August 30, 2001 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Investigators have determined engine failure led to an F-16 crash on the Melrose Bombing Range in New Mexico March 21. The aircraft (#87-0330), assigned to the 27th Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., was destroyed. The pilot experienced minor injuries after ejecting from the aircraft.
According to Air Combat Command?s Accident Investigation Report released today, there was clear and convincing evidence complete failure of the number three main thrust bearing led ultimately to engine failure.
Investigators also found two substantial factors that directly contributed to the accident. First, a crew chief failed to perform a proper pre-flight maintenance inspection. Second, maintenance personnel failed to identify a contaminated pump filter in the aircraft engine oil system.
The accident occurred during a four-ship, low-altitude, intercept-training sortie.