ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 34713
Last updated: 17 May 2019
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:16-NOV-2000
Time:15:48
Type:Silhouette image of generic F16 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed-Martin F-16CG
Owner/operator:United States Air Force (USAF)
Registration: 89-2104
C/n / msn: 1C-257
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Bradenton, FL -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Moody AFB, Georgia (VAD/KVAD)
Destination airport:Moody AFB, Georgia (VAD/KVAD)
Narrative:
A formation flight of two F-16s departed Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia, on an IFR flight plan leading to the entry point for a low-altitude military training route located near Sarasota, Florida. The flight lead pilot was provided an air traffic control (ATC) frequency change from Miami Center to Tampa Approach.

The flight was unable to establish communications with Tampa Approach because an incorrect radio frequency was given to the flight lead by Miami Center. The flight lead re-established radio contact with Miami Center, cancelled the flight's IFR clearance, and proceeded under visual flight rules (VFR). The controller acknowledged the cancellation, advised the F-16 flight lead pilot of traffic in his vicinity, and asked the flight lead pilot if he wanted VFR flight following (a service that includes VFR radar traffic advisories on a workload-permitting basis.). The flight lead pilot declined.

The Miami Center controller then informed Tampa Approach that the flight lead pilot had elected to terminate ATC services, but did not specify that there were two aircraft in the flight. Tampa Approach procedures did not require that the controllers use flight strips (which would have included the number of aircraft in the formation), so the Tampa controllers had no other information indicating that there were multiple aircraft present.

Continuing their descent under VFR, the two F-16s assumed the "fighting wing" formation. This placed the accident F-16 on the left side of the lead aircraft and approximately 0.7 miles in trail.

The accident F-16's transponder was inactive, as is normal for formation operations, making the aircraft significantly less conspicuous on ATC radar than it would be with an operating transponder. At an unknown point in the flight, the F-16 lead pilot's navigation system developed a position error and was indicating that the aircraft was several miles from its actual position.

The pilot failed to recognize the error, and was attempting to visually locate the entry point for the training route based on the erroneous navigation data. Because of the lead pilot's loss of situational awareness, the two F-16s inadvertently descended into the Class C airspace surrounding the Sarasota, Florida airport without establishing required communications with ATC.

Meanwhile, a Cessna 172 (registration N73829) departed Sarasota under VFR and contacted Tampa Approach. The Cessna pilot was instructed by the developmental controller receiving instruction to maintain 1,600 feet, turn left to a heading of 320-degrees, and to follow the shoreline. At 15:47:10, he was instructed to climb and maintain 3,500 feet. Miami Center contacted Tampa Approach at 15:47:55, and asked for the altitude of the F-16s.

Although the Tampa controller was not in contact with the F-16s, he was able to locate the flight lead on the radar display and informed Miami that the flight lead was at 2,000 feet. A conflict alert between the lead F-16 and the Cessna activated 10 times between 15:47:39 and 15:48:03. The developmental controller stated that he heard an alarm, but could not recall where it was. The controller providing the instruction did not recall if he saw or heard a conflict alert, and no conflict alert was issued.

There was no alert generated between the accident F-16 and the Cessna because the conflict alert system requires that both aircraft involved have operating transponders. The developmental controller informed the Cessna pilot at 15:48:09 that he had traffic off his left side, but received no response. The controllers were unaware of the position of the other (accident) F-16 in the formation flight.

At 15:48:53, the lead F-16 transmitted, "Mayday, mayday". At 15:49:14, the flight lead pilot followed with, "Mayday, mayday, mayday, F-16 down." Examination of the wreckage of both aircraft determined that the accident F-16's left wing and cockpit area collided with the Cessna 172's right forward side (nose) and cabin area.

Sources:

1. NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20001212X22313_
2. http://www.f-16.net/f-16-news-article35.html
3. http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1989.html
4. http://web.archive.org/web/20170218164837/http://www.ejection-history.org.uk:80/Aircraft_by_Type/F-16/USAF/f_16_USAF_00s.htm
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradenton,_Florida
6. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gerrit_kok_collection/8292285634/
7. USAF Accident report: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.aviation.piloting/E35JUprsnBM


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
19-Nov-2013 19:12 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
20-Nov-2013 23:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
17-May-2019 12:53 TB Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Location]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description