Pilot Error Caused F-16 Crash

An F-16 pilot’s failure to recover his aircraft from an inverted stall, along with the pilot’s complacency and errors in applying recovery procedures, led to the fighter’s crash in late December east of Fresno, Calif., announced Air Combat Command officials. The pilot, assigned to the California Air National Guard’s 194th Fighter Squadron in Fresno, was on an air-to-air training mission when his aircraft departed controlled flight and crashed on government land, according to ACC’s April 9 release, which discusses the findings of the command’s newly issued accident investigation board report. The pilot ejected; the F-16 was destroyed upon ground impact, a loss of approximately $21.4 million, states the release. The AIB found that the pilot “failed to properly apply out-of-control recovery procedures” after the stall. The board president noted that three human factors were primarily responsible for the mishap: “complacency evident throughout the entire flight, pressing the equipment beyond reasonable limits, and procedural error in the last few minutes of flight,” according to the release.