Pilot Ejects from F-16 Crash at Holloman Air Force Base

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with details on the pilot’s condition.

An Air Force pilot ejected from an F-16 fighter jet assigned to the 49th Wing at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., when it crashed April 30, the base announced. The crash happened at about 11:50 a.m. local time, west of the base near White Sands National Park. 

The only person on board the jet, the pilot “was transported by ambulance for medical care,” the base said in a Facebook post. Later that evening, officials said in a release that the pilot was in good condition and had been released from a local hospital.

Certain areas of the park were closed to the public to allow for emergency response. The wing commander, Col. Justin Spears, thanked a long list of agencies including local and state police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and a U.S. Army Air Flight Detachment for helping out.

“They were vital in the response efforts,” he said in a statement. “On days like today, we are incredibly proud to be part of this amazing community.”

“An investigation conducted by a board of qualified officers is underway to determine the cause of the incident,” the base wrote. “Additional details will be released as they become available.”

The mishap comes about three months after an F-16 crashed in South Korea on Jan. 31, the third such crash on the Korean peninsula in nine months. All of the pilots of the downed aircraft ejected safely. The last time an F-16 crashed in the continental U.S. was on March 23, 2022, when an Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16 came down in western Louisiana. The pilot ejected safely from that crash, too.

From 2010 to 2021—the latest year for which the Air Force Safety Center has published statistics—33 F-16s have been destroyed in mishaps, or 2.75 per year. 

Holloman is one destination where rated Air Force pilots learn how to fly the F-16 in a 37-week Basic Course, also known as the B-Course. Graduates of the B-Course go on to operational assignments across the service.