180th Fighter Wing and Whitehouse agencies conduct aircraft crash stimulation

WHITEHOUSE, OH (Toledo News Now) - The 180th Fighter Wing along with other local agencies conducted a simulated aircraft crash exercise at Blue Creek Metro Park in Whitehouse on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Ricardo Colon says the burning diesel fuel simulates a F-16 fighter jet crashing over an open field.

"The intent is to practice the response from the civilian and military response as far as containing the fire, rescuing the pilot and getting all the materials associated with the crash," said Colon.

The pilot in the simulation safely ejected and landed in the Whitehouse Quarry. The Whitehouse Fire Department then placed a raft in the water to rescue her.

Whitehouse Deputy Chief Joshua Hartbarger says this is a great training for all the agencies. 
"The pilot extraction I think was one of the best chances for us," said Hartbarger. "We've never had situation like that so it was neat to see the full aspect of what it really took to coordinate that effort."

Hartbarger also says communication between the different agencies was a huge focus.

"We had some really good luck with communication," said Hartbarger. "Everything worked as it should, but with our job we want to make sure communication is a top priority."

The last accident involving an F-16 from the 180th base was back in 1996 when two pilots ejected over northern New Mexico.

Chief Hartbarger says even though these accidents don't happen often, the training is truly beneficial.

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