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Squawks & HeadlinesSurprising Cause of Oshkosh F-16 Runway Overrun

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Surprising Cause of Oshkosh F-16 Runway Overrun

Submitted
Remember that runway overrun by an F-16C at Oshkosh last summer (see it on video here)? Plenty of armchair pilots speculated about why it might have happened, with possible causes centering on a what many presumed was a brake problem or perhaps too high an airspeed on final. It turns out that not a single one of us was right. An Air Force investigation made public this week revealed that a severely fogged-over canopy, caused by the failure of the F-16’s environmental control system, was to blame… (www.flyingmag.com) More...

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swampy2223
Ron S 4
Total bullshit answer = coverup
stol701
stol701 3
I always believe what the Air Force says.............
preacher1
preacher1 3
In that situation, why would anyone worry about a visual cue. As is said here by Monte and Fred, STOP THE PLANE any way and where you can or shove the throttles thru the firewall and go around. Sheesh!!!!!!!
preacher1
preacher1 1
LMAO!!!!!!
linbb
Boyd Butler 2
Stupid pilot thought about punching out of it? Why put on the brakes hard enough to get anti lock and hold them there,he needs to do something else it does not make sense. If it happened before landing why not go around then figure it out, I dont know if they have outside air but turning it on would have helped.
pmd603
Phil Day 2
you would think you would just apply brakes as hard as possible and stop quickly if you can't see.
jkudlick
I think part of the problem is training. You see, Navy and Marine Corps pilots are trained to stick all the wheels on the ground as soon as possible, while Air Force pilots are trained to keep the nose gear high to allow for as much drag braking as possible.

Go Navy! Beat Air Force! :)
dbrooks84
David Brooks 2
I looked at the video. Unfortunately it is not high resolution video. There are a few shots upon landing where you can see the canopy (between 11 - 14 seconds). It looks white (fog?) but there is a dark area where the canopy meets the fuselage. With no comparison video to see how that would look without problems, just have to go with what there is. So, it is possible that the canopy, front shield and cockpit could be fogged. The USAF says failure in the ECS. Only time I have seen fogging in the cockpit (or elsewhere) is sudden decompression. That happened on a 727-200 where a seal around the door where the galley is in back gave and instantly, the cabin was foggy.

