Engine Failure Led to F-16 Crash

An unrecoverable engine malfunction caused an F-16 assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, to crash in August 2015, USAFE-AFAFRICA investigators found. The investigators concluded a structural failure of the bearing cage within the lower governor ballhead bearing caused the main engine control to malfunction and, as a result, prohibit fuel flow, according to an executive summary of the findings. The pilot was unable to restart the failed engine despite five attempts because the lack of fuel caused a loss of thrust. The pilot, assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem, ejected after jettisoning the fuel tanks over an unpopulated area and experienced minor injuries. The aircraft was destroyed on impact near Grafenwoehr, Germany. Loss of the jet was valued at $39.8 million. The investigation board found maintenance records did not suggest there were problems with the aircraft prior to the crash, according to a USAFE-AFAFRICA release announcing the findings. There were no civilian injuries or casualties. Non-US trees, shrubbery, soil, and crops were damaged. (See also: Jet Fuel Removed from Crash Site in Germany.)