Thu, May 01, 2008
Advanced Fighter Lands Gear-Up At China Lake
A Royal Air Force pilot will forever carry the dubious honor of
making the first belly landing in a new state-of-art Eurofighter
London's Daily Mail reports the incident occurred last week,
during a training exercise for the RAF's 17 Squadron at
California's China Lake testing facility. Neither the pilot nor the
co-pilot were injured when the jet skidded down the runway on its
belly, at about 130 mph.
"The damage to aircraft is still to fully assessed and as a
Board of Inquiry has been convened it would not be appropriate to
comment further until investigations are complete," a Ministry of
Defence spokesman said Wednesday. "There's no evidence at present
to suggest the airworthiness of the aircraft has been compromised
and the aircraft therefore remains safe to fly."
So far, there's no indication of a mechanical problem or other
issue that prevented the gear from deploying. "Everything points to
the pilot forgetting to lower the wheels, which does happen from
time to time," one RAF official told The Sun.
All Typhoons are equipped with a system to alert pilots if the
landing gear isn't deployed on landing. The RAF hasn't taken any
steps to ground the other 48 Typhoons now deployed to defend
British air space.
Some Typhoons are scheduled for deployment to Iraq or
Afghanistan, the Daily Times adds, to replace older Tornado
fighters and Harrier ground-attack planes.
The incident isn't the first time a Eurofighter has sustained
damage following a gear-up landing. In February 2006, a pilot was
forced to land another Typhoon with its nosegear only partially
deployed -- but this is the first time the Eurofighter has made a
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