Losses and Aviation Safety

Wisconsin Air National Guard F-16 crashes, Pilot’s Status ‘Unknown’

Emergency responders are on scene. The cause of the crash, as well as the status of the pilot, are unknown at this time, and the incident is under investigation.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field Air National Guard Base in Madison crashed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.

At the time of the incident, the aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board.

Emergency responders are on scene. The cause of the crash, as well as the status of the pilot, are unknown at this time, and the incident is under investigation.

The 115th Fighter Wing will provide an update via the 115th Fighter Wing website and social media pages as soon as additional details are available.

The Wing said on its Facebook page that it planned to conduct training flights in the evening Monday through Thursday.

“Area residents may see or hear F-16 fighter jets taking off or landing until approximately 10:00 p.m. Training flights normally take place during daylight hours, but pilots and maintenance personnel are required to conduct evening/nighttime operations as part of their overall readiness. Pilots will follow flight paths designed to minimize noise to area residents,” the wing wrote on Sunday on Facebook.

A total of 341 USAF F-16s were destroyed from 1975 to 2020. By comparison, only 126 F-15s were destroyed during that same time period. According to Air Force Magazine, Fiscal 2014 was the most recent year in which no F-16s were destroyed. In that time, six people died from F-16 mishaps. Six jets were destroyed in fiscal 2015, five in fiscal 2016, two each in fiscal 2017 ,2018, 2019 and three in 2020. At least two F-16s were irreparably damaged every year from calendar 1979 to fiscal 2013.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations. The F-16 evolved from a 1972 USAF Lightweight Fighter prototype program which sought a small, lightweight, low cost, air superiority day fighter designed for high performance and ease of maintenance. It achieved combat-ready status in October 1980.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-16C Fighting Falcon 158th FW, 134th FS, 86-0336

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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