Last month’s KF-16C crash attributable to maintenance error: Air Force

SEOUL– The South Korean Air Force on Friday attributed last month’s crash of a KF-16C fighter jet to a maintenance error that led to the abrasion of a fuel pump part and an engine stoppage.

Wrapping up a monthlong investigation, the armed service said that the crash on Nov. 20 was ascribed to a failure by maintenance staff to lock a nut — used to fixate the drive shaft of the engine fuel pump — during maintenance work in 2010.

The absence of the nut caused the abrasion of a cogwheel on the drive shaft, which blocked the normal transfer of fuel to the engine.

Following the investigation, the Air Force has been carrying out special inspections on the same engines installed in fighters to determine if there is any such problem.

Some 200 engines are subject to the inspections, and about 40 of them have already been scrutinized. The Air Force plans to resume the operation of fighters with the examined engines on Monday.

The military is considering seeking disciplinary action as well as legal punishments against the maintenance staff, officials said.

The single-engine jet of the 19th Fighter Wing crashed in a mountainous area, about 20 kilometers west of an air base in Wonju, some 85 km east of Seoul. Its pilot ejected safely.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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