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The F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of the most popular fighters of the last decades, but it seems that time starts to make a dent in it.
An F-16C (960080) of the Viper Demo Team of the United States Air Force (USAF) was doing an air show at that festival – held annually at RAF Fairford, England – when the plane suffered an alarming mishap: they started to detach pieces of its starboard stabilizer, without any evidence that it suffered any impact at that point.
According to Flugsnug, “the pilot left the exhibition, climbed above the cloud base and remained there for about 10 minutes to verify the situation, before descending and landing safely.” The plane that starred in this incident belongs to the 480th “Warhawks” Hunting Squadron (480 FS) based in Spangdahlem (Germany).
The 960080 is an F-16C Block 50 that entered service on December 4, 1998 , joining the 23rd USAF Hunting Squad at the aforementioned German base in July 1999. It was deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. on three occasions: June 2006, September 2007 (with the 22nd Hunting Squadron) and July 2009.
Flugsnug has published a high quality video that shows the exact moment of the slow motion accident:
In this other photo published in Reddit, we see in more detail the damage to starboard stabilizer: