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High-Flying Troubles - United States Air Force safety record (F-16)

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posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 05:05 AM

Originally posted by waynos
I have looked into why they did not pursue it, I have found that they spent so much time developing an efficient intake interface for the twin engined P600 they felt unhappy with the interface for the P630 and so decided to pursue the twin engined proposal due to a lack of time.

Waynos do you have a time frame for this? Im curious because Ben Rich of Skunkworks fame and had a hand in the design of the inlets of the U-2, SR-71, and A-12 turned down a Northrop offer to head thier fighter program according to his Auto bio. I wonder if this attempt to hire him was realated to the inlet issue?

[edit on 1/27/08 by FredT]

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 05:09 AM
I personally want this thread to continue.
If there is people going to legnths to investigate the issues.
I spent hours and hours over several days recently digging up photos/sketch drawings for
a prototype that had been erased from most articles.
There's a brotherhood in aircraft projects which attracted me
to sign up at ATS in the first place and thats why i enjoy this place.
Just my thoughts please continue

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 05:34 AM
reply to post by FredT

Yes Fred, I also need to correct myself, the F100 powered design was the P610, NOT P630.

Northrops work on the twin engine proposal started with the N-300 in 1965, this was a slightly enlarged F-5, it evolved a shoulder wing in 1966 (N-300A-5) and continued to evolve to the N-300A-43 which I can best describe as a F-5 rearranged into an F-18-like layout but still using all the same parts and a single fin. By 1967 this had become the P-530 with TSR-2 type intakes, LERX and twin fins, the root of the YF-17 and an all new design with nothing taken from the F-5 and by 1971 the full P600 had evolved.

The P610 though was first proposed only in mid 1971 and was designed to be smaller, lighter and more manouverable but was otherwise identical in design to the YF-17 we know, except for the single F-100.

Due to the required timeframe to have a prototype flying by 1974 Northrop decided to stick with the P600 as the design (of the intake interface) was much more mature than the P610, but they would have preferred to pursue the single engine design, given more time.

Interestingly, in March 1972 the air staff actually declared the Boeing 908-909 as the preferred option, with the General Dynamics 401 (F-16) a close second.

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 05:55 AM
Proposals for the LXF
Five manufacturers submitted proposals in response to the RFP --- Boeing, Northrop, General Dynamics, Ling-Temco-Vought, and Lockheed. In March of 1972, the Air Staff concluded that the competing Boeing Model 908-909 was the first choice, with the General Dynamics Model 401 and the Northrop Model P-600 being rated as close seconds. The Vought V-1100 and Lockheed CL-1200 Lancer had been eliminated.
The Source Selection Authority, after further work, rated the General Dynamics and Northrop proposals ahead of the Boeing submission. The General Dynamics Model 401-16B and the Northrop P-600 were chosen for further development on April 13, 1972, and contracts for two YF-16s (72-1567/1568) and two YF-17s were awarded. Rather than the "X" (experimental) prefix being used, the "Y" (development) prefix was used in order to indicate that a mixture of off-the-shelf and experimental technologies were being used. The YF-16 was to be powered by a single Pratt & Whitney F100 turbofan, whereas the YF-17 was to be powered by a pair of General Electric YJ101 engines.
The "cost plus fixed fee" contracts covered the design, construction, and testing of two prototypes, plus a year of flight testing. At the time, the Air Force was still very much committed to the F-15 fighter, and visualized the LWF program as more of a technology-demonstration project rather than a serious effort for a production aircraft. At the same time, contracts were given to Pratt & Whitney for a version of the F100 turbofan specially adapted for single-engined aircraft and to General Electric for the new and smaller YJ101 engine.
General Dynamics Model 401 (the later YF-16)
Northrop Model P-600 (the later YF-17)
Boeing Model 908-909 ......
Vought V-1100 ......
Lockheed CL-1200 Lancer .....

Heres a link to mishaps and accidents by year and country

407 F-16 Accidents & Mishaps for the United States Air Force
Found 2505 F-16s for USAF

[edit on 27-1-2008 by Jezza]

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 06:30 AM
That's the list I'm currently processing now Jezza. Results once I have them!

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 06:45 AM
reply to post by Willard856

Fantastic looking forward to the results.

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 05:28 PM
Once again, and with all due respect, I request this topic to the closed.

If members are interested in continuing the discussion, please open another thread, and discuss the topic there.

As I clearly stated earlier, I have filed a protest against unethical moderator behavior, I ask everyone to understand and respect my current situation, and continue this topic in another thread.

If some care to argue, debate, or discuss my request for closing this tropic in any shape and form, or will chose to simply disregard my request and continue, they will only show their unwillingness to respect and understand the situation of their fellow member.

I certainly hope hat basic courtesy is still alive these days, and that my request will be acknowledged.

Again, thank you all very much for understanding.

