HomeNewsArticle Display

SPATIAL DISORIENTION CAUSES F-16 CRASH, PILOT DEATH

Navy divers from Mobile Diving Salvage Unit 2, Company 4, prepare to dive from the salvage vessel USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53), Feb 14, 2013. Navy divers are performing deep sea salvage operations from Grapple to help find wreckage from an F-16 Fighting Falcon which crashed in the Adriatic Sea, Jan. 28.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

Navy divers perform deep sea salvage Feb. 15, 2013, recovering the wreckage of an F-16 Fighting Falcon that crashed into the Adriatic Sea Jan. 28, 2013. The divers, from Mobile Diving Salvage Unit 2, Company 4, prepare to dive from the salvage vessel USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53). (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez/Released)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- Spatial disorientation led to the destruction of an F-16 Fighting Falcon and the death of its pilot Jan. 28, 2013, over the Adriatic Sea, according to U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa officials.

The recently released accident investigation board report said evidence pointed to the pilot suffering symptoms of spatial disorientation from a combination of weather conditions, the pilot's use of night vision goggles, the aircraft's attitude and high rate of speed, and the pilot's breakdown in visual scan. The pilot ejected, but he did not survive the crash. His body was found Jan. 31, three days after he and his fighter jet went missing nearly 150 miles south of Aviano.

Assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron, the pilot was flying an aircraft assigned to the 510th FS, both of the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy. Mishap cost was estimated at more than $28 million, the report said.