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Nellis Air Force Base fighter jet crashes; no word on pilot

Updated Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | 9:48 a.m.

Crash vicinity

A U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon jet crashed near Caliente at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, officials at Nellis Air Force Base said.

As of this morning, the pilot still had not been located, officials said. A search and rescue team is searching for the pilot.

The plane crashed about 20 miles west of Caliente on Bureau of Land Management property.

The fighter jet from Nellis was participating in an air-to-air combat training mission when it went down, 1st Lt. Laura Balch said. Search and rescue units were scrambled to the scene, officials said.

The crash is under investigation.

The F-16 is a multi-role fighter that is capable of both air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. The F-16 was designed with proven reliable systems from other aircraft, such as the F-15 and the F-111, according to an Air Force fact sheet on the plane. The aircraft is controlled via a "fly-by-wire" system in which electrical wires relay pilot commands, replacing cables and linkage controls.

The $18.8 million plane, which is powered by a single jet engine, can reach speeds of 1,500 mph and has a range of more than 2,000 miles, the Air Force reports.

Sun reporter Aida Ahmed contributed to this story.

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  1. TomD: To avoid any confusion, you are correct; the generic thumbnail photo that appears only on the homepage as kind of an Air Force signature is an F-22 Raptor. No intention to represent it as an F-16.

  2. I hope that they are able to find the pilot and that he is safe. Any word if the pilot was able to eject from his craft? Also, does any one know if the crash happened during the actual training maneuver or was the sortie on it's way to or back from the training mission? I will keep this pilot in my thoughts, hoping that he is returned home safely.

  3. Thoughts and prayers are with the pilot, family, and friends.

    A month or so ago, word came from Nellis AFB that they were grounding some type of jet, wondering if this was the one? They just had a change in command, and maybe that was overlooked. Just wondering and saying. Again, this is a tragic loss.

  4. theopiated

    So sorry for your loss. On behalf of all of us - our sincere thanks to your family for the sacrifice your loved one has made in service to our country. God bless you.