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

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posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 09:08 PM
reply to post by The Winged Wombat

The size of the fleet depending on operator will have an effect on hours on aircraft and how currently they (F-16s) are deployed? Most Air Forces just on a numbers game fly less training the the USAF but when you consider the size of the fleet those operator may rack up airframe hours at double the rate due to training tempo.

also add another F-16 (Portuguese Air Force) to the crashed list just happened today.

Crashed just outside the base perimeter at Monte Real AB during its first test flight after completing M4 MLU modification. Wreckage came down in a pine tree plantation at 13:40 hours causing a small fire. The pilot ejected safely and no-one on the ground was injured.

#15140 was initially delivered in 1999 as part of the Peace Atlantis II program. It has been storage until now awaiting its MLU upgrade.

If its been in storage since 1999 which is the way the article is worded then its probably a failure of a system that aged/damaged during its storage and rebuild/upgrade.

[edit on 28-1-2008 by Canada_EH]

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 09:54 PM
reply to post by Canada_EH

Sure thing Canada_EH,

Without consulting stats, when discussing the F-16, one must consider that a very large proportion of F-16s (if not a majority) are operated by services other than the USAF.

When looking at accident rates, especially mechanical rates, you have to consider the rate in relation to hours flown and also to periods of combat activity, when normal maintenance practices are perhaps not practical or possible.

The Winged Wombat

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 10:03 PM

Originally posted by iskander
reply to post by Jezza

Seems the indians are on to it as well as you.

Pardon me? What’s that about?

The contract for the supply of 126 medium multirole combat aircraft is estimated to be worth $14 billion, or Rs 55,000 crore. The Hercules deal, awaiting clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security, would be the first direct military sale by a US company to India.

"The F-16 Fighting Falcon being offered to India has unique safety features that recover the aircraft — and save the pilot — even if the plane runs out of control," Lockheed Martin executives told a group of Indian reporters at the F-16 production facility at Fort Worth in Texas. As the Indian Air Force grapples with an aging fleet, which has come to be known as flying coffins, the F-16's safety features could be a USP, the executives said.

This it what i meant the above passage with unique safety features that recover the aircraft — and save the pilot — even if the plane runs out of control
the times of india

Sorry with the delay i have a 3yr old to deal with

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 10:07 PM
I'd be very surprised if it was the majority. In fact, I'd be surprised if it was more than half the total operated by the USAF.

As I said, please take the figures for what they are. But from my perspective, and assuming that US maintenance standards are as good as any in the world (thus meaning mechanical failure is more likely to be an inherent system/design problem rather than a airman induced one), the figures don't scream at me "death trap", as the OP was suggesting.

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 10:19 PM
Well colour me surprised. There are a total of 2586 F-16s being flown by services and countries other than the USAF (I didn't include the Iranian F-16s for obvious reasons). You've got to wonder then, considering the apparently dangerous flaws in the platform, why so many independent operators use them?

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 10:25 PM
reply to post by Willard856

I gave you a blue star because i couldnt give you a gold one

Thankyou for your research on the topic.
Keep up the good work

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 10:25 PM
reply to post by Willard856

Cost and multiple capabilities. From my understanding that is what they would find so attractive. Considering now as well with the push that Lockheed can do now in the past 2-3 years of just dropping the price to ridiculous levels because so many have been produced compared to most modern military aircraft.

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 10:59 PM
reply to post by Willard856


I did a quick count from, and came up with a slightly lower figure (and then subtracted Portugal - second-hand - and Italy - leased), but I suspect some of the figures may be out of date.

The US figure was 2230 plus 26 F-16Ns for the USN.

So this was my point way back. If the F-16 is flawed in design, then Lockmart have had to fool (or conspired with) not only the USAF, but specialist evaluators from all these other operators as well. Given that many operators have made repeat orders, it seems to me that, as Mythbusters would say - that one's busted!

I think the evidence that the operators of the majority of F-16s built love it is enough in itself to preclude any need to go digging in the accident reports.

However, if there really is a problem in USAF that doesn't exist with the other operators, then perhaps it is the USAF and it's procedures that need to be examined.

Willard, while I'm not making any particular accusations concerning USAF maintenance (as I'm not convinced that there really is a problem), your statement that USAF standards are high is really just an expectation, based upon reputation.

The Winged Wombat

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 11:12 PM
Actually it's based on experience. Having served with a number of F-16 squadrons co-located with us during OIF, I saw first hand how these guys do business. While they have slightly different ways of doing things (they have bigger flight line numbers with airmen who have specialised systems knowledge, while we tend to have our maintenance guys trained in a number of areas and who can do many things). So, from my perspective, and given the rate of effort that we were all flying, the fact that we didn't lose any jets to mech failure is quite impressive. And this is true not just for the Viper, but the all the types that were there.

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 11:43 PM
reply to post by Willard856

Fair enough then.

So that would further tend towards the argument that the F-16 is not 'a killer' either in USAF or anyone else's service. At least not from the 'flawed design' argument, anyway.

Then we are all agreed that the F-16 is no more flawed in design than any other aircraft of it's generation ?

