official biography, Williams attended pilot training after leaving the Academy and was a distinguished graduate at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz.

Col Williams is an F-16 pilot by trade and is currently the Wing Commander of the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Also at the local Colorado Springs Gazette.

Air Force Urgently Replacing Ejection Seat Beacons

On February 5th, the Air Force Times reported the US Air Force has experienced a spate of problems with the emergency locator beacons intended to help rescuers find downed airmen [emphasis added]:

The Air Force spent $30 million for 17,000 of the beacons in 2009, with deliveries finalized in 2010. Two years after the first beacons were installed, crash investigators began noticing that they had not worked in multiple crashes. In fact, the beacons failed 10 times in 22 ejections, according to a review of crash reports since the beacons were installed.

The situation is so serious that one unit in Italy made a point of flying with their personal cell phones.

The article notes the incident that may have caused the greatest injection of urgency was the loss of an F-16C over the Pacific in 2012:  Continue reading

Lockheed Still Building F-16s, 40 Years On

In 2012, Lockheed Martin delivered the last F-22 off its assembly line, a mere 9 years after the first delivery of a production F-22 in 2003. The original F-22 buy plan had been 750 aircraft. The number eventually dwindled to less than 200 — with each reduction resulting in per-unit increase in cost.

By contrast, the first F-16 was delivered to the Air Force in 1979 (after the first test flight in 1974). As noted in a local paper (and repeated at the Stars and Stripes), Lockheed (who bought General Dynamics) is still churning out the F-16 after more than 4,500 have been delivered worldwide.

It is worth remembering that while technology Continue reading

F-16 Crash Caused by Lack of Sleep

The Air Force has released a report indicating the August midair collision of two F-16s off the coast of Virginia was caused by one of the pilot’s poor sleep habits:

The accident investigation report by Air Combat Command says the pilot had trouble balancing his Air National Guard and civilian careers and only had about four hours of sleep each night in the 48 hours prior to the August collision. The pilot needed Continue reading

Two Investigations Blame Pilot Error for Fatal Crashes

The Air Force released two investigation reports blaming pilots for two separate F-16 crashes this year.

In the first, Capt Lucas Gruenther was killed when he ejected from his F-16 during a night training sortie over the Adriatic Sea.  The Air Force said:

The board president, Brig. Gen. Derek P. Rydholm, found clear and convincing evidence that the pilot Continue reading

Report: F-16 Pilot Flew into Afghan Mountain

The Air Force Times reports on the Air Force investigation that determined Capt James Steel was flying visually when he impacted a mountain during his recovery to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in April of this year:

The report released by Air Combat Command officials at Langley Air Force Base, Va., says 29-year-old Capt. James Michael Steel crashed April 3 about 12 miles outside Bagram Air Field…

The report says Steel flew into a mountainous area obscured by poor weather conditions and that he did not attempt to eject before slamming into the mountain. The report says Steel was flying below the minimum safe altitude at the time of the crash.

Lieutenants Get First Flights in F-22 Raptor

Some time ago the Air Force began giving pilot training graduates an assignment to the F-22 directly out of UPT.  Previously, pilots had to be trained in another fighter — F-15, F-16 — first, then take the F-22 as a future assignment. The F-22 was always intended to be a traditional “pipeline” fighter, however, so it was only a matter of time before the first F-22 Lt took to the air.

After three years of rigorous U.S. Air Force pilot training, 25-year-old 1st Lt. Andrew Van Timmeren, 7th Fighter Squadron pilot, finally Continue reading

F-16s Collide, One Pilot Ejects

Two US Air National Guard F-16s collided over the ocean near the coast of Virginia. One pilot ejected, the other recovered his aircraft:

Two Air National Guard fighter jets collided midair, forcing one of the pilots to eject into the sea and be rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter a few hours later off the Virginia coast, officials said Friday.

The other pilot involved in the collision was able to fly back to Joint Base Andrews, Md. Both jets were from the 113th Wing D.C. Air National Guard and were on a routine training mission

The Coast Guard took the unusual step of posting a video of the at-sea rescue on the internet:

The Air Force will investigate the incident and report on its findings some months from now.

Also at the Stars and Stripes.

T-38 Crashes in Texas, Crew Ejects

The two-man crew of a T-38C at Sheppard AFB ejected with minor injuries on Friday. As with the prior F-16 mishap a few weeks ago, there are already reports that the jet was downed by a birdstrike.  One of the pilots reportedly descended through the fireball.

The Air Force took the unusual approach of rapidly identifying the crew:

Maj. Christopher Thompson was instructing a member of the German Air Force, identified…as 1st Lt. Julius Dressbach.

As with all mishaps, the Air Force will investigate and report on its outcome.  Until then, a video of the wreckage has already made the internet.

The Easy Thing for the Air Force not always the Right Thing

LtGen Craig Franklin is the 3rd Air Force Commander and the convening authority for the court martial of LtCol James Wilkerson, the Aviano F-16 pilot who was convicted of sexual assault at court-martial.

LtGen Franklin vacated the ruling and dismissed the case, a move that has been strongly criticized.

A few have missed the fact that Gen Franklin had to make either an affirmative or negative decision on the recommendation of the court-martial — there was no neutral position.  He chose not to approve the ruling, as was his authority, and he explained Continue reading