Pilot Error Caused Strafing Accident

An F-16 pilot with the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB, Utah, momentarily lost visual reference during a nighttime training exercise April 8 at the Utah Test and Training Range, causing him to mistakenly strafe two soldiers in a sport utility vehicle instead of the intended practice target more than one mile away, Air Force officials said last week. The soldiers suffered minor injuries when escaping the vehicle as the shooting started. Salt Lake City’s Deseret News reported June 26 that the unnamed pilot, a major with more than 800 flying hours, will undergo additional classroom, simulator and flight training before he can be requalified to fly with the wing. The Salt Lake Tribune reported June 25 that the wing has implemented changes to its tactics and procedures to prevent another occurrence, citing Col. Scott Dennis, 388th FW commander.