The 35th Fighter Wing plans to resume flying operations July 26, 2012 following a five-day review of the wing’s F-16s.
Col. Al Wimmer, 35th Fighter Wing and Misawa Air Base installation vice commander, ordered a temporary suspension to flying operations after a Misawa-based F-16 developed a problem in flight that ultimately resulted in the pilot ejecting from the aircraft over the North Pacific Ocean July 22.
Maintenance crews worked throughout the week to inspect all aspects of engines, fuel systems, flight controls, brakes, tires, tail hooks and ejection seats on the F-16s assigned to the wing. As a result, the wing determined its fleet of aircraft is operationally safe.
„Flight safety continues to be our main concern, and the 35th Fighter Wing has completed a thorough inspection of all F-16s stationed at Misawa Air Base and determined they have met all stringent safety standards,” Wimmer said.
„To further ensure our commitment to safety, all F-16 pilots were briefed on long duration mission and egress procedures,” Wimmer added. „We reviewed and emphasized all flying safety policies and procedures to include the different emergency procedures used during long flights.”
A team of investigators from Pacific Air Forces are scheduled to arrive today and tomorrow to continue to investigate the cause of the accident.
„There is nothing more important to the men and women of the United States Air Force than operating their aircraft in the safest manner possible,” said Wimmer. „It is essential that we resume flying operations to provide our pilots with the flying currency they need to sustain safe missions as we continue to meet our operational commitments.”
Wimmer emphasized the outstanding relationship the base shares with its neighbors in the Misawa City, surrounding communities and Japanese agencies.
„We are extremely grateful and honored by the support and cooperation from the government of Japan and Japanese agencies that took part in our pilot’s recovery, as well as our local Misawa City community,” said Wimmer. „All of us at Misawa Air Base appreciate the local community’s strong support and patience while we continue to investigate this accident.”