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Luke F­-16 crashes near Bagdad Arizona, Taiwanese pilot killed

January 21, 2016 (by Lieven Dewitte) - An F-16 (#93-0711) belonging to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base crashed in northwestern Arizona today around 08.45h. The pilot, a Taiwanese air force student pilot, did not survive.

RoCAF F-16A block 20 #93-0711 is parked under a shed in a static display. [USAF photo]

RoCAF pilot Major KAO Ting Cheng was being trained in a high G air-to-air combat maneuver between two aircraft in an air-to-air fight. The pilot’s instructor was in a separate aircraft.

The jet was from the 21st gamblers and crashed near Bagdad in Yavapai County, Arizona. Bagdad is a mining town located in the high desert of central Arizona approximately 100 miles northwest of Luke.

Air Force officials have not determined what caused the crash.

The 56th Fighter Wing is home to nearly 140 F-16s and 24 squadrons, the largest fighter wing in the US Air Force. It trains both U.S. and allied country pilots in the F-16 and the F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. The Taiwanese air force owned the F-16A single-seat fighter jet (#93-0711).

Luke operated 89 F-16s in December, though the number has diminished as F-16s transfer to Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico and newer F-35 Lightning II fighter jets arrive at Luke.

Thursday's crash is the third such incident with a Luke-affiliated F-16 in less than three years.

On Nov. 25, an F-16 belonging to the 54th Fighter Group crashed in New Mexico. A student pilot who was stationed at Holloman safely ejected before it came down.

On June 26, 2013, an instructor pilot and a student pilot safely ejected from a two-seat F-16 after a bird strike. The jet flew unmanned in a 9-mile circle northwest of Luke when it eventually lost altitude and cratered into a dirt field just outside the base.

Additional images:

RoCAF F-16A block 20 #93711 assigned to the 21st FS launches an AIM-7 Sparrow missile over the Gulf of Mexico, during the Air-to-Air Weapons System Evaluation Program, Combat Archer, hosted by the 83rd FWS, located at Tyndall AFB on November 17th, 2003. [USAF photo by MSGT Michael Ammons]