Thursday, May 15, 2014

Another F-16 Crash-Lands as Landing Gear Fails

For the second time in five months, an Air Force F-16 has crash landed. The latest accident occurred when a landing gear failure forced an emergency landing at the air base in Antofagasta. In October, another F-16 crash-landed when a tire blew on takeoff. And in March 2012, an F-16 had another landing-gear problem, resulting in a belly landing. All three mishaps involved the F-16 MLU (Mid-Life Upgrade) version, bought second-hand from the Netherlands, and all occurred at the same air base. Landing gear problems have been known to trouble the F-16 fleet, especially the older planes such as the MLUs. But the damage from a belly landing is fixable, and there's been no losses yet among the 46 F-16s that FACh operates. But it is a problem that has affected just the MLUs, at least in recent memory. And whenever an air force shares a runway with a civilian airport, as is the case with all Chilean air force bases, problems spill over to airline operations. This month's accident caused a four-hour runway closure that delayed a few flights.

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