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Air Force officials release F-16 accident findings

7/8/2008 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- Air Force officials here on July 3 completed its investigation of the March 14 F-16 Fighting Falcon accident in Arizona that resulted in the death of the pilot.

2nd Lt. David J. Mitchell, 26, of Lorain, Ohio, was assigned to the 62nd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

The accident investigation board determined the cause of the mishap was Lieutenant Mitchell's loss of consciousness due to not properly managing high gravitational forces while executing a turning maneuver.

At the time of the mishap, Lieutenant Mitchell was flying a training mission involving simulated air-to-air combat "dogfights" between himself and the mission instructor pilot, Lt. Col. Pablo Sanchez, the 62nd Fighter Squadron commander.

The $22 million aircraft went down in an unpopulated Bureau of Land Management wilderness area 71 miles northwest of Luke AFB. The F-16 was a total loss and there were no other injuries or property damage as a result of this mishap.

The accident investigation board president was Brig. Gen. Richard T. Devereaux, the 82nd Training Wing commander from Sheppard AFB, Texas.

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