US Air Force - ACC F-16s

78-0048
USAF F-16A block 5 #78-0048 from the 4th TFS based at Hill AFB is strolling past the lens in October of 1981. The aircraft crashed only a few months later, on January 15th, 1982. [Dirk A. Geerts collection]

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  • Aircraft Database: F-16 # 61-44

    Fiend - Oct 18, 2004 - 08:02 PM - I was the pilot in this mishap. I was the flight lead for a two-ship on a cross-country flight. Our first stop was Nellis AFB to deliver spare parts to another one of our Wing's squadrons that was TDY to Nellis at the time of the mishap. 78-048 landed first. The aircraft was on a normal landing approach. On touchdown the main landing gear collapsed. The cause that was later determined was a failure in the landing gear control box that allowed the landing gear to cycle to the up position due to a momentary interruption of electrical power. Since I was flying with a centerline fuel tank, when the gear retracted it seemed to be a very slight settling of the aircraft, more like a tire failure. I had landed with minimum spacing behind an F-5, so I decided to go around in full afterburner to get the airplane airborne in order to determine which tire had blown and to ensure the runway was set up for me to land with the blown tire. In actuality I was sliding on the centerline tank, which shortly exploded, sending the steel cap from the fuel tank through the back end of the airplane, tearing up fuel and hydraulic lines, also starting a fire. I managed to get the aircraft airborne again (thank you, Pratt & Whitney!). I climbed to approximately 1,500 feet, apparently trailing flames, banked the aircraft left towards the desert, leveled out and ejected. As an additional note: The Thunderbirds, who were flying the T-38s at the time, were practicing on Monday, Jan 18, 1982, when the four-ship crashed at Indian Springs, killing all four pilots. The Thunderbirds did not fly again until they returned about a year later flying the F-16.

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