Fri, Jan 09, 2004
awareness was the likely cause of an F-16 Fighting Falcon crash in
South Korea on Sept. 9, a U.S. Air Force investigation team
Capt. Kevin Dydyk, of the 35th Fighter Squadron at Kunsan Air
Base, South Korea, sustained minor injuries when the aircraft he
was flying crashed into the Yellow Sea about 56 miles southwest of
Neither Captain Dydyk nor Capt. Tood Houchins, an instructor
pilot flying another F-16, gained enough situational awareness of a
low-altitude condition early enough to prevent the crash, according
to the investigation report.
Captain Dydyk was flying lead in a two-ship training formation
over the Yellow Sea when the mishap occurred.
On the final mission of the day he unknowingly set-up and
began the engagement 800 feet above the briefed "floor"
altitude limit of 5,000 feet.
Captain Houchins made the "fight's on" call, Captain Dydyk began a
series of maneuvers resulting in the aircraft descending below the
altitude limit. When he realized his altitude he immediately called
"terminate" and began recovering. Three seconds later he ejected
and the aircraft hit the water one second later.
Search-and-rescue personnel rescued Captain Dydyk after about 90
minutes. Investigators determined Captain Dydyk failed to
crosscheck his aircraft's altitude during the mission engagement
and did not know his altitude or proximity to the water
until he reached about 1,500 feet above the sea.
Investigators also determined Captain Houchins failed to
recognize the non-standard set-up before the start of the mission.
Captain Houchins was not aware of either aircraft's proximity to
the floor or the water until the mishap aircraft hit the water, at
which time he recovered his own F-16 aircraft 450 feet above the
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