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RSAF F-16 crash at Tengah Air Base caused by aircraft component malfunction; fleet to resume flying: Mindef

RSAF F-16 crash at Tengah Air Base caused by aircraft component malfunction; fleet to resume flying: Mindef
The cause of the RSAF F-16 jet crashing in Tengah Air Base has been determined.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) F-16 crash at Tengah Air Base on May 8 was due to an aircraft component malfunction, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) stated in a press release on Saturday (May 18).

American aerospace and defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin (LM) and the RSAF had conducted investigations following the crash of the F-16 last Wednesday and determined the cause of the accident to be the simultaneous malfunction of pitch rate gyroscopes.

"The flight data recorder recovered from the crashed F-16 showed that its pitch rate gyroscopes gave erroneous inputs to the flight control computer," the statement read. "This led to the pilot being unable to control the plane at take-off."

According to the release, all F-16 fighter jets are fitted with four such gyroscopes.

The simultaneous failure of gyroscopes is "very rare", so LM has no stipulated maintenance for the component.

Mindef also stated that this is the first such simultaneous malfunction of the pitch rate gyroscopes for the RSAF's entire F-16 fleet over the course of their 35 years of operation.

"The RSAF, with LM, will undertake further studies to determine the specific cause/s for the gyroscope malfunction that resulted in this crash," Mindef added.

The F-16 fleet will begin flying again, but with the added precaution of a check conducted for each F-16 pitch rate gyroscope prior to flights resuming.

Pilot conscious and stable

The pilot involved in the crash of the F-16 managed to eject from the aircraft to his safety.

According to a Facebook post by Mindef on May 8, the pilot—who has 2,000 flying hours on the F-16—encountered flight control issues upon lifting off the runway at Tengah Air Base for a routine training flight.

He was conscious and stable after undergoing a full medical examination that revealed no major injuries.

ALSO READ: RSAF F-16 jet crashes at Tengah Air Base; pilot ejected safely

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