Skip to comments.Aviano based F-16 crashes in Adriatic [USAF, 31st FW]
Posted on 01/28/2013 7:18:56 PM PST by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
Italian newswires are reporting a USAFE F-16 has crashed into the Adriatic. The status of the pilot is currently unknown.
Early reports which have yet to be confirmed indicate the F-16 was part of formation of jets when it crashed. Search and Rescue is currently underway to recover the pilot.
The plane lost contact with the control tower at about 1900 GMT and the Italian coast guard has also joined in the search in the Adriatic Sea, where the jet is presumed to have gone down.
From Stars and Stripes:
The search continues for an American F-16 pilot whose jet went down Monday night while flying over the Adriatic Sea.
U.S. military officials were working with Italian military and civilian teams to locate the pilot from the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The pilot lost communication about 8 p.m. It was unclear six hours later if he managed to eject safely, Aviano spokesman Master Sgt. Michael OConnor said.
The search was focused on waters off a roughly a 9.5-mile stretch of coast between Cervia and Cesenatico in the northwestern end of the Adriatic, The Associated Press reported.
Search teams were working under the assumption that the aircraft crashed, Aviano officials said.
The search for and rescue of our pilot is our top priority, said Col. David W. Walker, 31st Operations Group commander. We want to assure the family and friends of the lost airman that we are doing everything we can for this effort.
The Air Force also was hoping to recover whatever remains of the multimillion-dollar jet.
Another U.S. F-16, based in Japan, crashed into the Pacific Ocean in July while en route to Alaska. The pilot ejected and was plucked from the water several hours later.
The ejection process is designed not only to get the pilot out of the aircraft but also to activate a search-and-rescue distress call for the aviator. A typical ejection seat includes a parachute, self-inflating raft and basic provisions.
With the pilots fate unsure, the mood at Aviano was muted, OConnor said.
Anytime you have something like this happen, it hits everybody pretty hard, he said.
Most F16 pilots seem to survive. I spent two years at a combat wing with two squadrons of the. I think they lost about 6 planes during those two years and all the pilots survived.
Getting in the raft in frigid water would be quite tough though. Prayers for this pilot.
Fighter aircraft are dangerous sitting on the flightline with all the pins in.
The Fox report on this was really skewed. The reporter talked about the number and frequency of F-16 crashes. But she neglected to mention that there are more F-16s (1,018) hence more flying hours that any other USAF airplane. (Compare to 468 F-15 C/E or 187 A-10s)
Single engine is always going to be an issue.
Maybe somebody should tell Fox that in the last 10 years, the F-16 has a record of successful ejections of 100% (if they didn’t make it, it’s because they didn’t pull the handle). And you’re right, the F-16 is the workhorse of the fleet. Nobody is racking up flight hours like the F-16.
Man, any idea which Sq. it was? I was 31TFW (308th) when it was at Homestead...
I hope the pilot is ok.
Yes it is dangerous. I was granted an incentive flight in a D model a long time ago. Pretty cool hour and twenty minutes.
Same plane went down a couple months later on an incentive flight. Pilot had time to direct it to the ocean so it wouldnt kill someone. They splashed down in 50 degree water but were fortunately picked up by a fishing boat.
Another time I picked up pieces of one that went down in a rice paddy, boy that was fun. /s
No argument there. When a C-130 was running on one engine it was time to get worried.
Not sure of the squadron. Pilot has been identified as Capt. Lucas Gruenther, 31st Fighter Wing chief of flight safety. They’re still looking for him.