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F-16 crashes during Holloman training mission; pilot safe

By DUANE BARBATI | Alamogordo Daily News, N.M. | Published: November 26, 2015

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (Tribune News Service) — A Holloman Air Force Base F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed during training northwest of Salinas Peak on White Sands Missile Range around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, an HAFB spokesman said.

Salinas Peak is between Truth or Consequences and Three Rivers about 50 miles northwest of Alamogordo.

A U.S. Air Force Accident Investigation Board will convene and then continue the investigation into the cause of the crash. The team will be selected based on knowledge of various specialties needed for an F-16 crash.

Holloman Director of Media Relations Arlan Ponder said the crash site is in a remote location in rugged terrain.

“The pilot successfully ejected and was transported to a local medical facility,” Ponder said. “He was part of a training mission. No live munitions were on board the aircraft. We’ve never had an F-16 crash at Holloman. This is the first.”

He said Holloman does not have any information on whether the aircraft was malfunctioning prior to the crash.

“We don’t have that information,” Ponder said. “When they stand-up the Accident Investigation Board then they will determine it. He is a 1st lieutenant assigned to the 314th Fighter Squadron at Holloman.”

He said Holloman is not releasing the pilots name at this time.

“He was not injured in the crash,” Ponder said. “We’re withholding the pilots name because of the Thanksgiving holiday. We’re withholding his name until he can talk to his family and assures them that he is alright.”

The $25 million aircraft was a single-seat model and part of a normal training mission from Holloman Air Force Base, he said.

Ponder said the aircraft was operating in military airspace over the White Sands Missile Range.

He said all flying operations for the day have ceased and will resume following the Thanksgiving holiday.

The 54th Fighter Group, a tenant unit of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., operates two F-16 training squadrons at Holloman.

©2015 the Alamogordo Daily News (Alamogordo, N.M.)
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