Disaster Strikes During Flight Student’s First Attempt at Landing on an Aircraft Carrier [VIDEO]
Landing on an aircraft carrier is by no means an easy feat. The runway is constantly in motion, requiring the Navy pilots who are tasked with landing on the vessels to adjust their approach as a means of avoiding potentially horrific outcomes. One flight student’s first attempt at landing on a carrier resulted in such a disaster.
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Becoming skilled at landing on an aircraft carrier can take a substantial amount of time and training, but every Navy pilot who performs the feat has to start at the beginning: a first landing attempt on a shifting vessel.
Even well-trained pilots can find this challenging, as it is difficult to emulate the actual conditions they will face. One flight student experienced this first hand, and the result was disastrous.
On October 29, 1989, a student pilot was making his first approach in an effort to land on the USS Lexington. The incident was caught on film by cameras positions around the flight deck.
The T-2 Buckeye pilot, part of the VT-19 training squadron, contacts the Landing Signal Officer to assert that he is beginning his approach. The LSO attempts to provide guidance, letting the pilot know he was “a little long in the groove” and that “next time, I want you to turn sooner.”
Then, the LSO tells the pilot to “work it on speed,” and quickly follows that with “a little power, you’re underpowered, power.”
Mere moments later, the LSO instructs the student to “wave it off,” asserting that the pilot should abandon the attempt and try again.
The flight student doesn’t respond fast enough and ends up pulling back on the stick instead of forward to climb. The pilot loses control of the aircraft, which starts to roll, as someone instructs him to eject.
The ejection occurs well outside of the seat’s envelope, and the pilot is killed instantly. The T-2 crashes, and the resulting explosion kills four additional personnel on the flight deck.
Sailors can be seen running with fire hoses in an attempt to extinguish the flames while other students flee aircraft on the deck to escape the fire.
The footage of the incident is dramatic and clearly shows just how dangerous landing on an aircraft carrier can be.