BREAKING: US Navy Blue Angels Pilot Suffers Landing Mishap In El Centro

posted in: Jet Teams | 2

US Navy Blue Angels F-18 Hornet - AirshowStuff

An unnamed pilot of the US Navy Blue Angels was thankfully uninjured after a landing mishap at NAF El Centro today. The pilot was landing at the base when the aircraft’s main landing gear failed to extend properly. The pilot was able to make an emergency landing with the F-18 Hornet without injuring himself or anyone on the ground.

The incident is under investigation.

The Blue Angels are in the middle of their winter training period at El Centro. They use the base for their training flights every year because the remote location and good weather allow for excellent training conditions. Their airshow season is scheduled to start in March.

This incident should not impact the season, although they have struggled with aircraft availability in recent years after several major incidents grounded some of the jets assigned to the team. Depending on how severe the damage to the aircraft is, it may be grounded for some time.

The team will be transitioning to F/A-18E Super Hornets in the coming years, although no firm timetable for the change has been announced yet.

This is a breaking story with few details immediately available. We will bring you more information as it becomes known. You can join the discussion and look for more info in our forums.

Rob Holland Safe After Forced Landing In Texas

posted in: Aerobatics | 5

Rob Holland

Airshow pilot Rob Holland is safe after his custom MXS-RH aircraft went down late Sunday evening. Rob was flying from NAS Kingsville, TX to Shreveport, LA after performing at the Wings Over South Texas airshow on the weekend. While in cruise at 11,500 feet, he lost his engine and oil covered his windshield. He flew the aircraft to an abandoned airport, where he hit debris on the runway that totaled the aircraft.

Rob Holland

Rob is a four-time, consecutive, World 4-minute Freestyle Champion as well as a seven-time, consecutive, US National Aerobatic Champion. He performs at airshows with a solo aerobatic routine as well as with other aerobatic pilots such as Bill Stein and Matt Chapman. He is known for his highly original maneuvers.

We are very glad to hear Rob is ok, and look forward to seeing him at an airshow soon!

Here is the full post from Rob’s Facebook page:

For all those who know or don’t know, I thought I would fill you in about the events of the past few days.

First to get it out of the way, I’m 100% fine.

That said, On March 25th I took off from NAS Kingsville, Texas at about 4:30pm for a cross-country flight to Shreveport, Louisiana. About 15 minutes into the flight, level at 11,500 ft., I had a catastrophic engine failure and lost all engine power. I will not speculate as to the cause of the failure and will let the FAA and NTSB finish their investigation.

The Canopy was immediately covered with oil and I had zero forward visibility.

I quickly determined that an off-field landing was not the best option given the terrain. Also, using the parachute was also not a good option due to very high wind speed at the surface. There was one “airport” within gliding distance and I immediately aimed for it. Thank you to MGL Avionics for such an awesome EFIS system, which helped tremendously for my situational awareness.

There was a low scattered-to-broken cloud layer around the vicinity of my landing site which obstructed my view of the runway (I still could only see directly out of the side of the plane due to the oil on the canopy). I glided through an opening in the clouds using GPS as a reference for the location of the airport.

It turns out what I thought was a private airstrip was actually an abandoned airport that was about 30 ft. wide and only 1,650 ft. long (interesting that it is still listed in the FAA Database as an airport). When I finally got low enough so that the clouds no longer obstructed my view of the runway, I was at 700 ft. and committed to making a downwind landing because of my position.

I lined up on the runway as best I could, still having zero forward visibility. I touched down on the runway at about 90 kts. (normal speed for this plane), but with a 20+ knot tailwind bringing my forward speed to 110kts.

What I couldn’t see due to the oil on my canopy was a large piece of someone’s roof on the runway that had blown there by Hurricane Harvey. After about 200 ft. of landing roll, the left main landing gear struck that piece of debris ripping the landing gear completely off the plane. The plane skidded on its belly down the runway, departing to the side of the runway, coming to rest about 30 ft. off the right side of the runway. The plane remained upright and straight the entire time.

I assessed that I was physically ok, turned off the fuel, the mags, and all electrical power, and then departed the plane.

I have to throw out another HUGE thank you to Hooker Harness and BoneHead Composites for an AMAZING SAFETY BELT SYSTEM and FANTASTIC HELMET, both of which undoubtedly prevented me from suffering any injuries, it was a pretty violent ride when the gear came off.

Lastly I’d like to express my gratitude to MX Aircraft Company. The airframe did an amazing job of absorbing impact energy helping to protect me from injury. Unfortunately the damage to the airplane is too extensive to repair. I am already working with MX Aircraft and there will be a new plane in the future, updates and details will follow.

The next week or so will be very busy for me moving forward with as little (hopefully none) disruption to my schedule as possible.

There are too many people to name here but thank you to my family, friends, sponsors and supporters for all your help, well wishes, and thoughts.

