F-16 Fighting Falcon News

F-16 pilot dies in Florida crash

June 30, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - An Air Force F-16 crashed Thursday during a low-level training mission in a remote area of Florida, killing the pilot.

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The single-seat jet went down about 150 miles north of Miami shortly before noon. The F-16, part of the 93rd Fighter Squadron, was one of four planes on at raining mission from Homestead Air Reserve Base, 30 miles southwest of Miami.

The crash happened in a remote section of northern Okeechobee County, makingit difficult for rescuers to reach the scene. The dead pilot was identified as Air Force Reserve Maj. Samuel D'Angelo III, an American Airlines pilot and a 19-year military veteran who had recently flown a mission over northern Iraq's "no-fly" zone. D'Angelo, a resident of Key Largo, was a flight commander assigned to the93rd Fighter Squadron.

The training mission had the pilots simulating a bombing run. D'Angelo had been performing maneuvers that required the plane to dip so low it was almost touching the ground, said Richard Cordones, spokesman for the Homestead reserveunit. Cordones said he didn't know whether D'Angelo tried to eject before the plane crashed.