Hi guys I'm back, but not really ready to be. As most of you know, I work as a flight line mechanic on F-16's for Lockheed. One of my duties is crew entry/exit assist. In other words, I strap in the crew and get them settled in prior to flight and reverse the procedure after flight. I'm usually the last to talk to them prior to canopy close and the first after canopy open. Got to work tonight and found out that one of my pilots busted his butt really bad this morning in rehersal for Aerobatic Show 2006 in the UAE.
Dan Levin was flying a UAE Block 60 F-16 that we had just delivered this fall. Aparently, Dan either started a loop low or had a density altitude problem. Either way, he hit the ground in full burner with a high sink rate. The aircraft bounced and prior to impacting the ground a second time, he punched out. We still don't know where in all of this he got injured, but his screwed up pretty bad and most likely will be partially crippled and not able to resume being an experimental test pilot.
As all of this information is hours old and has been relayed though various sources so I can't vouch for it all being correct. From the latest report we got tonight, Dan is in pretty bad condition. He has a shattered pelvis, compound fractures of both feet and ankles, possibly both shins too. A ruptured spleen, several broken ribs and a punctured lung.
It doesn't matter whether you giggle beads, rub Buda, turn towards Mecca, light a candle, wail at the wall or anything else, toss out some good thoughts and wishes and hope for the best, that Dan recovers 100% and is able to get moved back to the US soon. I know it can't happen soon enough, and I know it may never happen again, but I want to see him back in my run station in an F-16.