Go to contents

[Editorial] Crash of KF16 Is Humiliating to Korean Air Force

[Editorial] Crash of KF16 Is Humiliating to Korean Air Force

Posted July. 23, 2007 03:05,   


The Korean Air Force KF16 jet that crashed in the Yellow Sea resulted in the destruction of the airplane and the death of the two pilots. It is yet another tragic incident just five months after the same fighter jet crashed due to engine problems in February. It is disturbing that the jet model in question is the core fighter jet of the Korean Air Force.

The Air Force had faced hard times after the February crash, which forced its former Chief of Staff to resign. Kim Eun-ki, the new Chief of Staff, admitted, “The Air Force has a severe disease which requires an operation,” adding, “I’ll transform the organization into small but effective and strong air force by addressing hidden problems through painstaking efforts.” Nonetheless, the same thing has now happened. It makes one wonder what Kim will say this time.

The crash of the Air Force’s main fighter jet is a sign of the decline of the Air Force and the country’s ability to defend its airspace. The air force stopped flying the KF16 after the crash, causing disruptions to its training and defense of Korea’s airspace, and seriously undermining the management of the country’s entire armed forces. The incident also does enormous damage to the country. Apart from the loss of the 42.5-billion-won jet plane, the loss of the life of pilots cannot be calculated. It takes 10 years to train a skilled pilot. In this respect, people cannot trust an Air Force which make them uneasy and does damage to them, rather than protecting them.

The father of the deceased pilot, Captain Park In-cheol, was a major at the air force and died in a jet crash as well. Losing his father at age 5, Park In-cheol reportedly dreamed of defending the country’s air force by following in his father’s footsteps. The Air Force cannot be forgiven if their carelessness and complacency caused the tragic deaths of both a father and his son.

The investigation into the cause of the incident should not be solely left in the hands of the Air Force. The Ministry of National Defense should take charge. The ministry should held those responsible accountable, regardless of their rank. If there are structural problems that are hard to solve in terms of performance of the jet plane or the ability to maintain it, the ministry should be honest and come up with effective measures. It should neither downplay nor cover up the cause of the incident. A stopgap measure will spell a bigger disaster. The public no longer wants to see another young fellow Korean risk his or her life on board a KF16.