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RoKAF F-16C crashes but pilot ejects to safety

January 27, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - At around 09.50h today, a South Korean F-16C crashed during a training mission right after it took off at Chung Ju AB, ROK. Its pilot (Maj. Kim, 35yr) ejected safely and is only slightly injured.

RoKAF F-16C block 52 #93-076 & #93-079 are flying a training mission with two other vipers. [RoKAF photo]

The 19th TFW jet (#85-1576) was engulfed in flames immediately after its take-off, and crashed near the base's fence, the Air Force stated.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Air Force grounded all fighter jets pending the probe, but allowed transport and support planes to continue their flight missions.

When the Republic of Korea signed a letter of agreement in December 1981, for the purchase of 36 F-16C/D Block 32s, it became the first foreign operator of that model of the Fighting Falcon. Later on, the RoKAF acquired another 144 F-16s.

Since its actual introduction in 1986, a few ROKAF F-16s have crashed already. According to our sources, an F-16C impacted the mountains at night near Chungwon, Korea on 08 April 1993, killing the pilot. In June 2001 an engine stall caused an F-16D to crash at Andong. Both pilots escaped. Fire broke out in an F-16D on 26 Feb 2002 after takeoff from Sosan AB. The pilot ejected safely and the aircraft came down in a rice patty. Then on 18 Sep 2002 an F-16D crashed at Nakdong firing range, near Sangju because of an engine stall but luckily both pilots managed to escape.

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