July 28, 2015 by DAVID AXE - War is boring
A stray checklist and sloppy procedures might have caused a Greek F-16 to crash into a crowded tarmac
The twin-seat F-16D was airborne for just 7.8 seconds. Barely enough time for the two Greek air force pilots to register what was happening — and not enough time to safely eject before the single-engine jet fighter plunged to Earth, plowing into the crowded tarmac at Los Llanos air base in southern Spain during the middle of a NATO Tactical Leadership Program war game.
Ten people — eight of them French airmen on the ground — died immediately in the Jan. 26, 2015 incident, including the two flight lieutenants in the F-16, Panagiotis Laskaris, 35, and 32-year-old Athanasios Zagas. One French airman died in a hospital the next day, raising the death toll to 11. Thirty-three French and Italian ground personnel suffered injuries, some of them serious.
The accident also cost the Western alliance a staggering nine warplanes destroyed or damaged, including the F-16, two French air force Mirage 2000s, two French Alpha Jets, a French Rafale, two Italian AMXs and a U.S. Air Force F-15E. It appears only the F-15, one AMX and the Rafale were repairable.