November 24, 2005 (by MKopack) - A fuel leak and subsequent aircraft fire led an F-16 to depart the prepared runway surface and crash while landing at Lamar Airport, Colo., June 28 according to an Air Force report released Nov. 22.
The pilot ejected from the aircraft and sustained minor injuries. No private property was destroyed and the airport sustained minor damage.
The $19 million aircraft, assigned to the Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Wing at Buckley AFB
, Colo., was destroyed when it departed the runway.
According to the Accident Investigation Board report, the fuel leak was caused by an improperly installed engine augmenter fan manifold. This manifold supplies fuel to the rear section of the engine when the afterburner mode is selected.
The subsequent fire damaged the aircraft's engine nozzle, speedbrakes and flight controls, and rendered one of the channels of the left brake inoperative. The pilot flew a simulated flameout approach into the airport, but the inoperative left brake induced an uncontrollable drift to the right during landing. When the pilot realized he could not prevent the aircraft from departing the prepared runway, he successfully ejected.
The investigation determined there is substantial evidence that the failure to troubleshoot the damaged aircraft systems and the inadvertent movement of the brake channel switch contributed to the pilot's inability to stop the aircraft on the runway.