Targeting Pod footage shows a pilot ejecting from an F-16 over the North Sea

Dec 06 2015 - 22 Comments

Here’s an interesting video showing an ejection from a different point of view….

On Oct. 27, 2015, a Royal Danish Air Force pilot was forced to eject from his F-16A block 20 MLU over the North Sea after jet suffered a landing gear problem that prevented it from safely landing back at Skrydstrup air base.

The pilot, belonging to ESK 727, successfully ejected from the jet (#83-1070) and was later rescued by a SAR (Search And Rescue) helicopter.

The video below tells his story.

It’s more than 1-hour long and, unfortunately, in Danish language only. Still, the very first seconds of the clip shows the moment the pilot ejected as seen through the Litening G4 Targeting pod footage.

  • Marco

    Since I first read about this story I had questions in my mind. Ditching a multi million dollars jet for a jammed landing gear… is it a standard practice?

    • AronLump

      If it is either ditch or die, I believe protocol demands ditch.

      • marco

        Die? I think several planes both military and civilian, high performers and propeller driven are constantly performing belly landings with a high success rate.

        Also this is so opposed to jets which are clear write-offs, still performing emergency landings rather than ejecting. sometimes it’s difficult to understand. Is it a decision demanded to the pilot? can he eject or land based on personal assessment / preference between ejecting (not exactly your downtown 35 mph car ride) and crash landing?

        E.g. why did these guys land, then?

        • AronLump

          You need to look further into the situation.

          If he attempted to land, it would have likely killed him.

    • cencio4

      Yes, standard practive in most scenarios.
      A malfunctioning landing gear could cause a landing aircraft to steer away from runway and invest other aircraft, shelters etc. As a consequence, you could lose an aircraft, damage the airport, block it for several hours and, above all, lose a pilot.
      A multi-million dollar plane is less valuable than a multi-year trained pilot.

      • mzungu

        Technically a trained fighter jock cost less than a F-16, $6M vs $15M. But u r right on possible damages to other things….it is a pilot’s call.

        • Michael Rich

          Pretty sure he was talking about a little something called the value for human life, not the actual financial cost.

    • Dan Højmark Christensen

      Since I’m Danish I heard about this same day it happened, I can tell you that our F-16s are pretty old and that they tried to find a solution but couldn’t find one. They contacted Lockheed Martin who also said it would be the best thing to ditch the plane and so they did
      Edit: I’ve seen 12 min of the vid and he’s saying that there’s an about 50cm long metal piece hanging below the landing gear which makes it even more dangerous + the wheel itself is turned 90° to the side. Both things can be seen as actual footage in the vid at 8:00 min
      He’s also saying that the day before the incident they had a briefing about another Air Force (He doesn’t mention which) where their F-16s suddenly turned to one side during takeoff and they ejected but hit the ground and both pilots died before the chute could be deployed. That’s also a thing they don’t want to happen
      One of the engineers from Lockheed Martin suggested that he could use the landing hook (which I had no idea F-16s even had) to land with only one main gear down, turned sideways but the pilot wasn’t comfortable with that idea

      • Marco

        A head-up to everyone. THIS and the one from Essah and Kjell are the reply. Not other empty words about multi-years trained pilot or planes bouncing around performing a belly landing. As I thought back then and confirmed today, ejection is not the standard option and this story without proper explanation was looking stupid.
        Pilots eject when the plane cannot be saved BY ANY MEAN. Also because ejection is dangerous by itself, contrary to popular belief.

        The normal standard practice IS to belly land. Unless specific circumstances happened… like this one was.

        • cencio4

          A head-up to you.
          Below is a screenshot from the T-38 dash one. Ejection is recommended in most scenarios (3 out 5 for the Talon). The reason has been already explained.

          Therefore the statement “the normal standard practice IS to belly land” is senseless.

          Next time think before commenting (and this is not the first time I have to suggest this to you….).

          • Pepe Le Cox

            The moderator is right, the russians have this standard practices too, I have seen a Mig-29 land with no gear at all, or both main gears down, but the three conditions below is mandatory to eject and avoid the loss of the pilot and casualties/damage in the area of the plane crash.

          • Marco

            You did not give the correct reply, just coming with some popular common man way of saying such as “A multi-million dollar plane is less valuable than a multi-year trained pilot.”

            According to the users who gave the proper reply, they even tried to get in touch with LM before going for the ejection. That’s a fact that means quite a lot about how to decide. It’s not just a “man vs jet” thing.

            • E1-Kabong

              Wow… Troll on….

              Let’s see you post some FACTS.

          • Marco

            by the way, shame on you for not publishing my posts while attacking and publishing people like the one below.

            • cencio4

              it takes time to moderate all the comments, including those of the haters, trolls, etc. like you two.

    • Essah

      @Marco the PIlot explains how they went through every possible procedure but ended up with a controlled ejection being the only safe course of action for the pilot. This was mainly due to the 1 meter long metal rod, that was hanging loose from the gear could risk getting caught in something on the ground and causing unpredictable behavior. Furthermore the left landing gear was twisted 90 degrees from normal, and therefore being a huge unknown risk to landing. He lost hydraulic power, and the attempt at retracting gear using negative G while inverted was futile. so they settled on controlled ejection.

    • dc

      The days of belly-landing aircraft ended when jet engines were introduced.
      Upon impact the engine mounts fail. The engine continues forward, usually
      tearing through fuel tanks and into the cockpit. Better to eject and get a free steak dinner
      from the folks at Martin-Baker…assuming one is using one of their fine extraction systems.
      (which the F-16 doesn’t use – not sure if UTC makes the same offer)

  • MrSatyre

    That’s a long time for one guy to be talking about anything.

  • Kjell

    He talks about that there is procedures to land with no wheels, one wheel and two wheels but not when there is a huge metal part hanging below landing gear, which is seen in the video. They tried to fly inverted to get the landing gear to collapse in.

  • Kjell

    No problems the pilot survived and he ejected the next time.

    As this happened during development, 6th flight, it isn’t really the same situation. There has been belly landings with Gripen latest Hungary manage to do it and the aircraft is repairable, even if the pilot did eject in the end.

  • Marco

    Go inform yourself about the number of belly landings vs ejections. anyway… shame on the moderator for not moderating an idiot like you as you shown in every single post

  • Rune

    Hi – I would just let you know, that we are working on english subtitles for this, so stay tuned.

    The footage of the ejection is from the FLIR onboard the EH101 SAR-helicopter and not from a targeting-pod.