F-16 fighter jet pilot ejects from crash landing in Air Force's eighth major incident in recent months

The 49th Wing at Holloman Air Force Base trains F-16 Viper pilots and is the 'cornerstone in providing combat-ready aircrew' of the US military

Justin Vallejo
New York
Tuesday 14 July 2020 18:51 BST
49th Wing Mission post advert 5 days before crash

An F-16C Viper pilot survived after ejecting from a crash landing at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, the US Air Force said.

It is the base's second loss of an F-16 since October and the latest in a series of major incidents for the Air Force in the past two months.

The pilot, assigned to the 49th Wing Command, is being treated for minor injuries after the Monday evening crash at 6pm local time.

In a statement, Holloman Air Force Base said the pilot was the only person onboard and that emergency teams responded to the crash.

"An investigation conducted by a board of qualified officers is underway to determine the cause of the incident," the statement said.

It is the second crash of an F-16 from Holloman since 30 October 2019, in which the pilot also survived after ejecting from a night training sortie about 80 miles south-east of the base.

The 49th Wing trains F-15 Viper pilots and MQ-9 Reaper pilots, as well as provides combat-ready airmen and delivery of airfield resources to support more than 21,000 military personnel, according to the unit's "mission video" posted just five days before the latest incident on 13 July.

"The 49th Wing operates multiple F-16 Viper flying training units who practice year-round in the skies of New Mexico, as well as through dissimilar air combat training with different units and airframes across the country," the video says.

The latest crash follows a collection of US Air Force incidents in the US, the UK and Iraq over the past two months.

On 30 June, an F-16CM Fighting Falcon pilot was killed during a "routine training mission" at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

On 15 June, a US Air Force F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing in the United Kingdom crashed in the North Sea, killing pilot Kenneth "Kage" Allen.

On 19 May, a pilot survived after ejecting from an F-35A Lightning II from the 58th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

On 15 May, another pilot ejected from an F-22 Raptor assigned to the 43rd Fighter Squadron that crashed during a training routine in May, also near Eglin Air Force Base.

On 8 June, the landing gear of an F-25A Lighting II assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing collapsed on the runway after a routine training flight.

Also on 8 June, a C-130H Hercules cargo plane overshot the runway in Iraq and burst into flames after hitting a wall.

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