August 9, 2006 (by AFPN) - A bearing assembly failure caused an F-16C to crash in an unpopulated dry area close to Carrington Island in the Great Salt Lake, Utah, during a training mission March 30, according to an Air Force report released Aug. 7.
Crash site in Tooele County, Salt Lake City, Utah. The crash debris was scattered over an area 150 yards wide and about a half-mile long.
The pilot ejected safely from the aircraft, sustaining minor scratches and bruises. The $28 million aircraft, assigned to Hill Air Force Base's 388th Fighter Wing, was destroyed on impact.
According to the Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report, the engine's No. 4 bearing assembly failure caused the aircraft to experience a compressor stall accompanied by vibrations and loss of thrust. The pilot restarted the engine but the bearing assembly failure reduced engine thrust to a point where the aircraft would not maintain level flight.
Because distance to the nearest recovery field was beyond the aircraft's glide capabilities, the pilot determined the aircraft was unrecoverable and safely ejected.