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Engine defect caused F-16D fighter crash in March: Air Force

All News 17:55 June 10, 2016

SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- A defective engine component was found to have caused the crash of a South Korean F-16D fighter jet during an air strike exercise in late March, the Air Force said Friday.

The single-engine combat airplane plunged into an uninhabited hill in Cheongsong, 322 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on March 30 while engaging in an air-to-ground strike drill.

Two pilots ejected from the aircraft without serious injuries, and no civilian-related damage was reported.

A defective plate covering the turbine of the aircraft's engine came apart during the flight, resulting in the engine failure that brought down fighter jet, the Air Force said after its investigation into the accident.

"The troubled component developed a hot tear in the manufacturing process and the crack got larger as time went by, eventually resulting in the fracture," the Air Force said in a statement.

The defect was acknowledged by the engine maker, Pratt & Whitney, which later enhanced related manufacturing processes, according to the statement.

The Air Force's entire F-16D fleet has since undergone a quality test, it also said.

In light of the investigation result, the Air Force is planning to lodge a damage suit against the U.S. engine manufacturer, an Air Force official noted.

The Air Force's F-16D fleet and other F-16-based fight jets will resume flight on Tuesday after further safety checks and pilot education, the official also added.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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