Air Combat Command accident investigators found “clear and compelling evidence” that engine failure led to the crash of a Wisconsin Air National Guard F-16C on June 7 in New Chester, Wisc. “A failure of the power takeoff shaft forward main bearing assembly within the accessory gearbox” caused the crash, according to ACC’s accident investigation board report, issued Wednesday. The F-16, assigned to the 176th Fighter Squadron at Truax Field, took off on a training mission. Approximately one hour and 23 minutes after takeoff, the pilot experienced a sudden loss of thrust. Unable to restart the engine, the pilot ejected, sustaining only minor scratches and bruises. The F-16 impacted near an unoccupied private residence about 57 nautical miles northwest of Truax. Both the aircraft and residence were completely destroyed, according to the report. The aircraft’s value was pegged at $25.7 million. (AIB report; caution, large-sized file.)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.