Aviano-based pilot ejects safely in crash
An Aviano-based Air Force pilot safely ejected from an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet that crashed Tuesday evening in northern Italy, Air Force officials said.
The pilot, Maj. Timothy Palmer, assigned to the 510th Fighter Squadron, was treated Tuesday night at the Aviano Air Base Medical Treatment Facility and released Wednesday, base spokeswoman Capt. Jennifer Ferrau said.
Officials did not release information on possible causes for the crash, saying it’s under investigation, but ruled out terrorism.
“Although it is early in the investigation, military officials feel confident this was not an act of terrorism,” Ferrau said.
Palmer has been with the 510th Fighter Squadron for two years and is an experienced pilot, she said in a statement. Other details will be released when the investigation’s findings are announced, she said.
Palmer ejected safely from the fighter jet about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday while on a routine training mission. The jet crashed in a remote area in northern Italy, about 30 miles northwest of Aviano Air Base, according to the 31st Fighter Wing press statement.
The jet did not hit any homes, which are scattered across the mountainous region, said an official with the carabinieri Italian military police of Belluno province. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
“It went well, I would say,” the official said. “I think the plane came within 200 to 300 meters of some houses in that area.”
A board of qualified officers will investigate the accident, U.S. Air Force officials reported. The accident board is headed by a colonel who typically is a senior pilot, and other team members as deemed necessary, Ferrau said.
The investigative report usually takes 30 to 60 days.
The $18.8 million F-16 jet is a compact, multirole fighter aircraft, according to an Air Force Web site. The aircraft, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., has a wingspan of 32 feet, 8 inches and can reach a speed of 1,500 mph and Mach 2 at altitude.