F-16 Hard Landing Wickenburg Airport

October 22, 2009

This morning at 10:30 I was walking to the FBO at Wickenburg Airport from the tarmac when I heard the roar of a jet engine and observed an F16 on final to runway 5.

As F16’s don’t normally land at civilian airports, especially out in Wickenburg, and as the altitude seemed a little low as it cleared the hilltops just south of the runway, I knew something was wrong.

Just prior to US 60, which is south of the airport, the pilot of the F16 pulled the nose up to what I felt was almost a 30 degree angle in an attempt to clear the fence separating the runway and the highway. At that time the plane appeared to stall in mid air, falling straight down into the dirt and gravel approach area, several hundred feet prior to the runway.

As the F16 continued toward the runway apron, the right wingtip slammed into the dirt and parts began separating from the aircraft.

At this time I began yelling to others in the area to call 911 that an aircraft had crashed, ran to my truck, driving into thick dust that was from the aircraft running off the runway and into the dirt.

As I approached and the dust started to settle, I was relieved to see two airmen running away from their aircraft.

Making sure that they were ok, I called 911 to report that both airmen were uninjured.
As I was calling in, I overheard the two saying that they were relieved that they made it in safely without having to eject.

I’m not sure what the cause of their emergency landing at Wickenburg Airport today, but I’m relieved and thankful that both of these brave airmen were able to walk away from this terrible incident.

Here is a news report of the incident: http://www.azfamily.com/news/local/F-16-makes-hard-landing-at-Wickenburg-airport-65615462.html followed by some photos I took with my Ipohne

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