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Air Force releases findings of 2016 F-16CM mishap


Pacific Air Forces completed an Accident Investigation Board following a December 2016 aircraft mishap involving an F-16CM Fighting Falcon at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.


The board concluded that the primary cause of the mishap was the left main landing gear of the F-16CM striking debris on the inside Runway 09R (RWY 09R) after landing at Osan AB, causing the collapse of the left main landing gear. The AIB president also found that the poor condition of the runway and an increase in aircraft sorties contributed to the mishap.  The training and quick thinking of the pilot prevented the mishap from becoming a tragedy.


On December 4, 2016, around 5:57 p.m. local time the aircraft pilot approached the runway and successfully lowered the landing gear. The pilot landed on the left side of RWY 09R in accordance with normal procedures. A few seconds later, he felt a “bump” from under the aircraft and noticed the left wing of the aircraft was lower than the right. From the Osan AB control tower, the Supervisor of Flying noticed a bright “flash” from the left side of the aircraft followed by sparks from under the left side of the aircraft. The pilot attempted to use a right roll command to keep the aircraft level but was unable to do so. He determined he was going to depart the prepared runway surface at an unsafe speed and elected to eject from the aircraft in accordance with flight manual procedures.


The F-16CM and pilot were assigned to the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Since 1990, their primary mission is to train and participate in a series of exercises to maintain combat readiness for the air defense of South Korea. Osan is a critical base positioned in a strategic position on the Korean peninsula, which warrants a high operation tempo to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice.


The Accident Investigation Board, comprised of subject matter experts from aviation backgrounds, conducted a thorough review of all available evidence to determine the facts surrounding the mishap to discover the cause and any substantially contributing factors. There is a commitment to a thorough and accurate investigation to ensure that Pacific Air Forces is equipped with the knowledge and procedures to prevent an accident like this to happen again.