The South Dakota Air National Guard’s 114th Fighter Wing has had its second F-16 fighter jet landing accident in less than a month, with a jet skidding off the runway Tuesday afternoon.
According to the Air Force press release, an F-16C went over the edge of the runway upon returning from a training mission at 4:17 p.m. local time May 31. The incident is still under investigation by an interim safety board, the press release stated.
Photos from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader show the nose cone of the F-16 in the grass, the fighter jet laying haphazardly off the runway and down what appears to be a ditch.
“The pilot has been assessed and released by emergency crews and the scene has been turned over to the 114th Fighter Wing incident commander,” the press release stated.
The first incident last month also saw an F-16 skidding off the runway, leaving the fighter jet nose-down in the grass. The pilot was unharmed.
“Even though we train to do this every day, there is still risk involved. We are grateful that no one was harmed in this incident,” Col. Mark Morrell, 114th Fighter Wing Commander, said in a statement following the May 11 incident.
Both accidents occurred at Sioux Falls Regional Airport.
There have been other recent training accidents involving F-16s within the Air National Guard this year.
In March, an F-16 assigned to the Oklahoma National Guard crashed in Louisiana while conducting training out of Texas. The pilot safely ejected.
The Air Force suffered three F-16 mishaps in fiscal 2021 — one of which destroyed the airplane and killed its pilot, according to the Air Force Safety Center.
About three Fighting Falcons have been totaled each year on average for the past decade, though it’s not yet clear whether the damage to the F-16s in South Dakota will be categorized as such.
The service owns about 900 F-16C/D airframes, which have flown since the 1980s. Each jet cost $19 million in 1998 dollars, or more than $30 million now.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.