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 10:33 PM
And with all due respect, I ask that you cease requesting that the thread be closed in this thread. You've asked three times, I'm sure you've sent u2us, the thread is still open, therefore I think we can safely assume it is going to remain open. All you are doing now is showing a lack of respect for your fellow members who are conducting themselves in an appropriate manner that meets the T&Cs of the website. I have no idea what this situation is that you talk of. You've filed a complaint, good for you. We look forward to a prompt resolution. Until then, I believe it is business as usual.

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 10:54 PM
Just a friendly little reminder please stay ON topic for this thread.

Willard how about that data

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 11:06 PM

Originally posted by Jezza
407 F-16 Accidents & Mishaps for the United States Air Force
Found 2505 F-16s for USAF


Oct 1980 [act] 75747 75-0747 F-16A Details
The aircraft crash landed on Rogers dry lake bed at Edwards AFB due to a blown nose gear tire on take off during the annual open house air show. It was shipped to General Dynamics Fort Worth in a C-5 and rebuilt into the first F-16XL,

In combing through that link many of the incidents are clearly pilot error, or acts of god, or MRO errors.

And many of the incidents did not result in the airframe being written off, and many had the pilots ejecting safely

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 01:50 AM
reply to post by FredT

jet blown over from engines of B1-B ; jet lost due to enemy action ; jet lost due to collison with F15 ; jet lost due to pilot error (x2) ; jet lost after attempting emergency landing due to in flight airframe damage; jet lost on take off cause unknown.

and 1 jet lost due to engine failure

thast 2007, 8 losses - 1 due to engine failure.

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 01:58 AM
reply to post by Harlequin

Given the Op's intial statements you would think the things are dropping out of the sky by the dozens. Is that many losses acceptable? No, but we are talking about high performance fighter a/c that are flown on the edges.

I don't have the time to look right now, but Im curious about how or if and increase in OP's tempo changes the loss rate. DS I, Kosovo, Afganistan, and DSII.

[edit on 1/28/08 by FredT]

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 03:04 AM
And i would like to point out also...
The workload and wartime tempo would be more taxing on
pilots and all airframes of all types used in theatre of operations.
Non war years there would be less flying hours logged and less time
over enemy territory and being shot at from rocks to AAMs.

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 03:50 AM
only 1 aircraft (US is the 8 lost last year i might add) was lost in Iraq - the other 7 was in CONUS.

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 03:10 PM

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 04:00 PM
Iskander, you really need to get over yourself. The only person making off topic posts on this thread is you, except this one of course but I felt it had to be said.

It is nothing to do with respect or courtesy, how about those same qualities being displayed by yourself and responding to the on topic questions posed?

What purpose would be served by closing the thread? it all rather smacks of the little boy who wants to take his ball home. Instead, can we address F-16 safety, or the the lack of it as we were trying to do before you threw your dummy out of the pram?

Oh and by the way, there's no need for the persecution complex as Fred T issued a warning to another member over comments directed towards you and asked certain other members to calm things down and go easy (I was one of them, even though I didn't think I was too bad, but I took the request on board) so you see the effort of the moderator was impartial, as it should be, and was not a persecution of you personally. You may well disagree with his decision, but like I say, it wont have been motivated by anything like the 'ganging up' you felt it to be.

[edit on 28-1-2008 by waynos]

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 06:28 PM
Well I backed off this thread for a bit but Fred, WW, Waynos and Harliquin have all done good research on the current losses and so on. To try and get the root of the OP issue I've decided it was time for me to review it and if its helpful for others all the better. The amount of quotes is directly related to this thread and I deemed needed in the following post. (Moderators correct me if I'm wrong but I would find it hard to understand with out them thanks)

Originally posted by iskander
This article is a bit dated, it is from Jan 3, 2000, but considering the onslaught of official propaganda about the “safest single engine fighter in US history”, it’s amazing that such article exist at all.

Anyone who is on pay roll of said company or is involved in anyway with the F-16 is going to want to sing its praises and over look its faults. In the grand scheme of this thread it is a simple introduction.

First allow me to briefly recap the troubled history of the Falcon.

To the best of ones ability and researching what is felt is pertinent to continue to talk about and make statements on the development. Also making historical errors like I do many times myself.

In the very beginning the requirements for the small..... air superiority toe-to-toe with the best Soviet designs.
Nothing in this paragraph (shortened by myself) that one can disagree with as it does list the LWF program requirements.

Prime contender was the excellent, no-nonsense, reliable, easily maintained twin engine F-5, which was specifically aimed to replace the troublesome single engine F-104, but as it usually happens in Pentagon it was side swiped by Washington lobbies in favor of gee-whiz hi-tech fly-by-wire single engine computer wonder kid that we know as the Falcon.

The F-5 was "never" a contender for the LWF contract. Its upgraded model F-20 single engine Tigershark may have been entertained by Northrop but the YF-17 was its "main" proposal for the LWF competition and ended as the runner-up and went on to become the F/A-18 Hornet. This point should be clear now with almost a full page in this thread dedicated to answering/correct this statement. I will not assign blame for it as it is a simple mistake that I could have made myself.

