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

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posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 03:02 PM
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Thanks for the work Canada, I've added a star. Do the figures include losses for any reason, or purely mechanical failure?




posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 03:28 PM
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reply to post by Willard856
 


The figures that I posted is a accidents/incidents in which the airframe had to be scrapped. This includes Pilot error and mechanical failure. I can go through the figures more so but I think if we just looked at the key players and nations with the most losses that would be a little less of a task since it took me a hour just to get the list of losses and purchases etc. I'm leaning towards looking into BAF, EAF, IDFAF, ROKAF, RNLAF & RNOAF

[edit on 29-1-2008 by Canada_EH]



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by Canada_EH
 


I agree. Not much point analysing the Indonesian F-16 losses. Israel and Netherlands in particular seem like reasonable sample groups.



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 04:04 PM
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All reasons to the listed losses are estimated and not 100% but do provide some insight into the reason for the losses. ME (mechanical failure), PE (Pilot Error), Other (birdstrikes, not known or stolen aircraft for joy ride).

BAF - 46 losses / 160 bought (ME=5, PE=17, Other=22)

EAF - 17 losses / 220 bought (ME=NA, PE=5, Other=12)

IDFAF - 26 losses / 362 bought (ME=7, PE=7, Other=12)

RNLAF - 36 losses / 213 bought (ME=5, PE=17, Other=7)

RNOAF - 17 losses / 74 bought (ME=3, PE=6, Other=8)

ROKAF - 10 losses / 180 bought (ME=5, PE=1, Other=4)



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 04:35 PM
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Well, those figures show losses of total airframes to mechanical failure as running at between 2 and 5 percent (excluding the one that hasn't lost any of course). Using the USAF figures I worked out a loss rate of about 4 percent. So the figures seem reasonably consistent across operators. The USAF is at the upper end, but given the operational tempo, as well as they fact they introduced the aircraft, this probably isn't too surprising. Losses per flight hour would be more informative though.



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 08:55 AM
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How about some specific facts and not just rounded up numbers, and let’s look at the guys that were actually flew then right there on the front line of the cold war.


50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hahn AB, Germany:

10th , 313th, and 496th Tactical Fighter Squadrons.

First USAF F-16 unit in Europe


home.att.net...

That means they were the very spear of cold war front line.

Here’s the background on the 50th, so there won’t be any discussion about the level of their piloting skills;


In July 1983, the 50th TFW, after two long years of transitional status, passed its NATO Tactical Evaluation and became fully mission-capable flying the F-16. In October 1983, the wing participated in Gunsmoke ´83 - the biennial Air Force-wide tactical gunnery and bombing competition at Nellis AFB, NV. The 50th TFW swept the competition, walking away as overall winners, took first place in the 30-degree dive bomb area, and first and second place in the 200-foot level bomb category. A Hahn pilot came in second for the Top Gun Award ( Capt. Ed "Furball" Furtado, 313th TFS ) and the 50th munitions load crew placed third overall in the loadeo contest. The wing received notification in March 1984 that it had received the Air Force Oustanding Unit Award. The 50th also ste an Air Force record at the Rapid Runway Repai Olympics at Ramstein AB, Germany, in March 1984, with a time of 11 minutes and 24 seconds. In 1985 and 1986, the 313th TFS was presented the USAFE Commander-in- Chief trophy as the command´s most outstanding flying squadron in the previous year, being the first squadron ever to receive this award twwo years in a row. During October 1985, the wing nearly repeated the previous Gunsmoke triumph at Gunsmoke ´85 , solidly taking second place only two points behind the winner. The 50th TFW also captured the overall Top Gun Award ( Capt. Mark "Fredhog" Fredenburgh, 313th TFS ). In 1986 and 1987, the 50th TFW´s maintenance complex was selected as the winner of the USAF Daedalian Maintenance Award and received the Department of Defense Phoenix Award for 1986. The wing was again selected to receive the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period of July 1, 1985 through June 1, 1987. Early in 1987, the 50th TFW completed its transition to the F-16C/D models. In the late 80s, wing personnel continued to train and perform in an outstanding manner during Local Salty Nation, local Nuclear Surety and Major Accident Response Excercises. Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm put that training to the test. In December 1990, the 10th TFS and the 10th Aircraft Maintenance Unit deployed to the Persian Gulf. These members of the 50th TFW played a vital role in the successful campaign to liberate Kuwait. The squadron remained deployed to support Operation Provide Comfort. Members of the 10th TFS began to return to Hahn AB in May 1991. Many other Hahn personnel also deployed to support Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Proven Force and Provide Comfort. Those who remained at Hahn also played important roles in support of the Gulf conflict.


www.geocities.com...

