Rare video of Marines AV-8B Harrier no nose gear vertical landing on amphibious assault ship

One of the few (if not the only) video showing a Harrier Jump Jet (nose) gear up landing on USS Bataan.

Here’s something you don’t see every day.

On Jun. 7, 2014, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. William Mahoney, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 (Reinforced), 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), had to perform Vertical Landing on USS Bataan, after his AV-8B Harrier aircraft experienced a front landing gear malfunction.

USS Bataan was operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to augment U.S. Crisis Response forces in the region when Mahoney took off from the amphibious assault ship.

As he was climbing away from the deck he suddenly realized he had a gear malfunction. He immediately slowed down in order not to overspeed the landing gear, returned above the ship at 2,000 feet and started talking to “Paddles” (LSO – Landing Signal Officers), a pilot in the control tower who could provide assistance by radio.

Harrier no nose gear down

The Harrier flew the approach at 300 ft so that the LSO could see the landing gear and give some guidance to put the nose on a tool the ship has for this kind of issues: a sort-of stool.

Since there’s no way to train to land in this kind of situation, the pilot had to fly a perfect vertical landing, using the ship lighting system and the help of LSO on his first attempt.

Luckily, he stabilized at 20 feet and managed to land in the proper spot as shown in the video (that, weirdly, was removed by the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet feed that had published it; luckily, we found it again and reuploaded it since it is unclassified and released as you can see in the first frames of the footage).

 

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About David Cenciotti 3644 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.