U.S. Military Fighter Jet Crashes
BERLIN –– A U.S. fighter jet crashed near Trier, a German city by the Luxembourg border, killing the pilot, the military said Thursday.
The F-16 jet can carry a crew of one or two, but the pilot, from the 52nd Fighter Wing, was the only person aboard, said Maj. Scott Vadnais, spokesman for the U.S. Air Force Europe.
The pilot, based at Spangdahlem Air Base, was practicing "touch-and-go" maneuvers – touching down on the tarmac and immediately taking off again – when the plane crashed just short of the runway at 10:08 p.m. Wednesday, said Cmdr. Rex Totty, spokesman for the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
Neither the pilot's name nor further details were immediately available.
The F-16, a single-engine fighter, is a small and speedy plane with a sharp nose and a single tail fin. It can cruise at 1,500 mph – twice the speed of sound, or Mach 2 – and maneuver quickly enough to put nine times the force of gravity on plane and pilot. The $34 million planes can fight other aircraft or launch missiles against targets on the ground.
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