Now to the facts.

As far as I know a total of 345 F-16 were operated by the 50th through out its German station.

50th TFW F-16 Accident Fact Sheet;

Out of 9 years of operation from 1982 to 1991, only two years went with out crashes, they were 1984 and 1986.

Out of 12 losses, 3 were to collisions and 1 was shot down in Iraq, leaving 8 crashes to what, pilot error?

One caught fire and burned down on the runway before it even took off.

So by the stats we seem to have only 8 aircraft out of 345, so that does not sound so bad, but the real problem is that the crashes were CONSISTENT.


F-16 ACCIDENTS OF HAHN AIRCRAFT
1 December 1982 - A jet crashes about 150m northwest from Hahn AB. The pilot ejects successfully. Pilot: 1Lt. Rick French, 313TFS

20 January 1983 - A jet crashes about 3 miles in western direction from Sinsheim, Germany. The pilots is saved trough the ejection seat. Pilot: ?

10 Mai 1983 - An F-16 crashes at Hornberg, Germany. The pilot is killed. Pilot: 1Lt. Steve Wallace, 10TFS

30 July 1985 - A jet catches fire and is destroyed on the runway. The pilot ejects. Pilot: Capt. Mike Jaensch, 496TFS

22 October 1985 - A jet crashes into the Mediteranean Sea about 22 miles from Adana, Turkey. The pilot dies. Pilot: Capt. Glen Dupuis, 10TFS

17 September 1987 - An F-16 crashes between Gunzenhausen and Pleinfeld, Germany. The pilot ejects successfully. Pilot: LtCol. Sam Snider, 50TFW/SE (attached to 10TFS)

31 March 1988 - An F-16 crashes into a house at Forst near Karlsruhe, Germany. The pilot and a civilian are killed. Pilot: 1Lt. Tom Doyle, 10TFS

29 June 1988 - Two F-16s collide over Bodenheim, Germany and crash. One pilot dies, the other can eject. Pilots: Capt. Bob McCormack (survives), Capt. Mike Crandall (dies), 313TFS

12 Oktober 1988 - A jet crashes prior to landing at Hahn AB. The pilot is slightly injured. Pilot: Capt. Dave Wilmot,496TFS

18 December 1989 - Two jets collide over Maxdorf, Germany and crash. One pilot ejects, the other is killed. Pilots: 1Lt. Steve Sundstrom (dies), Maj. Rodd Kallman (survives), 496TFS

5 June 1990 - A jet collides with a German glider. The glider pilot dies, the F-16 returns to base without significant damages. Pilot: Capt. Chris Luithly, 10TFS

27 February 1991 - An F-16 is shot down over Iraq. The pilot ejects and is captured for 8 days prior to release.Pilot: Capt. Bill Andrews, 10TFS



www.geocities.com...

So now we see that a basically the best of the best, top gun 50th, suffered a crash just about every year, crashed which were not related to combat/collision losses.

Pilot error? I don’t think so. Can’t be much of pilot error when the bird catches on fire while it’s still on the runway.



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 10:08 AM
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Originally posted by iskander
So by the stats we seem to have only 8 aircraft out of 345, so that does not sound so bad, but the real problem is that the crashes were CONSISTENT.


What exactly do you mean by saying they have consistent crashes? As far as I'm concerned there will continue to be military crashes due the the high tempo of sortie rates and constant training that goes on. This isn't commercial aviation and that comment is just a simple fact.


18 December 1989 - Two jets collide......

5 June 1990 - A jet collides with a German glider......

27 February 1991 - An F-16 is shot down over Iraq......

So now we see that a basically the best of the best, top gun 50th, suffered a crash just about every year, crashed which were not related to combat/collision losses.


Good post over all iskander and good points. My only problem facts wise is the above statement. You state all list accidents where not collisions or combat but the last 3 are combat and collision losses. Also this doesn't take into account the past 16-17 years and what the loss rates have been from then on. Just out of interest. I do think though that the number of pilot errors, collisions and bird-strikes do account for a larger number of losses and the rate is defiantly higher then a twin engine aircraft. No argument there.



