AOPA has obtained a video of the radar return and radio calls for the March 21 incident in which an F-16 pilot flew in close formation with the unsuspecting pilots of a Pilatus PC-12 and a Beechcraft Premier jet flying through an active military operations area. The pilots took aggressive maneuvers to try to prevent a midair.
The F-16 pilot, based out of Luke Air Force Base, was reprimanded. Luke officials have told AOPA that they will alter their local training program to avoid this type of encounter in the future.
AOPA has recommended that the Air Force and the FAA develop a way for center controllers to communicate with military controllers in real time. The two were not communicating at the time of the March incident.
Watch the close call and listen to the pilots’ frantic radio calls as they try to avoid the F-16.