COLORADO SPRINGS - Lax maintenance procedures are being blamed for the June 2nd crash of a Thunderbirds F-16C during the Air Force Academy's commencement.
The report released by Air Combat Command cited a build-up of debris and excessive wear-and-tear within the throttle trigger assembly that caused the trigger to become stuck in the pressed in position.
The pilot of Thunderbird 6 inadvertently placed the throttle in the cut-off position, something that would not happen if proper maintenance had occurred, according to the report.
Without thrust at low altitude, the pilot was unable to begin an engine restart, so he waited until the aircraft was in a safe location just south of Peterson Air Force Base before ejecting.
The pilot sustained a minor injury. The $29 million aircraft was a total loss.