An F-16D Fighting Falcon undergoes repairs to the longeron due to cracks. This is one of the last aircraft to be repaired. (Image © Staff Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr. / USAF)

Massive grounding F-16D almost over

The massive grounding of 82 of the 157 Lockheed Martin F-16D Fighting Falcon jets in the US Air Force inventory is almost over. The flight stop was installed in Summer, after maintainers discovered cracks in the canopy of four Deltas – in the section that connects the “glass roof” between the front and back seats.

This so-called longeron is a major structural component that carries significant loads during dynamic flight operations of the F-16, according to the USAF. Of the 82 aircraft grounded, 32 belong to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base. There eight-man teams have been working in 12-hour shifts six days a week to get the two-seat F-16s flight ready again.

In November, the first F-16D was returned to operational status at Luke, which is THE F-16 training hub of the US Air Force. The final Luke Deltas are planned to get back in the air in January. The other 50 F-16Ds of the grounding belong to several other units and have already been repaired or will be repaired soon.

Source: US Air Force

An F-16D Fighting Falcon undergoes repairs to the longeron due to cracks. This is one of the last aircraft to be repaired. (Image © Staff Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr. / USAF)
An F-16D Fighting Falcon undergoes repairs to the longeron due to cracks. This is one of the last aircraft to be repaired. (Image © Staff Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr. / USAF)