About 45 minutes to an hour ago, a Texas ANG F-16 pilot ejected from the aircraft at Ellington Field, near Houston. According to reports the aircraft
was talking off when it caught fire, and the pilot ejected. Going by the video from the scene, the aircraft was either just airborne, and sank back
onto its belly, or it departed the runway and the gear collapsed.
No word on the condition of the pilot. They were taken to a local hospital after ejecting. The airport has been evacuated while the situation is being
a reply to: Zaphod58
Sure have been quite a lot of failures catastrophic and mundane with our jets this past year. A pattern could be emerging, maybe having nothing to do
with quality control. Could sabotage explain the volume of lost jets over the past year operating outside of war??
Maintenance and funding. They're pushing off some of the required maintenance due to the operations tempo, and it's catching up to them. The Marine
F-18 fleet is something like 3 years behind on Depot maintenance on the aircraft and 5 years on the engines.
They lose too many senior maintainers because of their service limits and because civilian life is often more attractive as well. They either need to
provide the training to do higher level maintenance at local facilities and take a chance with that or streamline and expand the depots to catch up.
Over the next couple of years, the Air Force is facing a bigger crisis trying to keep maintenance around than they are pilots. They use a lot of
civilian labor at the Depot level, but the units are getting hammered.
They evacuated a one mile area around the scene, supposedly due to weapons being on board. I'm betting it was more because of the EPU. One mile is
awfully large for an aircraft that supposedly only had live missiles on board.
Expensive BBQ. Any idea on what went wrong? Closest I've been to an F-16 has been an airshow. I did see one hit a wild sow on the runway at
Jacksonville International in the late 80's. Collapsed the nose gear and the pilot ejected. The plane went into the trees. They recovered it and
FANG repaired it on site.
Going by how fast the smoke quit, I'm leaning towards catastrophic engine failure. There have been a few P220 engines that threw fan blades through
the oil tank over the years. Either a fan blade let go, or a hydraulic or fuel line worked loose.
a reply to: Zaphod58
So I guess the shoes will now be on the other foot, and other countries will be cracking jokes at our air force for the lack of funding and
maintenance to keep them from falling apart. Bull#!!! They can joke all they want, we can still deliver hell anywhere on Earth at a moments notice!
We're still flying more than many other air forces. Our pilots averaged 120 to 150 hours last year. That's down from what it used to be, but a few
years ago Russian TacAir pilots were at 80 hours a year, and transports at 100.
It's always fun when fan blades go. Big mess. There are a couple great shots of that F-35 in Eglin that have a couple good holes showing in them where
the third stage turbine went through the fuselage.
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