WASHINGTON – A Taiwanese F-16 fighter jet made an emergency landing at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Hawaii on Monday afternoon, and the U.S. Air Force pilot who was flying the aircraft was taken to the hospital for treatment, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
According to officials, the aircraft appeared to have problems with its landing gear and the pilot declared an in-flight emergency and landed. A netting barrier was used to slow and stop the plane, and the nose gear collapsed after contact with the net, officials said.
The pilot was not identified and was not seriously injured, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details prior to the completion of the investigation.
The U.S. routinely sells F-16s to Taiwan. Officials said the pilot took off from an Air Force base in the continental U.S., and was scheduled to stop in Hawaii en route to Taiwan.
The U.S. has programs to retrofit and upgrade older models of the F-16 for Taiwan, as well as plans to deliver new models of the aircraft. It wasn't clear if the fighter jet was new or an older version.