Engine Malfunction Caused Bagram F-16 Crash in March

The failure of a turbine blade caused an F-16CM to crash less than a mile from takeoff at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on March 29, according to the results of an accident investigation released Wednesday. The aircraft and pilot were attached to the 421st Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah. The malfunction created “an uncommanded engine rollback shortly after takeoff, which triggered an unrecoverable compressor stall,” according to the report. The pilot executed a climb maneuver, reaching an altitude of 880 feet before ejecting and receiving only “minor injuries.” The aircraft was destroyed in the crash. The report states that, “given the close proximity of the crash site to the air base, the [pilot] ran from the landing site to the nearest air base,” despite the deployment of search and rescue helicopters. The investigation found that “maintenance actions complied with standard approved maintenance procedures.” Loss of the aircraft is estimated at $29 million plus damages paid to nearby farmers for the loss of their crops.