ST Picks: How the failure of a crucial component led to F-16 crash in Tengah

4 weeks ago 34

Updated

May 21, 2024, 08:13 PM

Published

May 21, 2024, 11:25 AM

SINGAPORE – The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has cleared its F-16 fighter jets to resume flying after identifying the reason behind a crash in early May.

An F-16 jet crashed inside Tengah Air Base as it took off for a routine afternoon training mission on May 8.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said on May 18 that the aircraft’s flight data recorder showed that erroneous inputs from its pitch rate gyroscopes – a component crucial for flight control – led to the crash.

The pilot of the F-16C single-seat fighter jet reported encountering flight control issues. He responded in accordance with emergency procedures and successfully ejected from the aircraft.

The ministry said the pilot suffered slight injuries and was taken to hospital for observation, while no one was injured on the ground.

Following the crash, the fleet of F-16s was grounded while the investigation was conducted.

The F-16s were cleared to resume flying on May 18 after checks were completed.

The Straits Times spoke to a number of former RSAF F-16 pilots and engineers introduced by Mindef, as well as an experienced defence source, to find out more about how the failure of the pitch rate gyroscopes contributed to the crash.

1. What is a pitch rate gyroscope?

Former RSAF pilot Ong Swee Chuan said the component, which is used in most modern aircraft, determines if the plane is pointing up or down and sends that data to the flight control ...

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