A loss of hydraulic pressure prevented a military pilot from controlling an F-16 jet that crashed into a warehouse last year just outside March Air Reserve Base in California, according to a newspaper report Thursday.
The pilot ejected and parachuted to safety before the Air National Guard F-16 slammed into the warehouse on May 16. There was no explosion from the crash and no serious injuries among workers at the business.
Two valves were improperly installed on the jet, resulting in damage that caused hydraulic fluid to leak, according to a 22-page U.S. Air Force report obtained by the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
The valves were part of a flight-control system that was overhauled in January 2019. They were installed in the aircraft months later after a possible hydraulic leak was discovered, according to the report dated April 14.
“The evidence also indicated an inadequate overhaul process that lacked an effective procedure to identify improper installation of ISA check valves,” the report said.
The F-16 was one of two jets performing drills 120 miles east of the air base on the border of the cities of Riverside and Moreno Valley.
The pilot, the only person on board, burned off fuel before ejecting, according to the report.
The F-16 was assigned to the 114th Fighter Wing at Joe Foss Field in South Dakota and ran some missions for the 144th Fighter Wing at March, the newspaper said.