Fighter Jet News

F-16 Fighting Falcon News

F-16 crashed outside of Holloman Air Force Base, USA

May 1, 2024 (by Lieven Dewitte) - An F-16 crashed outside of Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, on Tuesday around noon. The pilot safely ejected.

A Luftwaffe Tornado & USAF F-16D block 42 #90-0788 assigned to the 314th FS fly in formation together during the last joint flying mission at Holloman AFB on August 17th, 2017. [USAF photo by Maj. Bradford 'Emcon' Brizek]

The pilot, who was not identified, ejected from the jet and was taken by ambulance for medical treatment. The airman was later “released from a medical facility with minor injuries,” Holloman’s 49th Wing stated on Tuesday evening.

The aircraft, assigned to the 49th Wing, crashed around 11:50h local time near White Sands National Park, about 7 miles outside of Holloman. The park is located in New Mexico and is surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range. Certain areas of the park were closed to the public to allow for emergency response.

The mishap comes about three months after an F-16 crashed in South Korea on Jan. 31, the third such crash on the Korean peninsula in nine months. All of the pilots of the downed aircraft ejected safely. The last time an F-16 crashed in the continental U.S. was on March 23, 2022, when an Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16 came down in western Louisiana. The pilot ejected safely from that crash, too.

Holloman AFB is home to the 54th Fighter Group which is assigned to the 49th Wing of the Air Education and Training Command. The 54th Fighter Group operates an F-16 school that teaches tactics and operations to pilots from other locations. Rated Air Force pilots learn how to fly the F-16 in a 37-week Basic Course, also known as the B-Course. Graduates of the B-Course go on to operational assignments across the service.

The desert south of Alamogordo is known for the bright white dunes composed of gypsum crystals, that are the centerpiece of the National Park. The area farther southwest is home to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range, a massive test and training range that opened in 1941 and went on to include the Trinity Test Range, where the first U.S. nuclear weapons tests were conducted at the height of the Manhattan Project in 1945.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident and additional details will be released as they become available.

Additional images:

USAF F-16B block 15 #82-1037 fires an AIM-9P4 missile at an MGM-107 target drone over White Sands Missile Test Range on April 7th, 1988 [Photo by MSgt Lochner]

An air-to-air view of USAF F-16A block 5 #78-0025 from the 34th TFS during exercise Border Star '81 held at Holloman AFB on March 1st, 1981. [USAF photo]

USAF F-16C block 42 #90-0768 from the 310th FS flies over the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico during a QF-4 drone shoot-out exercise on June 19th, 2009. [USAF photo by TSgt. Jason Wilkerson]