Category Archives: Aviation Safety

US Navy bids farewell to the T-2 Buckeye trainer

On Sep. 25, the venerable T-2 took its final flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, ending a 56-year career.

Developed to be used from early flight training right on to carrier indoctrination, the first single engine North American T2J-1 (later designated T-2A) was delivered to the Navy in July 1959.

After 217 T-2As were produced, it was decided that a twin engine version of this trainer would have been more appropriate for the purpose and 97 T-2Bs equipped with two Pratt and Whitney J60 engines were delivered beginning in 1965. The final major version of the Buckeye, the T-2C powered by two General Electric J85s was introduced in 1968 and, overall 231 examples were produced since then. The Buckeye was also sold to Venezuela (that acquired 12 T-2Ds) and to Greece (which bought 40 T-2Es).

The T-2 served the Navy as a two-seat intermediate carrier-capable jet trainer from 1959 until 2008, when it was replaced by the T-45 Goshawk. Three T-2s were retained by Air Test & Evaluation Squadron 20 as chase aircraft for aircraft and weapons testing and they will now be replaced by C-38 Courier business jets.

In the following video you can see a T-2 performing an OFC (Out of Control Flight) training sortie, aimed to provide the student with the fundamental knowledge necessary to recognize, analyse and recover from the loss of aerodynamic control of the aircraft.

This footage leaves no doubts: the T-2 was a terrific spin trainer.

This epic video shows a WWII Spitfire helping out a Cold War Vulcan bomber during nose wheel emergency

One British classic aircraft from WW2 helping out its Cold War compatriot at Scottish airshow.

This video was filmed on Sept. 5, at Prestwick airport, during the Scottish Airshow 2015 and it shows the last flying Vulcan bomber experiencing a nose wheel failure before landing.

As you can see in the interesting footage (that includes also radio comms on the Tower frequency) the Vulcan performed a flyover then initiated a right hand turn to land on runway 30. However, the nose gear did not extend fully and the V-bomber performed a second flyover before starting orbiting to the north of the airfield.

That’s when a Spitfire of the BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) came to help: the WWII plane called up on the radio and asked if there was anyway he could help by giving the Vulcan a closer look from underneath the aircraft.

As the bomber slowed down to below 170 knots, the Spitfire formed up on its right wing and confirmed that the nose wheel was not properly extended.

In an attempt to unblock the gear the Vulcan performed some aggressive turns that eventually freed whatever was holding the nose wheel from extending allowing the Vulcan (preceded by the Spitfire) to perform a safe landing.

Well done to everyone involved in the emergency!

H/T to Alistair Moir for the heads-up!


Quick thinking saved a USAF RC-135 and its 27 crew members after fire erupted during takeoff roll

Disaster averted at Offut Air Force Base last April.

On Apr. 30 2015, RC-135V Rivet Joint, 64-14848, belonging to the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 55th Wing, suffered a major incident at Offutt AFB, Nebraska.

As the aircraft, using radio callsign “Snoop 71,” began the take off roll to start its mission in support of a Special Operations training exercise, fire erupted behind the galley.

Described by one crew member as a “flamethrower”, the fire quickly filled the intelligence gathering plane with dense smoke and burned a hole in the aft fuselage. The aircraft commander (on his first flight, no less) quickly stopped the airplane and the crew egressed as fire fighters extinguished the blaze.

Total damage to the Rivet Joint: 62.4 million USD.

Robert Hopkins, III, a former RC-135 aircraft commander who flew the S, U, V, W, and X models in the 1980s and 1990s, and author of a book on the type, told The Aviationist that the plane very likely would have crashed if it became airborne; the quick reaction by the “baby aircraft commander” made a successful evacuation possible in less than half a minute since the pilot decided to abort takeoff.

“But if we took off – I mean, I don’t know how fast we could have emergency landed I mean – I know it’s quick but a few more minutes stuck on the jet not even able to start egressing would have ya know made it a lot different. So I feel really lucky that we didn’t take off, honestly. I’m also really glad that like no one got seriously injured,” a crew members told to investigators according to the 1,341 report on the mishap obtained by and made available here.

RC135 incident

Investigators were unable to determine the fire’s ignition source, but found that it was fanned by a faulty oxygen system that had been improperly serviced during the airplane’s last depot maintenance by L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas.

The final report noted that L-3’s quality control failed to follow established procedures, and that L-3 installed used instead of new parts. Fleet-wide inspections are underway.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


Graphic Video: Hawker Hunter jet crashes into cars at Shoreham Airshow in UK

Major incident at UK airshow.

At about 1.20PM LT the two seat Hawker Hunter T.Mk.7 WV372 crashed into cars on A27 in West Sussex during its display at Shoreham air show near Brighton.

Shoreham airshow website says that the T.Mk.7 was a two seat development of the F.Mk.4, the RAF’s standard day-fighter. WV372 is owned by Graham Peacock and is based at North Weald Airfield in Essex. It carried the markings of No. 2(AC) Squadron when they were based at RAF Gutersloh in Germany. WV372 has been active on the display circuit for many years, first with Jet Heritage at Bournemouth before passing through several other owners and operators.

Based on the video posted on Youtube, the Hunter was performing a loop that it didn’t manage to close.

According to the first reports, 7 people died as a consequence of the incident.


Crazy video shows Delta Boeing 737 hit by lightning strike

A passenger has caught on video a direct lightning strike on a Delta Boeing 737 at Atlanta airport.

The video below is extremely interesting. Shot at Atlanta airport during a thunderstorm by Jack Perkins, a passenger of another plane, it shows a lightning strike hit a Delta Boeing 737 on the taxiway.

No one was hurt as a consequence of the lightning as the plane is shielded by Faraday Cage, that blocks out external static electrical fields: charges redistribute on the conducting material and don’t affect the cage’s interior.

In simple words: if hit by a lightning aircraft let the current pass through the fuselage until ground, preserving the systems’ integrity. Furthermore, all commercial and military aircraft have been designed to meet several safety lightning-related requirements needed to get the airworthiness certifications required.

Generally speaking, lightning strikes are rare and do not represent a real threat to military and civil planes, even though, in the 1980s, some F-16 Fighting Falcon jets were lost after being hit. In one case, the lightning ignited the vapors in the empty centerline tank, which exploded causing extended damage to the aircraft’s hydraulic system.