Pilot Error Prompts April 2 Viper Crash

An accident investigation board has concluded that pilot error led to the crash of an F-16 on April 2 at Gila Bend Auxiliary Airfield in Arizona that caused “substantial damage” to the aircraft, according to a June 23 release from Randolph AFB, Tex. An unnamed student pilot going through instructor pilot upgrade training retracted the landing gear before advancing the throttle to full power to return to flight during a series of touch and go practice landings, which caused the aircraft to settle on the ground. The aircraft belongs to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Ariz. Neither the student pilot in the back seat, nor the IP in the front seat were injured in the accident.