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F-16C accident investigation complete

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AETCNS) -- The Air Force has completed its investigation of the April 11, 2006, F-16C accident near Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., which resulted in the loss of the 56th Fighter Wing aircraft.

The accident investigation board (AIB) determined the cause of this mishap to be an engine explosion. The board report said the explosion was a result of the F-16C engine's Rear Compressor Variable Vane (RCVV) system malfunctioning.

According to the report, "Analysis of the available data [cited] the most probable cause of the malfunction was the RCVV system's EHSV [Electro-Hydraulic Servo Valve]." This resulted in incorrect throttle response to the pilot's commands putting fuel into a hot, but shut-off engine. This event caused an explosion in the engine and ultimately a non-recoverable engine stagnation and crash.

The mishap aircraft pilot, Capt. Jason E. Attaway, assigned to the 62nd Fighter Squadron, had just departed Luke AFB as the second aircraft in a two-ship formation on a basic fighter maneuver mission when the engine malfunctioned.

At the direction of the instructor pilot, Maj. Steven J. Speckhard, Captain Attaway attempted to return to the base, but with the loss of engine thrust the F-16C began losing airspeed and altitude. When Captain Attaway realized he would not be able to make it back to the runway at Luke AFB, he leveled the wings and ejected.

The aircraft crashed into a cornfield and was completely destroyed. The environmental clean-up was accomplished at the crash site after wreckage removal and the field was returned for agricultural use.

The AIB was headed by Col. Kevin C. Kriner, 71st Flying Training Wing, Vance Air Force Base, Okla.