Engine Anomaly Doomed Misawa F-16

The uncommanded closure of the main fuel shutoff valve on the engine of an F-16C flying from Misawa AB, Japan, on July 22, 2012, led to the airplane’s crash in the Pacific Ocean, announced Pacific Air Forces officials on Tuesday. They cited the findings of its accident investigation board. The aircraft, assigned to Misawa’s 14th Fighter Squadron, was part of a four-ship formation of F-16s en route from Misawa to Eielson AFB, Alaska, to participate in a Red Flag training exercise, according to the AIB report’s executive summary. The F-16 experienced a loss of engine thrust from which the pilot was unable to recover, states PACAF’s Feb. 19 release. The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered without injury. The F-16, tail number 92-003886, crashed in waters approximately 750 miles northeast of Misawa and was destroyed, an estimated loss of $32.6 million, according to the documents. The board could not determine why the valve closure occurred due to the loss of certain pieces of aircraft equipment in the ocean, states the executive summary.