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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

F-16 collides with Cessna over South Carolina

July 7, 2015 (by Lieven Dewitte) - An F-16 collided with a Cessna C 150 midair about 11 miles north of Charleston, South Carolina this morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

This is what is left of the engine of USAF F-16C block 50 #96-0085 from the 55th FS after it collided with a Cessna C150 on July 7th, 2015. [Photo by Amy Ramsey Dye]

A defense department official confirmed that the pilot of the F-16 ejected safely. The Cessna crew was killed in the unfortunate accident. Officials have recovered the body of Michael Johnson, the 68-year-old passenger his son, Joseph Johnson, the 30-year-old pilot.

The F-16C block 50 (#96-0085) belonged to the 55th Fighter Squadron from Shaw Air Force Base, roughly 100 miles north west of Charleston.

Air Force later identified the pilot as Major Aaron Johnson who was on a single-ship training flight with instrument approaches into Charleston. At the time the F-16 was at an elevation of 2,000 to 3000 feet.

A team of investigators will convene to determine the cause of the accident.

Since 1975, the F-16 has been involved in 359 accidents resulting in the deaths of 84 pilots. The plane's safety record has improved over the past decades, however. In the 1988 fiscal year, there were 23 of the most serious accidents. In the 2013 fiscal year, there were 7, and zero in the 2014 fiscal year, according to the most recent statistics.

Additional images:

USAF F-16C block 50 #96-0085 assigned to the 55th FS (still in 78th FS markings) is armed with an AIM-120 AMRAAM while in flight over the Gulf of Mexico participating in exercise Combat Archer on August 27th, 2003. [USAF photo by TSgt. Michael Ammons]

USAF F-16C block 50 #96-0085 from 78 FS coming in at Nellis AB for attending the Red Flag 01-03 session. [Tailslides photo by Peter]

55th FS desert (Jon Somerville collection)