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Thursday, 31 January 2013

A wheel fell off!

If you're into special airplanes even a little, here is a video I’m sure you’ll enjoy if you haven't seen it.  These guys do a remarkable job getting their aircraft back on the ground with a minimal amount of damage.  It could have very easily gone the other way.  Also, notice early in the video there is a sequence showing a F-111 dumping fuel with the afterburners on lighting up the night sky.  Something a little unique to the F-111.

The Australians flew the F-111 a lot longer than the USA Air Force.  The airplane was originally designed to land on a carrier deck so the gear structure is very strong.  Even landing on a long runway you just maintain 10 degrees angle of attack until the runway stops your descent.  Because this is the way the airplane was designed to be landed it felt just fine inside the airplane, but for an observer outside the aircraft it looked like you forgot to flare and really clobbered the landing.

  I don't know if metal fatigue was a factor in this accident but they are fortunate the wheel fell off upon liftoff and not while accelerating down the runway in full afterburner.  Using the tail hook to catch the arresting cable was a great idea, as you will see.  Arresting wires on runways are not like the ones on the flight deck of a carrier.  They provide less resistance and let you decelerate over about a 900 ft. range, something you wouldn't have room to do on a carrier.


Bugger that for a game of soldiers. Mind you, bearing in mind the pilot had very little experience, he did bloody well.


  1. Well done to them.

    But isn't Australia a little prone to things falling off transport?

  2. I worked on the F4 Phantoms and we would always enjoy watching the jet take the rhag at night as the hook would cause an amazing firework display as it dragged along the concrete.
    Taking the rhag usually meant a bollocking for one of us though as it meant the drag chute had fallen out ( quite common with new groundcrew being inexperienced in it's awkward fitting) and the jet couldn't slow down with braking only. The F4 Mk1's were ex Royal Navy so were built like brick outhouses :)
    The crews did have to do a regular practice arrester hook landing so would hopefully be prepared to do it in an emergency.

  3. Saw a USAF F-111 have a nose wheel deployment failure and have to come in on a wire at RAF Leemimg. Held the nose as high as practical whilst the wire slowed it down..glad I wasn't in the cockpit..

  4. Bloody good flying skills shown by that low hours pilot. On the practice approaches I was surprised how slowly the plane was flying (for a high wing loading jet), and his judgement of height was remarkable.

    If it was me, though, I would rather have been in this situation than the Israeli guy who put an F16 down with the right wing missing. He used a LOT more runway.


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