November 25, 2015 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A USAF F-16 crashed while on a training mission in New Mexico, but the pilot managed to safely eject from the aircraft.
Luke AFB has been making room for F-35s and shifted many F-16s to Holloman.
The F-16 went down today around 08.45h near Salinas Peak, which is 45 miles northwest of Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Emergency response teams found the pilot in good condition.
The name of the pilot wasn’t immediately released. An Air Force team will investigate the cause of the crash.
Salinas Peak which is the highest point of the San Andres Mountains is a part of the White Sands Missile Range which is an active military training airspace.
The pilot was assigned to the 314th Fighter Squadron while the F-16 was part of the 54th Fighter Group
which is located at Holloman but is under operational control of the 56th Fighter Wing commander at Luke AFB
, Arizona. The group is supposed to be responsible for as much as 45 percent of F-16 training for the entire Department of Defense. Current numbers state they train an average of 180 students per year, averaging more than 10,800 sorties and 14,600 hours per fiscal year
Luke AFB has been making room for F-35 jets and shifted many F-16s to Holloman for training missions.
On June 26, 2013, an instructor pilot and a student pilot from Luke AFB safely ejected
from a two-seat F-16 after a bird strike. The jet flew unmanned in a 9-mile circle northwest of Luke when it eventually lost altitude and cratered into a dirt field just outside the base.