The 20th Fighter Wing at South Carolina’s Shaw Air Force Base has a new commander, who is overseeing the establishment of new procedures in the wake of an F-16 crash near Charleston. The accident investigation cited lackluster maintenance as a key factor in the crash. Speaking at a media roundtable in South Carolina on Nov. 7, Col. Bill Hyatt said that the wing had implemented changes even before receiving the final investigation report. The Item (Sumter, S.C.) quoted Hyatt as saying the fact that maintainers did not have “complete control of parts and pieces” as they disassembled and reassembled engines “bit us.” Hyatt added that while technical procedures were not followed, “they also weren’t easy to follow.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.