Fighter Jet News

F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Pilot disciplined for German violation

December 24, 2008 (by Mark Abramson) - The Air Force took "appropriate administrative disciplinary action" against a Spangdahlem-based fighter pilot who violated Germany flight regulations and reportedly spooked residents of a town near the base.

"The pilot was found to have violated Germany flying regulations by conducting training passes below allowable altitudes and in an inappropriate area during that time of day," Air Force 2nd Lt. Kathleen Polesnak wrote in an e-mail. "The matter is now closed."

Polesnak said privacy laws prevent the Air Force from disclosing the pilot’s name and what type of disciplinary action was taken.

The 52nd Fighter Wing pilot was initially grounded after the Oct. 14 incident. The German media reported that the pilot flew below legal altitude limits by flying as low as 1,288 feet after 5 p.m. German flight rules do not allow pilots to fly below 2,000 feet during that time of day.

German media also reported that the pilot’s maneuvers scared residents around Nattenheim. Residents reported that the F-16 made several steep dives and hit its afterburner.

The incident has sparked the Air Force to look at its flying procedures, Polesnak said.

"We have met (with) and will continue to work closely with the German Ministry of Defense, German air force and our higher headquarters on all aspects of our flying operations," Polesnak said.

Published on December 24-25, 2008 in the European edition of Stars and Stripes.
Used with permission from Stars and Stripes, a DoD publication.
© 2008 Stars and Stripes.