A US Marine Corps Harrier jump jet pilot vertically landed his airplane on a stool aboard a ship after the front landing gear on his airplane failed to deploy. The amazing landing was filmed on the USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy.
USS Bataan (LHD-5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship commissioned in 1997. The ship is named to honor the defense of the Bataan Peninsula on the western side of Manila Bay in the Philippines during the early days of US involvement in World War II.
On June 7 2014, Captain William Mahoney was flying an AV-8B Harrier, a fighter originally developed in Britain that is capable of taking off and landing vertically. Although the Harrier has one jet engine it has four nozzles that direct the jet engine thrust downwards for vertical lift.
After the pilot took off from the USS Bataan he noticed there was a problem with his landing gear and he made a low pass over the ship and it was confirmed, the landing gear in the nose had not deployed.
The US Marine Corps has developed a piece of equipment for just such a problem, a massive stool which supports the fighters nose. Now all the pilot had to do was land on it.
There was no room for error for the pilot, if he missed the stool the $30 million airplane would crash into the deck. This would not only damage the airplane but it could also ignite the on board fuel.
Skillfully the pilot lowered the airplane to just 20 feet above the deck using the Harriers nozzles, being guided by the air controllers and lights on the ship.
‘So I’m at 20 feet stabilizing and I can’t see the stool. I don’t even know it’s there. I didn’t see it coming over the end of the ship, I remember looking for it, but I never saw the stool,’ Capt Mahoney said in the video.
‘At that point, I was just sort of along for the ride,’.