The Winged Wombat

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 11:50 PM
We also have to consider the use of the aircraft in each comparable service to that of the USAF's and the length of their service history. A smaller number of aircraft in low not varied tempo use maintained with the same level of professionalism should have relatively lower mechanical failure rates; than a large force in constant high temp use. However, does anyone have statistics for how many total foreign operated F-16's (from the grand figure) have crashed throughout their service history? I'd like to see this compared to the USAF figures Willard researched. If that is not possible a small sample of F-16 operators should be easy to compare in terms of loss percentages with the USAF figures. Since this has not yet been done I do not see how we can presume USAF maintenance standards might be at fault, though that does seem logical at first.

Either way, I agree that the numbers Willard presented when looked at in context do not really indicate such a dramatic exclamation as originally presented in this thread.

[edit on 28-1-2008 by WestPoint23]

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 12:01 AM
reply to post by The Winged Wombat

I just got my 2008 AWST Source Book (came in the mail today)

According to it the breakdown is as follows:

F-16A (270
F-16B (28)
F-16C (1084)
F-16D (180)

It did not have a listing for the Navy one which is odd. But AWST numbers numbers come up a bit short for F-16 in US inventory right now. Are you counting total production or fighters in inventory now?

As I said before in the thread looking over the loss data the big majority of the losses are either pilot error or MRO based issues. If there was a fundemental flaw in the aircraft or the engine as you noted these losses would apparent fleet wide NOT just in USAF aircraft.

[edit on 1/29/08 by FredT]

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 12:44 AM
reply to post by FredT

I was counting total deliveries rather than current inventory.

iskander's original point was that the USAF / Lockmart were disguising some losses (in particular what he believed to be losses due to faulty design / manufacture) as 'pilot error'.

To establish if that is true, then one would also need to know to what extent the 'conspirators' were able to manipulate the reports. That is, if iskander's argument is correct, to what extent do the loss reports lie?

I'm not at all sure just how anyone can establish that without doing a detailed analysis of each and every accident put down 'officially' to pilot error.

The Winged Wombat

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 12:50 AM

Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
Then we are all agreed that the F-16 is no more flawed in design than any other aircraft of it's generation ?

The Winged Wombat

Yep I would have to agree
based on the research you guys have put forth.

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 01:04 AM

Fair enough then.

Fair enough? For whom?

How convenient it must be to just brush away the truth, to “dispose” of the ones that care to speak of it, and to simply to ignore what is decent and respectful.

Well, even though the continuation of this thread disgusts me after what I have seen and still seeing, ATS is all about denying Ignorance, and that is what I shall continue to do.

So that would further tend towards the argument that the F-16 is not 'a killer' either in USAF or anyone else's service. At least not from the 'flawed design' argument, anyway.

Well, since it’s been clearly shown to me that my words are obviously not worth a damn here, and since my voice as a member obviously does not count against a collective effort by a group of “friendly collaborators”, I’ll just have to post the words of others from now on;

“The widow, Janet Harduvel, had won a multi-million-dollar jury award in 1987 against General Dynamics, alleging a flight instrumentation malfunction due to frayed wiring as the cause of the crash. The verdict would ultimately be overturned, not on its merits, but on the basis that federal defense contractors enjoy blanket immunity from such lawsuits.”

- Watchmen of World Freedom -

Whenever I speak of the F-16, I also think of Captain Ted Harduvel who died in his F-16 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, 1982 and his wife Janet, who had to fight a war to let Ted rest in peace. Shamefully, the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School graduate and Air Force Association Award for Excellence recipient was used to disguise manufactural errors having his flying abilities questioned although proving for years on a daily basis that he was one of the best fighter jocks around. As one of his squadron fellows from Kunsan said, ”he gave his life for his profession”.6

Here are some of the names of those “experiences”, and may their souls rest in peace.

Captain Ted Harduvel
First Lieutenant Tom ”Popeye” Doyle
Maj. Sammy D´Angelo
Captain Mike Crandall
First Lieutenant Steve ”Sunny” Sundstrom
Captain John ”Mighty Mouse” Barelka
LtCol. John "Cobra" Porter,

and so on…

There’s much more, so read on about real life, not statistics and numbers which are twisted to make everything look just peachy by the ones who protect corporate interests of their own state of denial.

Then we are all agreed that the F-16 is no more flawed in design than any other aircraft of it's generation ?

Oh it sure looks like you lads are sure all agreed after doing away with a what ever does not fit into your agenda, so ones again the majority rules, because that’s what life is all about, the ruling mob and the puppeteers that rule it.

Actually it's based on experience. Having served with a number of F-16 squadrons co-located with us during OIF, I saw first hand how these guys do business.

