Engine Failure Doomed F-16

Catastrophic engine failure caused an F-16C to crash on the flight line of Joint Base Balad, Iraq, Nov. 12, 2008, Air Combat Command announced yesterday. The F-16 was deployed to Balad’s 55th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from the 20th Fighter Wing, at Shaw AFB, S.C. According to the findings of ACC’s accident investigation board (AIB report), the aircraft was initiating an afterburner takeoff when a second-stage disk fan in the engine failed, causing fan section components to tear through the rest of the engine. Investigation analysis discovered a previously undetected sub-surface crack in the disk, but could not determine the root cause of the crack. The F-16, worth $28.8 million, was destroyed during ground impact and the subsequent fire, but the pilot was able to exit the aircraft safely and sustained no injuries.