Two F-16Cs assigned to the District of Columbia Air National Guard’s 113th Wing last week collided in midair during a routine training mission off the coast of Chincoteague, Va., about 70 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. The Coast Guard recovered one pilot who ejected from his aircraft following the Aug. 1 collision, according to the unit’s release. The second aircraft was able to return home to JB Andrews, Md. Medical personnel evaluated both pilots at Andrews; they released one and transferred the second to Bethesda Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., for further treatment of minor injuries, states the release. “We are extremely fortunate to have lost only metal, and not the life of one of our airmen,” said Brig. Gen. Marc Sasseville, 113th WG commander. “I wish a speedy recovery to our pilots, who serve their country with professionalism and dedication” he said. The cause of the mishap is under investigation. There have been 17 Class A F-16 crashes, meaning an accident that results in more than $1 million in damage, from Fiscal 2010 through late June 2013, according to Air Force Safety Center statistics.
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.