Experience? Here it is, speaking the TRUTH right at you about Vipers and their brave pilots;

Martin "TAGS" Agüera is the F16VPA Vice Chairman and Home Page Editor. As a local from nearby Hahn AB, Germany, Tags has known many F16 pilots. He also built the first 50th Tactical Fighter Wing Home Page which serves as a historical tribute to all former 50TFW pilots. Its purpose is first, to serve as a historical document, and secondly, to keep the proud heritage of the first Wing in USAFE with the Viper alive. The Home Page Address on the World Wide Web is Through being so close to a former F16 base, Tags has built up a special relationship with the Viper and the people who fly it. In real life, Martin is German and Spanish Correspondent for the Washington-based Defense News .

Here’s the important “stuff”, the majority of real F-16 loss stats have already disappeared from the net, and only a few dedicated people keep the memory of those brave pilots alive.

3. This number stands for the fatalities in specifically F-16 crashes only. On the Internet Home Page of the Air Force Safety Center based at Kirtland Air Force Base this number was given. F-16 History, ; Those whose lives were so tragically affected by the circumstances involved with the Viper crashes shall also never be forgotten. Unfortunately, since June 1999 this number has to be updated to 67 due to the tragic fate of Maj. Sammy D´Angelo of the Homestead Air Force Reserve, Florida.

As of today, there isn’t a single source which lists the names of all Viper pilots that crashed.

That’s the reality, now feel free to twist it as you wish, but it will never be different in the memories of the ones that lived it.

edit: bracket

[edit on 29-1-2008 by iskander]

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 01:08 AM

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 01:28 AM
reply to post by iskander


We are not saying that there has not been some dirty dealing going on between the USAF and Lockmart in an effort to avoid lawsuits and payouts.

Your quotes from the various cases illustrates that.

What we do question is your contention that the USAF/Lockmart collusion stems from basic flaws in the F-16 design (other than the kind of things encountered and rectified in the normal development of any service aircraft).

We have established that the USAF is not the majority operator, and that the majority of the worldwide fleet does not appear to have suffered to the same extent as the USAF fleet.

Whatever the basis of the USAF/Lockmart situation with regard to dirty dealing, immoral conduct, the fact remains that, on a worldwide basis, there is no evidence to suggest that the 'cover-up' was due to any 'design inadequacy' in the aircraft itself.

Certainly, along with yourself and no doubt everyone here, I condemn the USAF / Lockmart tactics in the cases you mention, and sympathize with the families of the 'victims', however this does not appear to stem from any systemic design faults in the aircraft itself.

The Winged Wombat

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 03:59 AM
reply to post by The Winged Wombat

I agree (my how this thread has moved on since I went to bed last night) I don't dispute the evidence of those individual cases put forward by iskander, the actions of Lockmart and the USAF personnel responsible was despicable, as I said a few pages ago, but that is a different thing from the F-16 itself being inherently dangerous, and the excellent research that has been put in shows that particular point is unfounded. I wonder though, after the lawsuits were won was any action taken against the guilty or was there another cover up that allowed them to continue in their jobs?

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 04:47 AM

Experience? Here it is, speaking the TRUTH right at you about Vipers and their brave pilots;

With all due respect to Martin, he is an outsider looking in. Great sentiments, well written, but why this apparently has more stock than my words I struggle to understand. I've was in the WOC when one of our jets went down during OIF, and the kick in the guts that that feels like. I had to chat to the WSO's wife in the chow line while her husbands status was listed as missing, as she hoped he might have punched out. And then watched as she found out that he hadn't. So quit with the emotional card already - it is far from relevant to the discussion here, and cheapens the memory of those who have died as you try to score points.

Oh, and the fair enough comment was about my observations of USAF maintenance, and nothing to do with dismissing the topic in hand. Guess first hand experience doesn't count for jack when it contradicts your point of view?

And I can't speak to the completeness or otherwise of it, but seems to have a pretty comprehensive list of those who have lost their lives. Lest we forget.

In memoriam

For WW and others:

A review of other nation's mechanical incidents is absolutely a great idea. I'll see what I can do.

posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 08:26 AM
Well I guess then as people have mentioned we need to list at the very least numbers of losses for the export countries to better understand the ratios. For the expanded information on each air force losses click the link

AMI - 4 losses / 34 leased

BAF - 46 losses / 160 bought

EAF - 17 losses / 220 bought

FAV - 3 losses / 24 bought

HAF - 9 losses / 170 bought

IDFAF - 26 losses / 362 bought

PAF - 8 losses / 76 actually bought & delivered

POAF - 2 losses / 45 bought

RBAF - 1 loss / 22 bought

RDAF - 9 losses / 77 bought

RJAF - 1 loss / 36 bought & 22 second hand

RNLAF - 36 losses / 213 bought

RNOAF - 17 losses / 74 bought

ROKAF - 10 losses / 180 bought

RSAF - 3 losses / 70 bought

RTAF - 1 loss / 54 bought & 7 second hand

TNIAU - 2 losses / 12 bought

UAEAF - 1 loss / 80 bought

For a grand total of 196 exported airframes that have been written off in crashes. Also in going through and counting them all you see that the air forces that had the planes longer have more crashes (no brainer) but also that the number of write offs/serious crashes lowers from 92-95 onwards.

[edit on 29-1-2008 by Canada_EH]

[edit on 29-1-2008 by Canada_EH]

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