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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 46244
Last updated: 1 June 2020
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Time:14:40 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic F16 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
General Dynamics F-16C
Owner/operator:160th FSqn / 187th FWg Alabama ANG USAF (160th Fighter Squadronqn / 187th Fighter Wingg Alabama ANG United States Air Force)
Registration: 86-0348
C/n / msn: 5C-454
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Bobby Chain Airport in Hattiesburg, Forrest County, Mississippi -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Danelley Field/Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM/KMGM)
Destination airport:Hattiesburg Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport (HBG/KHBG)
Written off September 11 2002: Impacted the ground near Bobby L. Chain Airport in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The crash occurred about 2:40 p.m. The pilot had an engine flame out at about 22,000 feet. When that happened he headed for Bobby L Chain in Hattiesburg. He was approaching short of the runway and he punched out and the plane crashed about 600 feet short of the runway.

Pilot, Major Charles Toplikar, ejected safely with minor injuries. The primary cause of the accident was the failure of the high-pressure turbine post, allowing the HPT blades to break free and damage the engine. Unit had just passed 50,000 hours mishap free when this happened.

A major contributor to the crash was the failure of a cockpit electrical system that activates an emergency jettison system. This “externals stores jettison” (ESJ) system is tested routinely, although not very often. During its last test, several months before the crash, it performed properly. Almost two years before the crash, the aircraft completed several upgrade modifications during “depot maintenance” at Hill AFB, Utah. What follows is the official timeline concerning the ESJ system, taken from the crash report:

28 January 1997: Successful use of ESJ system in 86-0348 [the aircraft’s tail number] in an actual emergency.

4 April – 21 September 2000: Aircraft in depot. ESJ switch removed and reinstalled. [The cockpit systems had been upgraded, requiring removal of certain wiring near the ESJ connector.]

26 March 2002: Last SMS confidence check of ESJ by 187th FW maintenance personnel that was performed or required. Checks OK.

27 March – 10 September 2002: No maintenance actions were performed or required that involved the ESJ switch or the cannon plug.

11 September 2002: ESJ fails to function in MA [Mishap Aircraft]. Switch found disconnected in post-mishap analysis.

According to the investigation report, “… the only time that the ESJ switch was ever deliberately removed and replaced was during the Depot process of Falcon Up.” [Falcon Up was the name of the upgrade modification, which took over four months.]. According to the timeline, the ESJ worked after that time — during the confidence check, which took place almost six months before the crash.


1. [Scramble 284]

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Revision history:

04-Nov-2008 10:35 ASN archive Added
20-Nov-2013 06:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Source, Narrative]
21-Nov-2013 17:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
21-Nov-2013 17:25 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
21-Nov-2013 17:28 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code]
03-Jun-2016 10:47 Anon. Updated [Registration]
03-Jun-2016 10:48 harro Updated [Registration]
12-Feb-2020 15:27 Iwosh Updated [Operator, Operator]

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