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 03:04 PM
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Without the detail of what caused the crashes in your post Iskandar, the question is moot. The previous figures we have used were based on information where the aircraft loss was definitely caused by mechanical failure that was not influenced by squadron personnel (either aircrew or maintenance). Our sample also included all F-16s, not just one particular wing. And I acknowledged that even within these figures, there were unexplained losses that meant the figure may be greater than what I arrived at.

As for the skills of the pilots, I know only too well that you can be the best pilot in the world, but # does happen. Australia has lost one Hornet pilot to collision, and we've been bloody lucky not to lose more. I've seen exceptional pilots break their habit pattern, lose SA and nearly fly into the ground. The skill of the pilots have never been in question in this thread.

We've focused on your claim that the F-16 is fundamentally flawed, and that these flaws kill regularly. What I'd like to see now is similar figures for other aircraft, including twin engines. If the Eagle and Hornet are running at similar figures for mechanical failure, then I think we can conclude there isn't a problem with the Viper. If the failure rates are less, then the F-16 may indeed still have issues. Anyone know a website that has similar comprehensive figures as F-16.net for other platforms?



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 06:48 PM
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reply to post by Canada_EH
 



What exactly do you mean by saying they have consistent crashes?


A crash just about every year is consistency.


You state all list accidents where not collisions or combat but the last 3 are combat and collision losses.


No actually I broke that down correctly and pointed that out specifically, here it is;


Out of 12 losses, 3 were to collisions and 1 was shot down in Iraq, leaving 8 crashes to what, pilot error?



Also this doesn't take into account the past 16-17 years and what the loss rates have been from then on. Just out of interest.


True, but I focused on the 50th specifically because it was high priority, top notch outfit, and not some 3rd rate puppet state air force.


I do think though that the number of pilot errors, collisions and bird-strikes do account for a larger number of losses and the rate is defiantly higher then a twin engine aircraft. No argument there.


Well, in the case of Janet Harduvel verses General Dynamics that was the argument, and she won the case.

It was actually proved in court, so there’s nothing really left to argue about because it was all done decades ago by a whole bunch of lawyers.



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 06:50 PM
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reply to post by Willard856
 



If the Eagle and Hornet are running at similar figures for mechanical failure, then I think we can conclude there isn't a problem with the Viper. If the failure rates are less, then the F-16 may indeed still have issues. Anyone know a website that has similar comprehensive figures as F-16.net for other platforms?


That’s the way to go, and I’d very much like to see those figures my self.



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 07:08 PM
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Well as with last time here at least is a start with the numbers break down of units produced for the USAf and other countries as well.



F-15A 373 initial USAF single seaters (including 18 "YF-15As")
F-15B 59 initial USAF tandem seaters (including 2 TF-15As)
F-15C 408 improved USAF single seaters
F-15D 62 improved USAF tandem seaters

F-15C 18 new-build F-15Cs for Israel
F-15D 13 new-build F-15Ds for Israel

F-15C 55 new-build F-15Cs for Saudi Arabia
F-15D 19 new-build F-15Ds for Saudi Arabia

F-15J 203 F-15Cs for JASDF, most manufactured by Mitsubishi
F-15DJ 20 F-15Ds for JASDF, most manufactured by Mitsubishi
-------------------
1,230 TOTAL EAGLE PRODUCTION
-------------------
F-15E 236 USAF Strike Eagles
F-15S 72 F-15Es for Saudi Arabia
F-15I 25 F-15Es for Israel
F-15K 40 F-15Es with GE engines for South Korea
F-15SG 12 F-15Es for Singapore
-------------------
385 TOTAL STRIKE EAGLE PRODUCTION
-------------------


www.vectorsite.net...


Well I can't take credit for finding it but I will go through the information I was just made aware of by our old friend Zaph who deside even though on a break from ATS for work reason etc to fill me in about this site! check it out.
www.ejection-history.org.uk...
I'm now in the process of compiling the list of losses for airframe etc and country.

