The U.S Air Force finally found a potential fix to repair F-16D Falcon longeron crack reported in August. According to media reports, the repair process is expected to begin today and will be ready for verification within weeks.
The proposed permanent repair would involve installing a strap over the cracked longeron, instead of replacing it, US Air Force Materiel Command spokeswoman Sue Murphy said.
"The scope of work will involve removal of cockpit equipment to facilitate repairs, installation of the repairs, and reinstallation of the cockpit equipment. The longerons will not be replaced unless needed for other reasons (which at this point it not anticipated to apply to most jets)," she added.
The cracked longerons are original to the aircraft, and were not upgraded under the Falcon Star program, according to Murphy, who also noted that a temporary fix would have enabled quick resumption of flights, but was deemed risky and hence abandoned.
The USAF grounded an entire fleet of 82 F-16D aircraft in August after time action compliance technical order (TCTO) found structural cracks in the canopy sill longerons between the front and rear pilot seats.
Longerons are load-bearing aircraft structural parts that run along the fuselage providing the airframe with its strength.