Harrier Jet Pilot Performs Extremely Slow Vertical Landing

Published December 23, 2013 42,815 Views

Rumble / Airplane IncidentsCheck out this close up view of a Harrier fighter jet performing an incredibly slow vertical landing. Now that takes some skill!

Harrier jets are known for their capability to make vertical and short takeoff and landing operations. Basically, it was conceived to operate from improvised bases, such as car parks or forest clearings, without requiring large and vulnerable air bases. It is the only widely-used Vertical Take Off And Land (VTOL) <a href="https://rumble.com/v4puc5-military-jet-exercise-held-in-south-florida.html" target="_blank">military jet</a> in history. Still, with might like that, it takes serious skill for a pilot to control that monster and land it as slowly as possible.

Since the outboard gear on Harrier jets are vulnerable to damage at conventional landing speeds, Harriers typically land in a near-vertical flight path.

Unlike most aircraft, these jets use two types of flight control systems. The control conventional surfaces for wing-lift flight and bleed air reaction control valves for vectored-thrust flight. For the latter, the jet uses bleed air through four main nozzles in the fuselage, in addition to two vents in the wingtips.

Another thing that requires exceptional skill is the ability to land one’s jet when the landing gear malfunctions. One fighter jet pilot showed he had it by the tons when we managed to <a href="https://rumble.com/v2z8bj-pilot-lands-harrier-fighter-jet-without-landing-gear.html" target="_blank">land his aircraft on a dedicated stool</a>! In the video, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. William Mahoney explains that he knew the aircraft is experiencing a problem shortly after taking off, so he radioed the ship and flew past the control tower at 300 feet, hoping they would be able to assess the issue from afar. Since this was not such a case, the Captain had to land the 46-foot-long, 31,000-pound jet with an improvised procedure, where he had to support the nose of the Harrier on a padded stool, built specifically for such an emergency.

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