F111 lands without undercarriage 18 Jul 06

#1
quite impressive - Australian F111 landing without undercarriage last week.

http://media.theaustralian.news.com.au/f111_player.htm

F-111 pilot graduated two weeks ago
Email Print Normal font Large font File photo: A Royal Australian Air Force F-111.
Photo: RAAF
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Video: Watch the emergency landing
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AdvertisementDavid Braithwaite
July 18, 2006

A Royal Australian Air Force jet bomber that crash-landed at its south-east Queensland base was being flown by a pilot who had graduated from flight school only a fortnight ago, the RAAF says.

Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd said the pilot was one of the most junior with the F-111s, having graduated from the basic conversion course two weeks previously.

He was doing an operational upgrade, and flying with one of the nation's most experienced F-111 navigators.

"The fact that he was able to bring the aircraft down in such a very good way, I think bears well the training that we do,'' he said.

As a result of the incident, Australia's fleet of 26 F-111 aircraft have been temporarily grounded by Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.

Dr Nelson said the grounding was necessary to ensure there was nothing structurally wrong with the bombers.

The RAAF has revealed the reason behind the incident was the loss of the plane's main left wheel shortly after take-off.

Speaking to smh.com.au this afternoon, the group captain at the Amberley base near Ipswich, Leo Davies, said the flight tower had watched as something fell from the F-111 as it retracted its wheels.

"In the process of the [landing] gear coming up, the tower told them that they believed something fell off," he said.

"We then had a look at what that it could have been and we found the wheel quite close to the runway."

The plane had taken off on a normal training mission planned for northern NSW and southern Queensland about 10am.

Once the tower alerted the pilot and navigator about the missing wheel and after a two-hour period of planning, involving them dumping fuel in nearby Moreton Bay, they were told to attempt a belly landing.

Group Captain Davies said this was based on the past experience of the US Air Force, which had successful landed an F-111 without its landing gear a few years ago.

The plane completed the landing successfully at Amberley about 2.10pm.

It raised a shower of sparks as it touched down but did not catch fire.

Emergency vehicles immediately surrounded the aircraft as it slid along the runway.

Within seconds of it stopping, its two crew members got out as fire engines sprayed it and the runway with foam.

Group Captain Davies said the pilot and the navigator's run from the plane was planned, so as to allow the firefighters immediate access to the plane.

"They were very focused [and] need to be congratulated on doing a great job."

An RAAF website says the F-111 has a crew of two, the pilot and a navigator who operates the weapons systems.

While some training missions did use live ammunition, this plane had not been equipped with live ammunition. The fuel was not jettisoned to reduce the danger of an explosion, but to allow the plane to cruise in more slowly to landing, he said.

The formal assessment of the damage to the plane needed to be completed, but, at the moment, the RAAF was hopeful it would be back up in the skies again, Group Captain Davies said.

"As soon as we have determined what caused the wheel to come off, and not affect[ing] the rest of the fleet, we'll have the aircraft airborne again.

"We'll have the F-111 around for a few [years] to come and we're flying it quite successfully."

He said the accident today had "no impact whatsoever'' on any plans to withdraw the ageing F-111 - due to be replaced in 2012 by the troubled-plagued F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - from service.

It is believed eight F-111s have crashed since they began operating in Australia in the 1970s, killing 10 crew members.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/f111-makes-emergency-belly-landing/2006/07/18/1153166360133.html
 
#3
Good work fella. The definition of a good landing is one you can walk away from!
 
#5
IrishGuard, that is a terrific set of photos, I only saw the one black and white photo, I think it was in the British newspaper The Times.

Bye the way, is that Michael Collins?

Zapata rides!
 
#6
They had the pilot and navigator plastered over most television newscasts the day or so after. I swear the poor guy stayed bright red all the time. You could not have a conversation without someone saying "Did you see the...?". Watching the video of them circling and the low fly practice runs was very interesting from a non-pilots POV due to the amazing skills demonstrated. Well done to them all for landing safely and with style.
 
#7
NOWAH

Is that an arrestor hook I see?

They never land those big boys on carriers so I presume they have them "just in case".

OK so the pilot has got some minerals but - can he tab with weight?

LB
 
#8
March 92 at FIDAE (the Chilean equivalent of Farnborough) the '92 Season Harrier Display Pilot (now a Gp Capt) did a "touch and go" without wheels down (unintentionally, he had turned warning alarms off and in the thick of display, forgot to put wheels down). Luckily strakes were fitted, as opposed to Aden pods, and the aircraft went round again, landed properly and, following a checkover was displaying again less then two hours later! Chileans loved it!!
 
#9
LostBoss said:
NOWAH

Is that an arrestor hook I see?

They never land those big boys on carriers so I presume they have them "just in case".

OK so the pilot has got some minerals but - can he tab with weight?

LB
The F111 was also designed to be a Naval cab. It was originally going to replace USAF and USN F4's. (Not even going to mention the debacle ref TSR2 and the UK).

The hook was used in this instance to keep it straight down the runway and also to slow the bloody thing down!


A hell of a feat concidering the pilot had only finished his F111 conversion two weeks prior. If I was in his position, I'd have pulled yellow and black and banged out! (Geek mode- the F111 has an escape capsule as opposed to ejection seats and by all accounts, its an emotional trip to earth).



 
#11
Trevelez said:
Video Here

As I recall the RAF used to cover the runway with foam for this type of incident, or am I out of date?
Yes - I also seem to remember that an Autopilot blow up doll deploys if the pilot has eaten the salmon mousse and a foxy hostess can - in an emergency - reinflate him via a tube in his groin.
 
#12
IIRC they (media reports at time) said the arrestor hook was being used because they (RAAF mob) were unsure if they (pilot) would stop in the runway length.
 
#13
A great bit of flying, good airmanship from a newly qualified pilot, and I am sure some good support from the experienced Navigator. The crew walked away, there fore its a good landing.... I am sure a few beers were enjoyed that night!
 
#14
Bet the groundies bitched like mad after that, the FOD plod must have taken ages :D
 
#15
Most fast jets have a hook to engage the Raised Hydraulic Arrestor Gear which is basically the same gear as on a carrier. Much respect to that jockey.
 
#18
Looked like one of the bods stayed with the aircraft a little longer than the other... think he might have been putting the safties back in the ejection system... If so that bloke must find it difficult to walk with balls that size... Myself i'd of been foxtrot oscaring at a rapid rate of knots....
 
#20
fatcakes said:
Looked like one of the bods stayed with the aircraft a little longer than the other... think he might have been putting the safties back in the ejection system... If so that bloke must find it difficult to walk with balls that size... Myself i'd of been foxtrot oscaring at a rapid rate of knots....
I am not a bomber/ fighter pilot, but my sixpence worth of opinion says that the first one to get out is the Navigator, who sits in the right hand seat, as by convention the pilot in command (ie the Captain, or the single pilot) sits in the left hand seat. So you guessed right, the pilot had a few bits and pieces to sort out, shut down, pull every fire handle and fire bottle and cut off switch known to man, and then leg it!
 

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