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Luke F-16 crashes - fourth USAF F-16 crash in four weeks

April 11, 2006 (by Stefaan Vanhastel) - An F-16C from Luke Air Force Base crashed today at 09.55h local time. The pilot safely ejected right after flames were seen at the rear end of the jet. This is the fourth USAF F-16 crash in as many weeks.

F-16C #83164, the F-16C that crashed today, seen here in better times

The F-16 (#83164) went down in the Northwest Valley, in a farm field near Loop 303 and Indian School Road. The accident occured shortly after the jet took off from Luke AFB for a two-ship training mission.

The F-16s departed through Luke's Southern Departure Corridor, the base's route to the Barry M. Goldwater Range for jets carrying live ammunition. The F-16 was not carrying live ordnance though.

The Air Force identifies the pilot as 26-year-old Captain Jason Attaway of Dallas. He has logged approximately 30 hours of flying time in an F-16.

Capt. Attaway was on a two-ship student training mission heading toward an air-to-air training area to perform basic fighter maneuvers when the incident occurred.

The crashed aircraft, an F-16C block 25 with serial number #83-164, belonged to the 62nd Fighter Squadron.

This is the 4th USAF F-16 crash in 4 weeks time. The three previous crashes are:

  • F-16 from Shaw AFB on April 5th (Pilot injured)
  • F-16 from Hill AFB on MArch 31st (Pilot OK)
  • F-16 from Kunsan AFB on March 14th (Pilot OK)

Those three crashes all involved F-16s with a General Electric engine whereas today's crash involved an F-16 with a Pratt & Whitney engine.

A safety board has 30 days to complete the investigation. The board president will determine during this time when the aircraft can be removed from the crash site.

Approximately 150 flights per day are flown at Luke Air Force Base. The base hosts the largest fighter wing in the Air Force and graduated 431 student pilots in 2005.

During beginning Air Force flight training, students receive initial egress instruction where they learn basic ejection procedures, parachute operations and parachute landing falls. Students also receive refresher egress training in an F-16 ejection seat every six months.

The last crash of an F-16 connected to Luke occurred May 19, 2004, when a Singapore Air Force fighter crashed during a night-vision training in southern Arizona. The pilot, 1st Lt. Brandon Loo, 25, was killed in the crash.