COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — An Air Force Thunderbirds jet that crashed in June happened because of a throttle malfunction, according to investigators.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports the malfunction on the F-16 jet caused the pilot to accidentally turn off the engine.
The pilot safely ejected moments after flying over the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony that was attended by President Barack Obama on June 2.
The $29 million jet was destroyed after crashing south of Peterson Air Force Base. There were no injuries.
The accident review board found that when pilot Maj. Alex Turner pulled back the throttle to reduce engine power for a descent, he pulled it so far that it killed the turbine. The engine was shut down three times, the report said.
“After beginning landing procedures, the pilot inadvertently rotated the throttle, placing it into an engine cut-off position,” Air Combat Command said in a statement.
“Normally, this full rotation cannot occur unless a throttle trigger is affirmatively actuated or pressed. However, the throttle trigger was ‘stuck’ in the ‘pressed’ position. The accident investigation board observed debris accumulation in the throttle trigger, combined with wear on the trigger assembly.”