Air Force Releases Its Investigation into F-16, Cessna Collision

An F-16CM and a private Cessna collided in July 2015 because neither aircraft could see each other and there was poor direction by an air traffic controller, causing the aircraft to crash and the pilot and passenger of the small plane to die, the service announced Friday. The F-16, assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C., was traveling to Charleston, S.C., when a controller directed the Viper to turn 180 degrees near a small airfield near the town of Moncks Corner. A Cessna 150M had taken off and was ascending into the path of the F-16. The Air Force pilot had an obstructed view and insufficient time to avoid a collision. The investigation found that the controller’s direction to send the F-16 to a near uncontrolled airfield, the timing of those directives, and the pilot’s non-use of additional systems such as those that scan for civilian transponders contributed to the crash. The crash killed Michael Johnson, 68, and his son Joseph Johnson, 30, both of Moncks Corner. The pilot ejected and sustained minor injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board has already released its investigation into the mishap. (Read the AIB report; caution, large-sized file.)