F-16 Belonging To The Wisconsin Air National Guard Crashes In Michigan (Updated)

The aircraft crashed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during a night training sortie. 

Wisconsin ANG

A Block 30 F-16 Viper belonging to the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field Air National Guard Base in Madison crashed at around 8:00 pm local time on December 8, 2020. The aircraft went down on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. 

A release from the 115th Fighter Wing reads in part:

...At the time of the incident, the aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board. Emergency responders are on scene. The cause of the crash, as well as the status of the pilot, are unknown at this time, and the incident is under investigation...

115th Fighter Wing

Michigan Live has posted the following regarding the ongoing response to the incident: 

The crash occurred north of the U.P.’s Garden Peninsula, near the border of Delta and Schoolcraft counties in the Hiawatha National Forest. U.S. Forest Service workers joined with local authorities to set up a perimeter and begin the search late Tuesday.

According to U.P. media reports and unconfirmed police scanner traffic from emergency crews in the area, authorities had located a crash site and also had a broad area identified that could be the pilot’s ejection site.

Just days prior to the crash, the 115th Fighter Wing had announced that its Vipers would be executing night training from December 7th to the 10th. 

We will update this post with additional information as it becomes available. 

Update, 5:40 am PST: The 115th Fighter Wing has provided the following update on the situation:

The search for the pilot continues and the pilot’s status remains unknown at this time. The 115th Fighter Wing participated in a coordinated search effort with local emergency responders, the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies overnight. Search and rescue efforts on the ground, in the air, and in the water continue. The crash site, located in Delta County, Michigan was initially secured by local emergency responders, but military personnel and safety and security personnel from the 115th Fighter Wing are now on site. Additional personnel will be sent later today to help facilitate the safety and security of the crash site. “We are a close-knit family and when an incident like this occurs, every member in our organization feels it,” said Colonel Bart Van Roo, 115th Fighter Wing commander. “The safety of our pilot along with search and rescue efforts are our top priority, and we will continue to pray for the pilot’s safe return”. The incident remains under investigation.

Update, December 10: The 115th Fighter Wing has published the following statement, confirming the sad death of the pilot involved in the accident:

The Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing announced today the death of an F-16 pilot who crashed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, December 8. Per Department of Defense policy, the 115th Fighter Wing will not release the pilot’s identity until 24 hours after notifying the service member’s next of kin. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss; our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” 115th Fighter Wing commander Col. Bart Van Roo said. “Today is a day for mourning, the 115th Fighter Wing and the entire Wisconsin National Guard stands with the pilot’s family as we grieve the loss of a great airman and patriot.” The 115th Fighter Wing is appreciative of the community support provided to its members and will release additional details as they become available.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com