Also covered in the full page before this is the fact that the reason the General Dynamics F-16 proposal was selected was it incorporation of new tech like FBW and so on. The loser who was knocked out of the competition more for politics then lack of performance was the Boeing submission of the 908-909.

Naturally F-16 won the contract, and is continuing killing its own pilots to this day. It’s a long, troubled history trail it to this day.

Explained why it was selected above (got ahead of myself
) and the troubled history is true and others on this thread have gone into detail about tis development and deployment issues/losses.

It took decade for USAF to admit to wire chafing problems which caused more F-16 pilot deaths in catastrophic crashes then to enemy action to THIS DAY!
The families of those pilots were LIED to ....... and files a LAW SUIT, which they WON.

The statement or statistic that more military pilots (insert type of plane here) die is mechanical failures and or pilot error then at the guns of enemies is common for most NATO/western countries. This doesn't mean that I don't feel the losses are a problem or that issues should be over looked but the above statement mixes a general stat with a specific problem.

I think I'll end there as I think the issue that I needed to even clarify for myself on what the theme of this thread was answered in that to my understanding the focus on F-16 crashes and flawed choice for the LWF has been addressed.

[edit on 28-1-2008 by Canada_EH]

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 06:49 PM
Ok, moving on from the drama, I've done a number crunch from the site discussed above. I tried to identify any aircraft incidents that are mechanical in nature, and that the nature of the incident was beyond the control of the pilot or regular maintenance staff. For example, if a maintainer left a tool in the air intake, I disregarded the incident. Similarly, if the pilot failed to follow proper refuel procedures that led to fuel starvation and engine failure, I likewise discounted that.

This all said, there were quite a number of incidents where the exact nature of the problem wasn't identified, or the problem description just said mechanical failure without attribution of root cause. Also some of the incidents attributed to pilot error may have been the result of a mechanical failure (g-suit failing to inflate may have led to GLOC for example). So the following figures are going to have to be viewed with a certain critical eye. I have tried my best to keep it clear cut, and use my best judgement. Also keep in mind this is one source, and sources can be wrong.

The overall result from my review was that of the 407 incidents involving F-16s from the USAF, 99 of the incidents related to mechanical failure within the bounds of my definition above. I did a year by year breakdown which I can post if someone really wants it, but the highs were a loss of six airframes in 1982, 1992 and 2000. Lows were a loss of one airframe in 1979, 1983, 1984, 1989 and 2004. This makes an average loss per year due to mechanical failure of about 3.4 airframes. There was no year where there was no loss due to mechanical failure.

The majority of mechanical failures were engine related. I noticed an increase in engine failures from 1990 onwards.

All in all, my feel is that pilot error (collisions, spatial disorientation, piddle packs getting caught in ejection rings...) account for the bulk of losses. Which doesn't surprise me in the least. And the other thing to note is that despite the increased operational tempo and flying hours during ODS and OIF, I didn't detect a noticeable increase in airframe losses due to mechanical failure. So all in all, while there may have been some issues with the aircraft early on, I don't think it is the lemon that the OP made it out to be. Anyway, hopefully this is interesting/useful. Again, the figures have limitation, but provide at least a snapshot for us to consider. Oh, and just to confirm, I ain't no statistician!

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 07:20 PM
OK folks. The name calling and bickering about each other stops here.

As the new Forum Moderator, I don't want to start out harshly, but chaos will not gain anything for any of us, and it sure isn't the way to learn anything and to Deny Ignorance.

I have notified all complaining parties that I will fully review this matter and settle it in a fair way. Aside from whatever action I find reasonable in relation to my duties to settle the complaint, there will be no other action taken to those bickering prior to this post.

After this post, stay civil and on topic or take the risks with eyes wide open. This isn't the old 9/11 forum, and it won't become that.

Carry on.

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 08:11 PM

Just considering one of the original points as posted - that the F-16 is inherently dangerous, or flawed - raises a rather large exclamation point for me.

To prove that case, one would have to find a (more or less) consistent, relevant loss rate across the total F-16 fleet not just USAF F-16s.

If the USAF (mechanical) loss rate is significantly higher than other operators, then it would be indicative of maintenance deficiencies rather than faulty design.

While it may be that there has been some collusion between the USAF and the manufacturer with regard to 'payouts', there has not even been any suggestion that there is any such collusion between Lockmart and all the other F-16 operators. (The larger the alleged conspiracy the less likely it exists).

Indeed, to this point in the thread, there has not been any info presented that other operators of the F-16 have ever had a problem.

If no such correlation exists then, at this point, the alleged conspiracy would have to involve Lockmart delivering flawed airframes to the USAF but healthy ones to the other operators.... Hmmmm.

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 28/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]

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