EAA AirVenture 2011 F-16 Runway Incident
Photo by: Cornelis deKoe Cornelis Koe Don Thun
Here's a snapshot link to the EAA F-16 incident: http://rcavi8tor.zenfolio.com/p745115097/h12e023d5#h12e023d5
Click on the slideshow button in the upper right for a full screen image
While viewing the Warbirds on display in the Warbird Pavilian at the 2011 EAA AirAdventure there was a loud unmistakeable WHUMP!!! It's one of those sounds you don't forget if you have herar it before. Two F-16s had landed on Runway 18 but the second F-16 went off the North end of the runway near the Warbird area. Visible damage to the F-16 was a collapsed nose gear which dug into rain softened dirt and stopped the aircraft a few feet after the end of the runway. In the photos taken by guest photographer, Cornelis deKoe, the pilot can be seen getting out and running from the aircraft. The crowd did not take this hint and ran towards the F-16 to see what happened. Apparently few people were aware that the F-16 carried Hydrazine to power the APU so the pilot would have electrical power and hydraulics to be able to fly the aircraft in case it lost an engine. Hydrazine will kill in about a minute if breathed or if it gets on the skin making it an extremely dangerous chemical. Fortunately that did not happen but it is a reminder of an old adage "I'm a bomb expert, if you see me running, TRY to keep up!!!!"
No one was hurt and the visible damage was limited to the F-16's nose gear and nose cone. Fire crews were on the F-16 within a couple of minutes. Smoke could be seen coming from the tailpipe and in one photo for a brief moment flames erupted but quickly subsided. Cornelis deKoe who was watching the landings of the two F-16s said she was unable to hear any sound from the engine of the second F-16 like she had heard from the first F-16 that landed. She said that it didn't appear to have brakes and was rolling too fast to stop at the end of the runway. A couple of days later the nose cone and other parts had been removed from the F-16 in preparation for its removal. Not to be outdone an F-86 Sabre Jet did the same thing during the afternoon airshow a couple of days later. The F-86 remained on its gear and the minor damage was limited to wheels and brakes.
Thanks to Cornelis deKoe for generously sharing her photographs of the injured F-16. Cornelis is our first guest photographer.