Category Archives: Aviation Safety

Blind RAF Hawk pilot lands safely thanks to the help of his wingman

An incredible rescue mission recently took place at RAF Leeming during a training sortie in a Hawk jet.

On Jan. 28, 2016 an unnamed Royal Air Force Hawk pilot that lost his sight due to an eye infection while in a routine training sortie, was able to make a safe landing thanks to the help received from another pilot who flew alongside his plane to talk him down.

As reported by, at one point the pilot’s vision was so bad that his commander considered having him to eject into the North Sea since there was little chance he could land safely.

But because of the ejection injuries he could have suffered, the commander decided to dispatch another pilot, Flt. Lt. Paul Durban, an experienced  Tornado driver now assigned to RAF Leeming, who talked him down.

According to a RAF spokesman, the pilot that suffered the partial loss of vision was flanked by Durban and then they flew in formation back to RAF Leeming “where the pilot landed the aircraft uneventfully. Flying in formation, and conducting an approach to land as a formation, is a skill practised daily by RAF fast jet pilots.”

The BAe Hawks belonged to the RAF’s 100 Sqn which uses this aircraft to train forward air controllers and to act as enemy jets in training missions.

Image credit: Crown Copyright


Russian Su-27 buzzes U.S. RC-135U spyplane. Once again.

Tense moments in the skies over Black Sea.

On Jan. 25, 2016 a U.S. Air Force RC-135U electronic intelligence gathering aircraft was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jet while performing a routine sortie in international airspace over Black Sea.

As reported by, during the interception, the Su-27 made an aggressive turn that disturbed the controllability of the RC-135.

Navy Capt. Daniel Hernandez, chief spokesman for the U.S. European Command explained that the interception was conducted in an unsafe and unprofessional manner and that the U.S. are looking into this issue.

According to some defense officials, the RC-135 was flying 30 miles from the coast (well within international airspace and far way from any Russian territory) when the Su-27 flanked the intelligence gathering jet and then performed an aggressive turn to break-away from it.

On Apr. 7, 2015 another Su-27 flew within 20 feet of an RC-135U, that time over the Baltic Sea.

Noteworthy the Pentagon has recently concluded a flight safety memorandum with Russia after holding a video conference with Russian Defense Ministry Officials: as told by Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook the area of discussion included air safety over skies in Syria as well as “the means to avoid accidents and unitended confrontation between coalition and Russian forces whenever the two sides operate in close proximity.”

The Black Sea encounter was the latest in a series of aggressive Russian military activities aimed coercing or harassing U.S. military aircraft and ships in both Europe and Asia.


Top image: Sukhoi; Bottom image: U.S. Air Force

Curious video shows a DHC-4 Caribou doing the “wheelbarrow” landing

Watch this unusual air display performed by a Royal Australian Air Force DHC-4 Caribou.

Taken in 1988, at RAAF Base Richmond, the following clip shows the RAAF De Havilland Canada DHC-4 solo display flown during the Australian Bicentennial Air Show.

What it makes this video interesting is the “wheelbarrow” done by the Australian pilot at 0:43.

As it can be seen in the footage, a skilled pilot is required to perform such a spectacular maneuver: in fact, the Caribou driver maintains a very low rate of descent in order to avoid a nose landing gear breakage caused by a harsh touchdown on the runway.

Dramatic video shows Russian Tu-95 bomber exploding after left wing erupts in a ball of flame during take off

A minute-long footage shows the Tu-95MS crashing during take off at Ukrainka airbase in Russia’s Far East.

As we reported last year, the Russian Ministry of Defense suspended all the Russian Air Force Tu-95 Bear flights after a strategic bomber suffered an incident in Russia’s Far East on Jun. 8, 2015: the +60-year old Russian four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform skidded off the runway and exploded after the left wing caught fire during the take off run at Ukrainka airfield.

As a consequence of the incident, the second involving a Bear in two years (followed, on Jul. 14, 2015 by another incident), two of the five-man aircrew were reportedly killed (only one casualty according to the first reports.)

Now, a video of the incident has been released. It shows the aircraft’s left wing catching fire during the take off roll, causing the aircraft to steer off runway and explode.

Along with the two Tu-95s, the last Summer’s Russian crashes include a Su-24 Fencer, two Mig-29 Fulcrums and a modern Su-34 Fullback.

H/T ‎Miguel Vargas-Caba‎ for the heads-up

Two U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E helicopters have collided off Hawaii

The two CH-53E Super Stallions were conducting night ops off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The U.S. Marine Corps have just confirmed that a Search and Rescue operation is underway off Hawaii’s Oahu after two CH-53E Super Stallions helicopters collided mid-air during night training.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, debris field was spotted less than 3 miles off the coast, near the town of Haleiwa,

Both helicopters were from MCAS Kaneohe Bay and each had six people aboard.

No further details on what caused the collision or if any survivors have been found have been released as of yet.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps