On the morning of 11th October, a certain aircraft technician in Belgium was about to have a REALLY bad day a work.
A day filled with drama, machine gun fire and explosions. A day at the end of which two F-16 fighters worth over $30,000,000 would lie in ashes.
Routine maintenance gone terribly wrong.
The technician was working on an F-16 fighter at Florennes Air Base in Belgium. Nothing special, just a routine maintenance.
But then, somehow, he accidentally triggered the six-barrels 20mm Vulcan cannon of that F-16.
Unfortunately, the cannon was loaded. And some of the bullets, each of them almost the size of a small beer bottle, hit another F-16 standing nearby.
This alone would be quite a disaster. But to make things even worse, the second F-16 has just been refueled.
As you probably suspect, nothing good can arise from the combination of 20mm bullets and jet fuel.
Unsurprisingly, the second F-16 exploded and damaged a third F-16.
An accident with a happy ending?
It could have been worse. Ultimately, neither of the nearby technicians got seriously injured. They only suffered minor hearing damage but received medical attention on the spot.
Regarding the damaged planes, Belgium’s Ministry of Defense issued a short statement confirming one plane was destroyed, while other suffered collateral damage.
In the end, the Belgian Air Force has been left with 60 active F-16 aircraft remaining. And we think that 60 is a nice round number, much nicer than 62.
It’s just a shame that each of the damaged jets normally costs around $15 million.
We can only hope that Belgium’s government won’t ask the poor guy to pay for all the damage he caused.