F-16 Fighter Jet Crashes in Arizona After Pilot Ejects Safely

The Associated Press
June 16, 2000


SELLS, Ariz.— An F-16 fighter jet crashed today east of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, a spokeswoman at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona said. The pilot ejected safely.

Senior Airman Jill Propst said the Luke-based plane went down during a training exercise southwest of Sells in southern Arizona.

The pilot was being taken to a hospital to be checked out but appeared to be fine, she said.

The F-16 is a $20 million jet used for air-to-air combat and air-to-surface combat missions.

Luke, based in suburban Phoenix, is the world’s largest F-16 training base, flying more than 100,000 sorties a year.

The Fighting Falcon

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of the most widely used fighter jets in the world, with over 4,000 aircraft sold by its maker, Lockheed-Martin, to 19 air forces around the world. It is used in air-to-air and air-to-surface attacks. Since it first went into service in 1979, it has become “the most sought-after fighter in the world,” according to its manufacturers.

The U.S. Air Force describes it as a relatively low-cost, high-performance aircraft that “has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack.”

The F-16 is considered a backbone of the U.S. Air Force, playing vital roles in recent conflicts. During the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the fighters were used to attack airfields, military factories, Scud missile sites and other targets.

All active units and many Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units now use the F-16C/D, the most recent and advanced version of the aircraft, with up-to-date cockpit control and display technology. It seats one pilot.

The jet’s official top speed is 1,500 mph, with a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet. The craft uses one M-61A1 20mm multibarrel cannon, and can carry as many as six air-to-air missiles, as well as conventional air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronic countermeasure pods. Each F-16C/D costs more than $20 million, the Air Force says.


Copyright 2000

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