Human Error Caused Fatal F-16 Crash

The pilot’s failure to recognize his altitude during nighttime training mission while practicing low-altitude, high-angle strafing led to the crash of an F-16 on June 22 at the Utah Test and Training Range about 100 nautical miles southwest of Hill AFB, Utah, Air Combat Command announced Monday. The pilot, Capt. George Houghton, was killed upon impact, and his F-16, assigned to Hill’s 388th Fighter Wing, was destroyed, ACC said, citing the findings of its accident investigation board. The AIB determined that Houghton was “likely focused on visually positioning himself for an attack and was unaware of his low altitude.” There was no evidence that he attempted to recover from the diving approach on the target or that he attempted to eject. The AIB found that Houghton’s relative inexperience flying F-16s—he had 155.6 flight hours—contributed to the mishap. (ACC release) (AIB executive summary)