June 14, 2003 (by Lieven Dewitte) - An F-16 (#85-1445) crashed at 09.30h at the Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, about five miles south of Gila Bend. This is the second such crash in three days involving an F-16 from Luke Air Force Base.
The pilot, Capt. Scott Arbogast, ejected safely and was being examined by medical officials. Arbogast is an instructor pilot with the 61st Fighter Squadron and has logged more than 1,100 hours in F-16s. He was was carrying 20mm rounds and military ordnance.
Military officials are investigating the cause of the crash in the Barry M. Goldwater Range, a military training area.
The crash was the second this week involving an F-16 from Luke. On Tuesday, a jet fighter crashed while training on the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, about 15 miles south of Gila Bend. Capt. David O'Malley of the 310th Fighter Squadron ejected safely.
Col. Phillip Breedlove, Luke commander, would not speculate on the cause of either crash or whether the two incidents were related. Flights are on hold temporarily.
The F-16 fleet is expected to be flying by Monday, as long as the interim safety board examining Friday's crash site does not discover a fleetwide problem.
Neither pilot has previously been involved in a crash, and he emphasized his relief that both were safe.
The other F-16 crashed Tuesday evening while training in southern Arizona. The pilot also ejected safely.