Fog on the Flight Deck Led to F-16 Overrun
at AirVenture 2011
An F-16-C sustained $5.4 million in damages when it over-ran Runway 36 at AirVenture Oshkosh last summer, according to an Air Force investigation.
February 21, 2012 – Extreme fogging on the flight deck of an F-16C led to a 300-foot runway over-run that caused $5.4 million in damage to the aircraft at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011, according to an Air Force investigation released today. The F-16's pilot was unharmed during the accident, but the aircraft's nose wheel broke off as it hit soft soil, breaking both the nose and avionics bay.
The Associated Press reports that the pilot, assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron, 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field, Alabama, briefly experienced vertigo and considered ejecting but decided to land because he was worried about spectators' safety.
Investigators found that as the aircraft was coming in to land on the 8,000-ft Runway 36, the F-16's environmental control system caused fogging that obscured the pilot's vision and hindered him from conducting normal landing procedures. The pilot tried to apply de-fog procedures during the landing but they failed, the report stated.
"He was extremely concerned about the crowds to the left of the runway along with the other planes," the Air Force report stated. "He focused on maintaining control and ruled out ejecting as an option in order to guide the plane safely. Clearly, his attention was centered on completing a safe landing."
Also from the report: "The [environmental control system] had a significant impact on the [mishap pilot's] execution of normal landing procedures, and the lack of visual cues precluded his ability to establish an effective aerobrake to stop the aircraft in the available runway distance. Without visual and instrument references, the [mishap pilot] cannot adjust the pitch altitude of the aircraft with any degree of precision."
If not for the lack of visual and instrument references, the pilot "could have come to a complete stop on the runway and still had about 1,000 feet of runway remaining," according to the report.
The investigation was conducted by the Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Hampton, Virginia.