Air Force Command Headquarters yesterday confirmed that Taiwanese pilot Major Kao Ting-cheng (高鼎程) has been found dead after his F-16 fighter jet crashed at a training base in the US state of Arizona.
The jet fighter crashed during a routine training mission at 9am on Thursday, a statement issued by Air Force Command said last evening.
Kao, 31, was a 2007 graduate of the Air Force Academy and had logged 865 flight hours. He was dispatched to the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona for F-16 fighter jet pilot training.
Photo: Copy by Cheng Hung-ta, Taipei Times
Kao was assigned to the 455th Tactical Fighter Wing at the Chiayi Air Force Base, where he served with distinction and won accolades from his superior officers, Ministry of National Defense officials said.
The cause of the crash is pending further investigation, the statement said, and the Republic of China (ROC) Air Force is to send officials to Arizona to take part in the investigation.
Kao was not able to eject before the single-seat fighter, which belonged to the ROC Air Force, crashed during the routine training mission, the ROC Defense Mission in the US said.
According to foreign media reports, US military officials said the pilot was conducting air-to-air combat maneuvers over Arizona when the plane went down.
Air Force Command said it was helping Kao’s relatives travel to the US.
The US Air Force said it has formed a flight safety committee to look into the incident.
Kao is survived by his wife and two children, including a child born late last year.
Kao Ching-lin (高青淋), Kao Ting-cheng’s father, said his only son had dreamed of being a pilot since he was in high school.
Despite Kao Ching-lin’s opposition, Kao Ting-cheng joined the Air Force Academy. On graduation, Kao Ting-cheng was given the opportunity to undergo a training program in the US because of his proficiency in English.
US Air Force Brigadier General Scott Pleus, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke, said Kao Ting-cheng had been in a training program for the past six months at Luke, which is a major pilot-training base for the US Air Force and foreign military services.
The crash occurred in rugged terrain about 16km southwest of Bagdad in Arizona’s Yavapai County.
The crash site, in a sparsely populated area, was located by a helicopter crew about four hours after the plane went down.
Bagdad is about 137km northwest of Luke, which is located in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale.
Pleus said an interim safety board has been formed to conduct a preliminary investigation into the crash.
Recent crashes involving F-16s from Luke included one on a training mission in southern New Mexico.
That pilot ejected safely.
An instructor pilot and a student pilot also ejected safely in June 2013 after their two-seat F-16 hit several birds during takeoff from Luke. The jet crashed in a farm field.
A US Air Force investigation report said the instructor pilot was at fault in that crash because he made a rapid climbing turn after the bird strike, robbing the plane of airspeed and the ability to recover and return to the base.
In July 2008, an Ohio Air National Guard pilot died when he blacked out and his F-16 crashed in western Arizona.
A US Air Force investigation board found that the 26-year-old pilot made an improper turn during a dogfighting maneuver in which high gravitational forces came into play.
SWITCH TO BEIJING: The government severed diplomatic relations about an hour after Honduras announced the move, saying that no semi-official ties would be maintained Taiwan severed diplomatic ties with Honduras and ended all cooperation with the Central American country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, about an hour and a half after the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Twitter at 8am Taiwan time that the nation would cut its ties with Taiwan. Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Wednesday sent Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina to Beijing to negotiate the establishment of diplomatic relations. She announced the plan on March 14 on Twitter. “To safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity, Taiwan is terminating diplomatic ties with Honduras with immediate effect” after communication with
TRADE MISSION: After Fijian elections in December last year, pro-democratic parties formed a coalition and overruled a name change imposed by the former government The Taipei Trade Office in Fiji has been restored to its former name, the Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Republic of Fiji, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Fiji on Friday last week issued a note verbale to the office saying that the name change was retroactively effective from March 15, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Wallace Chow (周民淦) told a news conference in Taipei. The mission’s diplomatic privileges have been reinstated as stipulated in Fiji’s Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act, which was enacted in 1971, Chow said. Taiwan set up a trade
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday departed for a 12-day trip to China as scheduled, despite calls for him to cancel the trip after Honduras severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan as an apparent result of China’s dollar diplomacy. “This is my first trip to China. I was 37 when I began handling cross-strait affairs in the government. Now I am 73 and have waited 36 years for the visit. It is indeed a bit too long, but I am glad I can go,” Ma of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) told reporters at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. “Aside from paying respects to
‘INDISPENSABLE ROLE’: Despite stopovers in the US, Tsai said the aim of her trip is to ‘demonstrate determination to deepen exchanges’ with the allies of the nation President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday afternoon left Taiwan on a 10-day trip to Central America that includes stopovers in New York and Los Angeles. “Through this visit, I will express my gratitude to diplomatic partners for their support of Taiwan,” Tsai said at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport shortly before boarding the plane. The trip to Guatemala and Belize — her first overseas journey since the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping around the world in early 2020 — aims to “demonstrate Taiwan’s determination to deepen exchanges” with its Central American allies, she said. Tsai said that she and her delegation would also explore the possibility