The legendary Eagle is also a very robust aircraft, that can survive some serious damages. As shown by a very well-known incident which occurred in 1983, in the skies over Nahal Tzin in the Negev desert, in Israel, during a mock aerial combat between two Israeli Air Force F-15Ds and four A-4Ns, when one of the Eagles, the F-15D #957 nicknamed ‘Markia Shchakim’, 5 killmarks, used for conversion of a new pilot named Zivi Nedivi, collided mid-air with one of the Skyhawks.
As explained in No Wing F-15, an interesting piece written by John Easley, Zivi didn’t immediately realize what had happened: he felt a big jolt and saw a huge fireball caused by the A-4 explosion, followed by radio communications according to those the Skyhawk pilot had successfully ejected.
He realized that the F-15 was badly damaged when the aircraft fell in a very tight spiral after a huge fuel leak from its right wing.
After regaining the control of the aircraft Nedivi was ordered to eject but decided not to bail out since he was confident he could land the plane at the nearest airfield, 10 miles away, even thought the F-15 was flying on vapors: he began to reduce speed but the missing right wing (that the Israeli pilot was still unaware of) caused a new spin.
Then just before ejecting, Nedivi decided to light the afterburners, gaining speed and managing to somehow control the F-15 once again.
Once he reached the air base, he lowered the tail hook, touched down at about 260 knots, which was twice the speed recommended for a standard landing, and managed to stop the plane about 10 meters before it engaged the Safeland Airfield Arrester Barrier.
As told by Easley, it was only after he turned back to shake his instructor’s hand, that Zivi discovered that he had flown and landed without a wing!
After the mishap, McDonnell Douglas, inquired by the Israeli Air Force, affirmed that it was impossible for an F-15 to with one wing only, but once they received the photo of the Eagle flying without one wing, they said that, pilot skills aside, damaged aircraft had been able to return to the base thanks to the lift generated by both its engine intakes and its fuselage.
Nevertheless proving once again its tremendous strength, after two months the Eagle received a new wing and returned to fly, as you can see in the picture below.
Image credit: Wiki
In the following video you can hear Zivi Nedivi himself explaining how he was able to land without its right wing.
Planes and helicopters that operate from aircraft carriers and huge ships face space constraints, weight limits, challenging weather conditions and, usually, unavailability of a nearby divert airfield: that’s why in spite of a lot of training and skills, something goes wrong every now and then.
The following video shows some famous and other less known mishaps, close-calls and incidents aboard U.S. and foreign aircraft carriers and warships at sea.
Obviously there are many other videos available on the Web. Let us know which one in your opinion is the most shocking or somehow interesting footage showing a carrier deck mishap.
An Mi-8 Hip helicopter crashed during an airshow in southern Russia. And here’s the video of the incident.
A Mil Mi-8 Hip utility helicopter crashed during an air show in Russia.
The chopper, belonging to the Russian “Panh Helicopters” air company (whose fleet of about 30 aircraft performs scientific and aerial services), was taking part to the opening phases of the Gidroavisalon 2014 in Gelendzhik, an international hydro air show that gathered 180 Russian companies and 14 foreign delegations.
As the video shows, after carrying a flag, the helicopter performed a heavy landing, “bounced” on the tarmac, broke into two pieces and fell back to the ground, catching fire.
Two crewmember were killed and one heavily injured as a consequence of the incident.
According to ITAR-TASS, the crash delayed the departure of some flights from the airport of Gelendzhik, a popular Black Sea resort.
Even though it’s not impossible, it would be at least difficult to successfully execute a 9/11-like suicide attack using one of the airliners allegedly missing in Libya.
In the last few days, media outlets all around the world have reported the news of the threat of a 9/11 type of attack posed by a certain number of civilian jet liners (“about a dozen”) seized by militias that took control of Tripoli airport.
A really interesting story published on NYCAviation has already raised some question about the amount of missing aircraft but what we are going to discuss here is the possibility to launch a suicide attack using one of the airplanes captured in Libya (provided any airliner is really available for such a terrorist action).
Even if a U.S. Department official is, quite obviously, a reliable source and, although a missing airplane is never a good news for intelligence agencies since September 11 2001, there are several things that must be considered to really evaluate the threat of a “renegade” aircraft used as a missile against a ground target.
First of all there’s the difficulty to actually launch the plane. Not easy at all.
“I agree the risks [of a missing plane] are there but I would be cautious in several regards: aircraft condition, availability of actual pilots and airfield conditions, etc,” says Tom Meyer, who’s worked for over a decade in all areas of the airline’s operations with Top US Air Carrier.
In fact, the missing airliner must be hidden somewhere (an kept away from the indiscreet eyes of satellites and U.S. drones snooping on terrorist bases in the desert) but a difficult-to-find airport is quite unlikely an airport capable to serve an airliner.
“Airline Ground Operations will need to include: Ground Power or APU [Auxiliary Power Unit) Availability, Fueling, Weight & Balance, FOD Free Ramp, Clear Taxiways and Runways…If any of the items is missing or done incorrectly, the whole scenario unravels. Sorry, Airline operations are complex,” Meyer explains.
Ok, now let’s assume the terrorists know enough about aircraft servicing, airport ops, etc. manage to launch the plane. What’s next?
The aircraft, departed from a remote location, must fly towards its final “destination.” In order to reach the target without being engaged by the local air defense (if any) it will have to fly all (or at least most) of its route at very low-level, thus reducing a lot its range.
Even if a north bound route (towards Italy or a northwestern one towards Spain and France or northeastern one towards Greece or Turkey) would bring the plane closer to the most the rewarding targets, it would also expose the liner to the detection by coastal radar sites and NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft keeping an eye on the Mediterranean and North Africa.
So, a large aerial suicide attack is perhaps unlikely.
A limited attack, targeting a neighbouring nation (or Malta, that is still not too far from Libya and has no combat planes for the islands air defense) or a military base in North or Central Africa, is only a bit more feasible (once again, provided the plane can be launched) just because of the relatively shorter distances.
Free Libya Air Force Mig-21 crashed into city blocks at Tobruk, in eastern Libya.
On Sept. 2, a Mig-21 belonging to the Free Libya Air Force crashed into Tobruk killing the pilot and at least a small boy on the ground.
The entire scene was filmed from a rooftop in Tobruk: the aircraft seems to be initially nose-diving, then the pilot pulls up again and the aircraft overflies the cameraman in what seems to be a climb, just before it dives again and crashes between buildings causing a huge explosion.
Needless to say the reasons of the crash are still unknown even if according to some news reports, sources pointed towards the mechanical failure.
According to RT, the pilot has been identified as Rafa Al-Farani and the he crashed in his Mig-21bis while performing in a memorial flypast for another pilot, Ibrahim Al-Manifi, who was also killed in a plane crash few days ago.
This seems to explain the reason why someone was filming the plane from a rooftop at the time of the crash.