The Crash of 279

JAN 19 2007, Owens Lake, CA-An F-16C (84-1279) assigned to the 194th “Griffins” FS , 144th FW, Fresno ANG Base, crashed near Owens Lake in remote eastern California, but the pilot safely ejected and was not hurt.

An engine failure in the jet caused the pilot to bail out, Guard officials said.

The jet (#84-1279) was one of five F-16C fighters headed to a routine training exercise Friday morning. Col. Ryan Orian, vice commander at the base, said the pilot still was en route to the mission area when he noticed a problem.  The engine rapidly lost power and when the engine quit, the pilot ejected successfully.

Crash Investigators have said a loose high-pressure fuel line brought on “engine fuel starvation.”  Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board reported Thursday that bolts connecting a fuel line  to the main fuel control unit “were not properly torqued after recent routine maintenance,” causing the fuel line  to become loose during flight.

The last crash involving an aircraft at the base was in 1997.

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