F-16 Aircraft Database

Airframe Details for F-16 #78-0048

F-16 Aircraft Profile

Aircraft: : 78-0048
LM Aero T/V 61-44
Plant General Dynamics
Local C/N
Delivered USAF 78048
F-16A Block 5
Current USAF 78048
F-16A Block 5
Status [w/o]
Fiend - Oct 18, 2004 - 08:02 PM - I was the pilot in this mishap. I was the flight lead for a two-ship on a cross-country flight. Our first stop was Nellis AFB to deliver spare parts to another one of our Wing's squadrons that was TDY to Nellis at the time of the mishap. 78-048 landed first. The aircraft was on a normal landing approach. On touchdown the main landing gear collapsed. The cause that was later determined was a failure in the landing gear control box that allowed the landing gear to cycle to the up position due to a momentary interruption of electrical power. Since I was flying with a centerline fuel tank, when the gear retracted it seemed to be a very slight settling of the aircraft, more like a tire failure. I had landed with minimum spacing behind an F-5, so I decided to go around in full afterburner to get the airplane airborne in order to determine which tire had blown and to ensure the runway was set up for me to land with the blown tire. In actuality I was sliding on the centerline tank, which shortly exploded, sending the steel cap from the fuel tank through the back end of the airplane, tearing up fuel and hydraulic lines, also starting a fire. I managed to get the aircraft airborne again (thank you, Pratt & Whitney!). I climbed to approximately 1,500 feet, apparently trailing flames, banked the aircraft left towards the desert, leveled out and ejected. As an additional note: The Thunderbirds, who were flying the T-38s at the time, were practicing on Monday, Jan 18, 1982, when the four-ship crashed at Indian Springs, killing all four pilots. The Thunderbirds did not fly again until they returned about a year later flying the F-16.

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Aircraft History

Date Status Local S/N Airforce/Unit Version Name Info
30 Jan 1980 [act] 78048 F-16A Block 5
01 Feb 1980 [act] 78048 USAF 16 TFTS 'HL' F-16A Block 5
Aug 1981 [act] 78048 USAF 4 TFS 'HL' F-16A Block 5
15 Jan 1982 [msh] 78048 USAF 4 TFS 'HL' F-16A Block 5
Impacted the ground east of the Nellis AFB, Nevada. The F-16 was part of a two-ship and both were coming from Hill AFB to bring spare parts. The unit was on a TDY to Nellis at the time of the mishap. 78-0048 landed first and the aircraft was on a normal landing approach. On touchdown the main landing gear collapsed. This was supposed to be impossible but it happened. Probable cause was that the gear was not fully down. The centerline fuel tank exploded on contact with the runway. The pilot selected full afterburner and managed to get the aircraft airborne again. The pilots logic would be that the entire ramp at Nellis was packed with aircraft and that he didn't want his disabled aircraft to slide off the runway and cause a major accident. The pilot climbed to approximately 500 feet, trailing about a 100 feet of flames, banked the aircraft left towards the desert, leveled out and ejected. There was a cheer from everyone who witnessed the accident when the pilots' chute opened. As an additional note: The Thunderbirds had been practicing just moments before the accident. Every practice is videotaped. They missed capturing the entire event on film by just a few moments. Also as a bit of irony: the spare parts were being carried by the aircraft that crashed.
15 Jan 1982 [w/o] 78048 USAF 4 TFS 'HL' F-16A Block 5

Crew Chief Comments

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MSgt. Bob Taycher

Crew Chief Profile
4th Fighter Squadron "Fightin' Fuujins" , 1981 - 1982
TDY to Nellis and 048 was slated as a spare, last minute replacement. We were all at the red line watching the jets come in and we all watched as 048 settled down with no gear on centerline tank, then watch as she got airborne again turned towards Sunrise Mountain next we saw a chute and watched as she nosed into the ground what a way to start a TDY

Abbreviations and symbols:
[act] Active [i/a] Instructional Airframe [sto] Stored (e.g. at AMARG)
[cld] Cancelled Order [msh] Involved in Mishap [w/o] Write-off
[con] Converted [o/o] On Order
[des] Destroyed (drone) [pre] Preserved (museum, gateguard) T/V LM Aero Type/Version (Construction) number
[emb] Embargoed [scr] Scrapped Photo Available

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