[edit on 30-1-2008 by Canada_EH]



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 08:08 PM
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F 15E - 19th January 1991 - shot down near AI Quaim, Iraq, by SA 2 while attacking a Scud site


This is extremely odd. How does a 1st generation Soviet SA-2 circa 1955 shoots down an advance strike fighter made in 1988?

The additional external ECM package is carried on special outboard wing hardpoints, because they are simply not able to carry heavy loads thus they are specifically assigned to the ECM pods.

I highly doubt that additional external ECM pods were not carried on a anti-scum mission with active SAMs in the area, so this is extremely strange.



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 09:27 PM
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May have happened for a number of reasons. ECM failure, unguided launch, RWR failure, high risk mission that required significant WEZ penetration, pilot buffoonery, just to name a few off the top of my head. And while the SA-2 is a 50s vintage SAM, the Iraqi's (and others) had some useful upgrades that made the system pretty potent, even by today's standards. The SA-3 in shootdown of the F-117 is another example. Goes to show that if the good old SA-2 and 3 can still get some love, just how dangerous the double digit SAMs are.



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 09:46 PM
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There are lots of odd things like a F-117 getting shot down by 1/2 Sa-2's as well. It happens in aviation. Also with the number of missions flown in DS its not too surprising that 2 aircraft where lost in that campaign to enemy fire. Anyways here is the USAF data on the F-15 and its losses. Again there is a lot of aircraft that the reason for its being written off isn't available.

USAF-------------------------------------------------------------------
F-15A - 373 built / 56 lost (MF=12/PE=20/Other=34)

F-15B - 59 built / 6 lost (MF=NA/PE=2/Other=4)

F-15C - 408 built / 57 lost (MF=8/PE=19/Other=30)

F-15D - 62 built / 4 lost (MF=1/PE=1/Other=2)

F-15E - 236 built / 14 lost (MF=4/PE=1/Other=4/Enemy Action=3)

Total = 1137 built / 137 lost to crashes

IDFAF------------------------------------------------------------------
F-15A - 23 built / 7 lost (Bird-strike=1/PE=3/Other=4)

F-15B - 2 built / 2 lost (Bird-strike=1/Other=1)

F-15C - 18 built / 1 lost (Other=1)

F-15D - 13 built / 3 lost (PE=2/Bird-strike=1)

F-15I/E - 25 built / NA lost

Total = 81 built / 13 lost to crashes

Saudi Arabia----------------------------------------------------------
F-15C - 55 built / 19 lost (PE=4/Other=15)

F-15D - 19 built / NA lost

F-15S/E - 72 built / 3 lost (MF=2/Other=1)

Total = 146 built / 22 lost to crashes

JASDF------------------------------------------------------------------
F-15J - 203 built / 9 lost (PE=5/Other=4)

F-15DJ - 20 built / 3 lost (MF=2/Other=1)

Total = 223 built / 12 lost to crashes

South Korea-----------------------------------------------------------
F-15K/E - 40 built / 1 lost (Other=1)

Singapore-------------------------------------------------------------
F-15SG/E - 12 built / NA lost

Holy that took a solid 2.5 hours off and on lol. Sad I know but its my evening I can do with it what I want
So at this point These figures maybe off by 1-2 for the number of losses but the site seems pretty solid.

And after all looking at all these figures I had to stop my self and read the story of many of the losses and the fact that many just say pilot killed and nothing else saddens me more then a bit. Most of these guys lost there lives in our service and the number of PE accidents that are the result of a mid air collision is starting to make me wonder how much more tech can be added to these planes to help not have these senseless deaths stop. The dangers of flight but also the thrill that I know as well at least lets me know that they all died doing what they love if only their stories was more well known.

[edit on 30-1-2008 by Canada_EH]

[edit on 31-1-2008 by Canada_EH]

[edit on 31-1-2008 by Canada_EH]



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 08:30 AM
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So a comparison now is in order. After running the numbers it seems that the over all percentage of exported F-16s lost in crashes is around 12.6% of the total that has been exported. In contrast to that the overall percentage of exported F-15s lost in crashes is close to 9.8% in total.

Out of interest as well the percentage of F-15s lost in USAF service is 12.1% so close to the exported loss rate of the 16s. But to also to put this in perspective we should have the loss rate for the USAF F-16 fleet as well.

