CRASH: Belgian F-16AM Fighter Impacts Building

By Spyros Georgilidakis | July 2, 2021

A Belgian F-16AM fighter jet accelerated out of control at a Netherlands air base, crashing into a building. There were two injuries.

The incident happened yesterday (Thursday). Initial reports suggested that the Belgian pilot of this F-16AM aircraft was in the process of taking off. It now appears that the aircraft was still at the apron. The pilot was in the process of starting up the aircraft’s engine. But for as-yet-unclear reasons, the aircraft’s engine went to full power!

CRASH: Belgian F-16AM Fighter Impacts Building
Image: @aviationbrk via Twitter

The pilot reportedly tried to control the aircraft. Unfortunately, the F-16 started to gather speed. The Belgian pilot ejected when it was clear that stopping the aircraft was no longer an option. This is according to a briefing by the Commanding Officer of the Belgian Air Force, Major General Thierry Dupont.


The Belgian F-16AM Crash

Out of control, the aircraft struck a prefabricated structure, and stopped. Airport emergency services immediately attended the crash site, dousing the jet in foam and water. Belgian personnel was in this building as the F-16AM hit, with one technician receiving some injuries. Unfortunately, the Belgian pilot of the F-16AM suffered a broken leg during ejection. Emergency personnel took both of them to hospital. The technician left the hospital the same day.

CRASH: Belgian F-16AM Fighter Impacts Building
The crude arrows show stores, almost certainly inert/training only. The two underwing tanks are far more worrying. Image: @aviationbrk via Twitter

Both the Belgian and the Netherlands Air Forces have several F-16AM models in service. ‘AM’ and ‘BM’ aircraft began life as F-16A and F-16B models respectively. The new designation denotes that they have received substantial upgrades, in what was called the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) program.

However, both countries are in the process of replacing these jets with newer F-35A fighters. And in the process, they have already sold several of them, as their end of service approaches. In a separate story, the Netherlands are selling 12 of these jets to a private aggressor training company, in the United States.

An F-16AM during training in the US

Five Belgian F-16AM aircraft with crews, instructors and support staff are in the Leeuwarden Air Base in the Netherlands. This is because the crews are undergoing Weapons Instructor Training. Norway (another F-16AM/BM operator) is also taking part. Belgian and Dutch aviation authorities are already investigating this incident.



  • I saw thing very thing when I was in the US Air Force. The F-16 engine had been replaced but the mechanics forgot to re-connect the throttle. When the mechanics started the engine to check if it was working properly, the aircraft jumped the chocks and went across the flight line.

  • Wouter Anthierens

    An F-16 has a fuel shutoff valve above the right landing gear. It is the last panel to close by the crew-chief. He can keep the fuel shut-off closed in case of anomalies. ( but it requires some balls ), because a starving engine does strange things. The throttle is connected mechanically to the engine… I really wonder what went wrong, never heard of such a runaway during my career. ( at least not with a pilot in the cockpit )

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