Tag Archives: AV-8B

U.S. Marines Suffer Losses Over Last Two Days in Super Stallion and Harrier Crashes

CH-53E Super Stallion Crashes in California: Four Casualties Reported. Harrier Lost in Africa, Pilot Ejected.

The U.S. Marine 3rd Aircraft Wing has reported that a CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift helicopter has crashed at approximately 1435 Hrs. local north of the Mexico/California border on Apr. 3, 2018. Four fatalities are being reported. The aircraft was on a training mission near the city of El Centro, California when it went down.

No cause for the crash has been reported. A crash investigation is reported to be underway. Identities of the four crash victims have not yet been released pending official notification of families.

The Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest heavy lift helicopter in the U.S. arsenal. It is a three-engine aircraft with a lift capacity in excess of fifteen tons and uses a large, seven-blade main rotor. Developed from the U.S. Navy’s CH-53 Sea Stallion that first flew in 1966, the U.S. Marine CH-53E Super Stallion was introduced in 1981 as the CH-53 Sea Stallion.

Other notable losses in the history of the CH-53 heavy lift helicopter family include a total of four CH-53s lost during the May 1975 Mayaguez Incident. Three of the helicopters were shot down by Khmer Rouge guerillas resulting in the deaths of 10 Marines, 2 Navy Corpsmen and 2 Air Force crewmen. A fourth CH-53 from the 21st Special Operations Squadron, aircraft #68-10933, using the callsign “Knife 13” went down in an accident while transiting to U Tapao Airbase in Thailand in support of the operation, killing all 23 onboard. Another early version of the aircraft, the U.S. Navy RH-53D, became infamous during the failed Iran hostage rescue mission in 1980 when it collided with another aircraft in a sandstorm, killing 8 U.S. servicemen.

Early incidents with heavy lift helicopters including the CH-53 family underscored the need for the development of advanced tilt-rotor aircraft like the current MV-22 Osprey.

Tuesday’s fatal helicopter crash in California came just before a USMC AV-8B Harrier aircraft crashed that same day in Africa. The pilot of a USMC Harrier ejected from his aircraft and was reported to have walked to an ambulance for medical care according to a report on USNI News by Sam LaGrone and Megan Eckstein.

An official statement about the accident indicated, “Doctors said the pilot was in stable condition and being evaluated at Camp Lemonnier’s expeditionary medical facility.” Camp Lemonnier is a U.S. expeditionary base located in Djibouti, Africa.

The Harrier aircraft that went down was attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The accident occurred during takeoff from Djibouti Ambouli International Airport just after 4 p.m. local time, according to a statement from the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

According to fleet spokesman U.S. Navy Commander Bill Urban, the AV-8B Harrier that crashed was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The aircraft flew from the assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and was participating in the “Alligator Daggar” tactical exercise that began this week in the region.

The McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier is an advanced, U.S. version of the original British V/STOL (Vertical/Short Take Off and Landing) Harrier “jump jet” dating back to 1967. The aircraft is currently being replaced in U.S. Marine and other services by the F-35B STOVL variant of the Joint Strike Fighter.

Photo: AV-8B+ Harrier heavy configuration

Taken on Jan. 17 by Giovanni Maduli, the following picture shows an Italian Navy AV-8B+ Harrier taking off from Decimomannu airbase in a heavy configuration including 4 x 300 gallons fuel tanks, used for long range ferry flights.

According to the U.S. Navy’s Standard Aircraft Characteristic document , in such configuration, the AV-8B (slightly different from the AV-8B+ that features a 17 inch lengthened nose to accomodate the AN/APG-65 radar) has a range exceeding 2,100 NM.

494FS deployment to Decimomannu – part 2

On Feb. 1 and 2 I visited Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, to see the 494th FS detachment at work. Below you can find some of the pictures I took there. More pictures will be uploaded in the next days. Interestingly, the F-15E performed two daily waves, almost always launching up to 10 aircraft that flew A/G missions in the Capo Frasca range or A/A missions in the restricted areas located to the East of Sardinia. On Feb. 2, the Strike Eagles performed DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) vs the Italian F-2000 Typhoons of the 4° Stormo, based in Grosseto. Deployed to Deci in these days are also 7 AV-8B+ Harrier of the I GrupAer of the Marina Militare (Italian Navy).

Part 1
Part 3




How to Fly the Harrier Jump Jet | Danger Room | Wired.com

A few days ago, I published a post to explain how the F-35 JSF flies in both conventional and STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) Harrier-like mode. The following article provides some interesting info and images about the AV-8B, a version much similar to the one flown by the Marina Militare (Italian Navy):

The Harrier made its final flight with the British RAF last week, marking one end to the jet famous for being able to take off and land vertically. The jet’s recently declassified flight manual shows just how extraordinary it is.

read the rest here: How to Fly the Harrier Jump Jet | Danger Room | Wired.com.