After more research I found a estimated loss of 318 f-16 airframes of the usaf F-16 total production of 1245 16s. With that information The F-16s USAF lost in service is 25.5%. Much higher then the F-15 in the USAF but a smaller rate the the BAF and just a bit higher then the RNLAF.

So It makes sense but the final breakdown so you can see it is as follows.
USAF F-15 - 1138 built and 137 lost = 12% losses
USAF F-16 - 1245 built and 318 lost = 25.5% losses

[edit on 31-1-2008 by Canada_EH]



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:33 AM
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Great research, guys.

OK, so you now have overall crash rates for F-16 and F-15.

To establish if the F-16 airframe is 'a killer', then you have to eliminate all the PE crashes from the count, as the airframe (at least other than cockpit design, for instance) presumably doesn't contribute to the loss in those cases. (I'm not sure of the implications of the crashes that iskander mentions as being labeled PE but subsequently found to be otherwise - that is, I don't know if the cause has been changed in the stats you've gathered).

Likewise combat losses have to be subtracted from the total.

Finally, any differences between F-15 / F-16 may well be the difference between single and twin engined aircraft having the flame go out. The single / twin debate has been going on for years with pros and cons on both sides, but from the perspective of engine failure most parties concede that the twin engined aircraft will survive more often than the single.

There are many reasons for building and operating single engined fighters, among them less mass, smaller airframe, lower costs, sometimes better maneuverability, etc. But it must always be balanced against the fact that every engine failure results in an airframe loss (hopefully without the loss of life).

So if you wish to eliminate the single/twin factor, then you will have to reduce the F-16 stats by the number of engine failures (presumably if the F-16 had been a twin then it would have survived).

Unfortunately, there is really no other single engined FBW fighter in service except Gripen, and that really hasn't been in service for long enough, or in sufficient numbers to establish a long term loss rate, however a comparison with Mirage 2000 might be interesting.

iskander, do you have a total figure for the number of crashes where the cause has been amended due to those law suits?

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 31/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 10:51 AM
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reply to post by Canada_EH
 


Canada_EH,

I think you've got a wrong figure for USAF F-16s - I thought we established somewhere around 2500.

That would bring the loss rate back down around 12%, wouldn't it ?

Therefore, there is little difference between F-16 and F-15 losses as a percentage - I really would have expected a higher rate for the single engined type.

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 31/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:00 AM
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Originally posted by iskander
A crash just about every year is consistency.

Agreed no argument


Out of 12 losses, 3 were to collisions and 1 was shot down in Iraq, leaving 8 crashes to what, pilot error?

In my case I labeled cases such as the ones you listed from 50th that as no explanation as to the reason as Others in my breakdowns. If you can expand on the cases then maybe We can move them to either MF or PE.


I focused on the 50th specifically because it was high priority, top notch outfit, and not some 3rd rate puppet state air force.

True but the BAF is not a push over and its rate was a horrible 28.75 losses.


Well, in the case of Janet Harduvel verses General Dynamics that was the argument, and she won the case. It was actually proved in court, so there’s nothing really left to argue about because it was all done decades ago by a whole bunch of lawyers.


You always trust lawyers iskander
? Seriously though I did some hunting and Came out with a military release of information that will help in our search that was due to the case. Keep in mind this next number is incidents not accidents.


military maintenance records contend 138 instances from 1978 to 1982 in which wire chaffing was shown to be a problem in other F-16s


Also this was the final verdict.


Found from this pdf which does a good job in showing the wiring issue isn't just limited to the F-16 but is a issue to civil and military pilots everywhere.
www.publicintegrity.org...

Tthe question posed and with research done we now have to move on as said above by WW to trying to isolate the MF and PE and see where there is more etc. I don't really want to do this to USAF list though as with 408 separate accidents its not a small task. maybe later on or if someone else wishes to do so.

Link is here www.f-16.net...
And info to date is that 318 of the 408 listed have the aircraft listed as written off

[edit on 31-1-2008 by Canada_EH]

[edit on 31-1-2008 by Canada_EH]



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:08 AM
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reply to post by The Winged Wombat
 


Do we have a link for that 2500 number? I just realized that the figure I grabbed was the number in service (DOH)



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 11:10 AM
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reply to post by Canada_EH
 


A couple of pages back, Willard and I both did a count - mine came from f-16 net.com and seemed to be out of date, Willard came up with the higher figure.

The Winged Wombat




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