I still don't understand what happened. If it were so bad he could not stop, how did he line up with the runway? Used instruments to land - ILS? Some blame has to go to the pilot even if there was an equipment failure (ECS).
preacher1
preacher1 1
Fogging is generally on the inside, and I don't know how it's heated, but they called this right on the pilot if the whole story is being told. We weren't there but he basically had to panic, otherwise he would have stomped brakes or went around and dealt with it.LACK OF VISUAL CUES????????
jimquinndallas
Jim Quinn 1
Right you are, Jeremy! And I've often been able to tell when former Navy and Marine pilots have been PIC on commercial airliners after a landing! I used to fly three or four segments every single week and had to chuckle on many occasions. One time while exiting the aircraft I heard the guy in front of me ask, "Okay... Which of you guys is the Navy pilot who landed this thing?" upon which the FO grinned broadly and pointed to the Captain, who immediately got a sheepish grin surrounded by a beet-red face! But I'd fly with those guys ANYTIME! And every Air Force pilot that I've known throughout my years, when pressured, admits that the carrier pilots are the best. Well, when their AF buddies aren't around, of course.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, I won't say we couldn't do it but as ex USAF crew, my hat is off to those Navy/Marine jocks that can grab a postage stamp in bucking seas at 150kt+. damn, I get the Heebie-jeebies looking at 6 o7 grand and wondering how I'm going to make it fit.lol
elfynh
Elfyn Hanks 1
That makes no sense at all. If I had been the pilot and couldn't see where I was going then I would just brake and pull up as soon as possible. I wouldn't be looking for visual clues. Also if it was that bad how did he manage to land on the runway in the first place.
I agree that this is a load of bull****
jimquinndallas
Jim Quinn 1
Gee, I wasn't there so I have no viable comment and I'd sure be hesitant to blame the pilot. Don't we see enough of than anyway? Pilot error? Especially when they're dead and cannot defend themselves? Not knocking anyone here, believe me, but the old saying "Oh, but for the Grace of God, go I!" seems to fit...
patsrichs
While at Shemya Island in the Aleutians, transportation was provided by MarkAir 737 Combis. Runway at Shemya was aligned to length of island rather than prevailing wind, thus normally high crosswind component. Most landings were white-knuckle (for pax) as pilots attempted to float the landing. One time, and one time only, the aircraft descended, smacked the runway solidly and stayed. My immediate thought, was Navy carrier pilot. Landing a bit hard, but only once and not three or four bounces per usual.
airclaxon1
Paul Claxon 1
I had a Cherokee fog up on take-off and had to go to instruments !
Wingscrubber
Wingscrubber 1
The ECS system failure, if it actually occurred was still only a factor. Cause was pilot error - should have been hard on the brakes or going around, as aforementioned by some of the other commenters. Duncan Mcloeds comment that it would have been inadvisable to accelerate into the pattern is valid except that an F-16 can climb VERTICALLY out of the pattern straight up to 30,000ft if traffic was really a concern.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, there are several good comments thru here and none of us were there, BUT, somebody said he carried the nose gear a couple of grand, which would indicate he was already down. Now, that, as one says, is either AirForce Training or as another says, Showmanship. At any rate, as wingscrubber says here, he can climb about straight up to 30000 if traffic is a concern, or slam down the nose and stand on the brakes. Real interesting.Not sure of the runway length up there, but if he was already into it a couple of grand, he apparently was too far gone to stop.
tarbaby
phil gibson 1
Pilot Error..........plain and SIMPLE!
num1tailhooker
The cause of this accident is 100% pilot error. Other factors may enter into the accident but regardless of the Air Force's attempt to move the cause of this accident to other than pilot error, pilot error it is. If the pilot had trouble seeing out of the cockpit he could easily have stayed airborne until the canopy was cleared by the application of heat and time. He could also have diverted to a field with a longer runway. The Air Force has never been comfortable with 8000 foot runways.
dbrooks84
David Brooks 1
The longest runway is 18/36 which is 8,002 x 150. The article indicated that was the runway used.
fpruitt
Fred Pruitt -3
WTF go around even a 10hr student knows that.
xAFFTCadmin
Gee, some of those commenting here are lacking in experience, reading comprehension, and common sense. For starters, and as was mentioned in the comments section of the Flying article, the "fogging" was not on the surface of the canopy. Rather, and as is not unheard of in high performance fighter aircraft, when the ECS failed a thick fog formed inside the atmosphere of the cockpit. This is not unlike flying in a cockpit full of smoke wherein you not only lose sight of the outside visual cues but also of primary flight instruments. With sudden ECS failure, this can happen in mere seconds.

Secondly, for those who asked, "Why didn't he just go around?" How advisable do you really think it is to accelerate blind down a runway and take off into one of the busiest circuits in the world...in an F16 no less? The pilot did what he could to ensure that, at the very least, his single plane accident did not become some sort of a mass casualty incident.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Before you place everybody in the totally ignorant category, re read the article yourself. It says fogging on the canopy first and then extreme cockpit fogging, and indicates that he was down, re the comments about stopping. ECS fogging is a well known happening but the articles emphasizes more on the canopy fogging so just don't get so damn high and mighty at 2am when everyone else is asleep.
dbrooks84
David Brooks 1
Remember that this problem occurred before landing. From the article "The Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board in Hampton, Virginia, said the pilot’s visual cues were completely obscured by fogging from the faulty ECS as he approached to land on the 8,000-foot runway." So, Duncan, the problem occurred be for he landed thus he could have executed a go around and tell the tower/FAA control to clear the airspace for him to clime.

I still don't know how the pilot managed to land on the runway wihtout visual cues. Fogging, at altitude, generally a result of sudden decompression.