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F-16 uses arrestor hook at Tucson International Airport

June 1, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - An F-16 pilot of the Arizona Air National Guard ran into trouble while trying to take off at Tucson International Airport. The pilot had to abort his take off and as the F-16 continued down the runway the pilot dropped the hook, stopping the jet.

USAF F-16A block 5 #78-0044 of the 162nd FW parked on the concrete at Tuscon, Arizona. [Frank Ertl collection]

A Guard spokesman called it a mechanical malfunction but wouldn't give further details.

The pilot, who was unharmed, was able to stop his F-16C by dropping a hook that snagged on a cable stretched across the runway, similar to the braking system used on aircraft carriers.

The disabled jet blew a tire as it tried to stop, scattering debris that closed Tucson International to civilian flights.

Officials shut down two out of the three runways at TIA. They wanted to make sure there was no severe damage to the runways or any scattered debris from the blown tire that might cause problems for inbound aircraft. Several incoming commercial flights were delayed or diverted.

The pilot belongs to the 162nd Fighter Wing.

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