F-16 Fighting Falcon News

ANG F-16 pilot broke rules when he buzzed downtown

February 25, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The pilot of an Ohio Air National Guard F-16 with then-Lt. Gov. Bruce Johnson in the backseat broke several FAA regulations in his high-speed tour of Columbus, Ohio, last summer.

USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0268 from the 162nd FS is buzzing by the camera after take-off. [Photo by Jake Melampy]

The Viper driver buzzed the city at speeds as high as 500 knots and altitudes as low as 2,100 feet last Aug. 17. FAA regulations restrict speed in that area to 250 knots and, according to the agency's report on the flight, the pilot did not have clearance to fly below 10,000 feet.

That, says the FAA, means the pilot violated a regulation banning careless or reckless flying. But the report will likely be the end of the matter. The Federal Aviation Administration's agency has no jurisdiction to discipline a military pilot so it turned its report over to the military.

Col. Mike Roberts, vice commander of the Guard's 178 th Fighter Wing based in Springfield, where the flight started, said he had not seen the report. He said the pilot was disciplined based on the fighter wing's own investigation.

Roberts would not describe the discipline, saying it was an internal matter but according to him, the pilot inadvertently went faster than FAA regulations allows.

The FAA started the investigation because it had received "a couple" of complaints. The F-16 flight rattled workers for only a few seconds when it went Downtown.

The investigation into whether the jet flew too low or too fast took 174 days.


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Additional images:

USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0271 of the 162nd FS carrying nose art "Wanted". Note the bullet painted on the RWR bulge. [Photo by adamgh81]

USAF F-16C block 30 #86-0364 from the 162nd FS is seen on a training mission, armed with AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, flying over Savannah, Georgia on January 14th, 2003. [USAF photo by SSgt Jeffrey Allen]

USAF F-16C block 30 #86-0315 from 162 FS (Ohio ANG) based at Springfield AB, seen taking some gas in May of 2004. [USAF photo]