Blue Skies,
Rob

WATCH: F-22 Raptors Arrive In Oshkosh With Vapor And Afterburners!

posted in: Featured Videos, Military | 0

Raptors Roar Over Oshkosh

There’s nothing quite like the sight of an F-22 Raptor pulling a tight turn and squeezing the moisture out of the air with vapor rolling off the wings. In this video, the AirshowStuff.com crew proudly brings you the arrival of two US Air Force F-22 Raptors to EAA AirVenture. There’s no doubt the F-22 is one of the world’s most advanced fighters in the air today, with thrust vectoring and stealth capabilities. Who can resist the powerful roar of the two Pratt and Whitney F119 engines as the Raptor flexes its muscles and thunders past?

In this video, you’ll get to see these stars of the USAF perform multiple low approaches and flybys. See the afterburners kick in and the heat from the engines as the Raptors bank away, not to mention that awesome vapor flowing over the wings and fuselage. We hope you enjoy viewing this video as much as we enjoyed making it for you. So put on some aviators, put it on full screen, turn up the volume, and revel in the awesomeness of these F-22 Raptors at AirVenture!

Be sure to subscribe to the AirshowStuffVideos channel on YouTube for more great videos.

-Justin Miner

Lockheed F-22 RaptorF-22 Raptor With Afterburner

Thunderbirds Return To Flying, Airshows After Dayton Landing Incident

posted in: Jet Teams | 0

Cleveland National Airshow - USAF Thunderbirds

The US Air Force Thunderbirds announced today that they are returning to flying operations this week, and it sounds like they have every intention of performing as scheduled this weekend in Traverse City, MI. The remaining aircraft departed Dayton today to return to their home base of Nellis AFB, and they will fly a practice show there tomorrow. After Traverse City, the team has a weekend off followed by a trip to the UK where they will perform at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

The team canceled their scheduled performances at the 2017 Vectren Dayton Airshow this past weekend after one of their two-seat F-16Ds flipped over onto its back next to the runway on Friday. The pilot, Thunderbird #8 Capt. Erik Gonsalves and passenger Technical Sgt. Kenneth Cordova were trapped in the overturned cockpit for more than an hour as emergency crews carefully attempted to extract them without triggering the powerful ejection seats.

The jet was returning from a familiarization flight nearby when the weather deteriorated. Reportedly, a gust of wind caught the aircraft after it was on the ground and flipped it onto its back in the muddy grass. The incident is still under investigation.

Once freed, both of the crew were taken to a nearby hospital in good condition. Cordova was released but Gonsalves remains in the hospital with reported cuts to his legs. He is expected to fully recover.

We are glad to hear that both of the Thunderbird team members are safe, and that the team will not observe a lengthy stand down. They must feel that the incident was a freak occurrence and that it is safe to continue performing.

Massive C-5M Super Galaxy Visits EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

posted in: Featured Videos, Military | 0

C-5 Galaxy - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

The C-5 Galaxy is the largest aircraft in the US Air Force inventory, and one of the largest few in the world. This massive airlifter is always a special sight, but it is usually limited to static display. We caught this massive beast in flight two times during EAA AirVenture 2016, and its arrival and departure can be seen in the videos below.

C-5 Galaxy - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016C-5 Galaxy - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

While in Oshkosh, the aircraft was (naturally) parked front row center in Boeing Plaza, an intimidating sight from the main gate and a major focal point of the crowd’s attention. The huge nose and cargo ramp were both opened, and visitors were allowed inside the cavernous cargo bay. This specific aircraft, from Travis AFB, is actually a C-5M Super Galaxy, an updated version of the C-5 with new engines producing 22% more thrust and other improvements.

Martin Mars Stars In AirVenture Lineup, Recovers From Damage

posted in: Airshows, Warbirds | 2

Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

The famous Martin Mars water bomber was one of the main attractions at EAA AirVenture this year, but it did not survive the show unscathed. The aircraft, which performed in the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday airshows, suffered a bird strike to one of its four engines on Friday. In the ensuing landing on Lake Winnebago, it hit a rock that tore a basketball-sized hole in the flying boat’s hull. The damage forced the plane to miss its planned Saturday airshow appearance, but after extensive pumping and some repair work, it was able to fly home and did so on Tuesday, August 2nd.

Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016
Pumping underway to keep the Martin Mars afloat

The “Hawaii Mars II”, the aircraft showcased at AirVenture, is the lone flying example remaining of the type. Only seven aircraft were built in the 1930’s and 1940’s, with with most destroyed or scrapped long ago. She is owned by Coulson Flying Tankers in British Columbia, and has been used to fight wild fires in the region. A second intact Mars, named “Phillipine Mars”, is also owned by Coulson but does not currently fly. Phillipine Mars is painted in the colors she wore during her service in the US Navy as a long range patrol aircraft. There was previously a deal in place to send her to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, but it fell through and Coulson Flying Tankers is currently seeking a buyer for both aircraft as they are no longer being tasked with firefighting duties.

Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016Martin Mars - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016

You can check out the stunning performance of the Martin Mars during AirVenture in our video: