A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet assigned to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, crashed at approximately 10:30 am on April 4 during routine training over the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR).
According to latest reports, emergency responders are on the scene and the condition of the pilot is unknown at this time. The Air Force said in a statement that the accident is under investigation.
While the F-16 variant involved in the crash hasn’t been identified yet, the Air Force has a squadron of F-16Cs at the airbase part of the 64th Aggressor Squadron for adversary air training. The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, Thunderbirds, which also flies F-16, is also based at Nellis AFB.
The incident marks the third crash of a U.S. military aircraft this week.
On April 3, a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter crashed in the vicinity of El Centro, California during a routine training mission along the U.S.-Mexico border, killing four crew members.
On the same day, a USMC AV-8B Harrier ground-attack aircraft crashed during takeoff from Djibouti Ambouli International Airport during a training exercise. The pilot ejected and is currently in “stable condition.”
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) for the United States Air Force (USAF).
Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft.
The Fighting Falcon’s key features include a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while maneuvering, a seat reclined 30 degrees to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system which helps to make it a nimble aircraft.
The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and 11 locations for mounting weapons and other mission equipment. The F-16’s official name is “Fighting Falcon”, but “Viper” is commonly used by its pilots and crews.
Although no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are still being built for export customers.
Over 4,500 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976. As of 2015, it is the world’s most numerous fixed-wing aircraft in military service.
In addition to active duty for U.S. Air Force (USAF), Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), and Air National Guard (ANG) units, the aircraft is also used by the aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and as an adversary/aggressor aircraft by the United States Navy. The F-16 has also been procured to serve in the air forces of 25 other nations.