F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Luke F-16 jettisons fuel tanks, lands safely

October 18, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The pilot of an F-16 jet that took off from Luke Air Force Base was forced to drop two external fuel tanks during an in-flight emergency Tuesday morning.

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USAF F-16C block 42 #88-0508 from the 63rd FS is landing on runway 21L at Luke AFB on July 28th, 2006. [Photo by Robin Guess]

The pilot was beginning a training exercise at around 11 o'clock when an emergency was declared after takeoff.

The two external fuel tanks landed in an open field near the Loop 303 and Indian School Road. The tanks burst when they hit the field, leaving gallons of fuel in the dirt.

The 18¼ -foot-long fuel tanks are 26½ inches in diameter and have an empty weight of 443 pounds. Each tank is capable of holding 370 gallons of fuel.

The pilot was able to land the F-16 safely back at Luke Air Force Base. An investigation is just beginning to determine what caused the emergency.

Earlier this year, on April 11th, an F-16C from Luke crashed in that exact same area in the Northwest Valley.