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Board finds pilot error cause of F-16 crash

Apr. 9, 2013 - 11:08AM   |  
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Pilot errors led to the December crash of an Air National Guard F-16C in Central California, Air Combat Command announced Tuesday.

The pilot was not injured in the Dec. 27 crash, which destroyed the $21.4 million aircraft.

During an air-to-air training mission out of Fresno Air National Guard Base, the pilot failed to properly recover from a high-pitch, low-airspeed state, which caused an inverted deep stall, an Accident Investigation Board found. The aircraft did not recover from the stall and crashed about 84 nautical miles east of Fresno, Calif.

The pilot was complacent throughout the flight, pressed the F-16 beyond reasonable limits and made procedural errors in the last few minutes of the flight that contributed to the crash, the AIB report found.

The pilot, assigned to the 194th Fighter Squadron, ejected safely and did not sustain injuries. The crash caused only superficial landscape damage to government property, according to the report.

While the report identified pilot errors contributing to the crash, it does not suggest or recommend any disciplinary action to the pilot, although a commander may take such actions, according to Air Combat Command.

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