November 15, 2007 (by Asif Shamim) - The US Air Force said bolts which were improperly installed caused the crash of an F-16 last January near Owens Lake in remote eastern California.
USAF F-16C block 25 #84-1279 from the 194th FS is flying over a California golf course with a full A/A complement. [USAF photo by Capt. Kirk Hawkins]
Crash Investigators have said a loose high-pressure fuel line on (#84-1279
) brought on "engine fuel starvation."
The pilot who at that time had logged 2,000 hours in fighter aircraft lost power during a training mission shortly after takeoff on January 19th. Investigators found the pilot tried in vain to restart the engine multiple times. When this failed, he opted to ejected over the Owens Valley, sustaining minor injuries. He was safely picked up by a SAR
team from China Lake Naval Air Station.
The vast and desolate Owens Lake area about 200 miles north of Los Angeles is a largely dry lakebed favored for military training runs.
Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board reported Thursday that bolts connecting a fuel line to the main fuel control unit "were not properly torqued after recent routine maintenance," causing the fuel line to become loose during flight.