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Jet Fuel Tank Hits Road  
User currently offline9VSPO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 6 months 22 hours ago) and read 4211 times:

AN ELDERLY cyclist cheated death yesterday when a fuel tank from a Harrier jump jet missed his head by inches. Les Sprason, 66, watched in horror as the empty 12ft metal tank fell within a whisker of his face and bounced between cars on the A3124 at Winkleigh, Devon. It narrowly missed a herd of cows before smashing into a tree. Grandad Les said: “I thought I was dead.”

The RAF jet had taken off from RAF Cottesmore near Peterborough, Cambs, on a training flight. A spokesman said the pilot had NOT jettisoned the tank on purpose. He added: “The pilot was surprised it came off.” The jet, which was not damaged, made an emergency landing at a base in Yeovilton, Somerset.

An inquiry was ordered.

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4887 posts, RR: 19
Reply 1, posted (9 years 6 months 21 hours ago) and read 4198 times:

From this report, there were trees, cars, cyclists and cows very very close together (because the tank almost hit all of them)...strange Britain.

User currently offlineAR1300 From Argentina, joined Feb 2005, 1750 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (9 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3994 times:

I always wondered were those jettisoned stores go after you press the button....


You are now free to move about the cabin
User currently offlineAnMCOSon From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 81 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3782 times:

He and the other motorist's should be thanking their lucky star's that the tank wasn't full or had any fuel in it. Wouldn't it have exploded if it did have some in it?

What the? Did everything just jump around? Or did my brain just stroke off there for a second?
User currently offlineMissedApproach From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 713 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3664 times:

Don't feel too bad. We had a Sparrow missile fall off an F-18 for some reason in Yellowknife last year. It landed on a golf course. I can't imagine anyone playing golf in Yellowknife, but that's what the papers said.
CF-18 Drops Missle On Cyzf Golf Course! (by CanadianPilot Jun 19 2004 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)#ID21307

Can you hear me now?
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6766 posts, RR: 54
Reply 5, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3660 times:

Quoting AnMCOSon (Reply 3):
Wouldn't it have exploded if it did have some in it?

No, it wouldn't explode. Only fuel vapor mixed with air can explode.

If it had landed on snow, then probably nothing had happened, but otherwise most likely sparks would have ignited a huge fire.

Sh$t happens. Some fifteen years ago a Danish SAAB Draken during an exercise was supposed to attack an army unit with the gun camera. Unfortunately he pressed the wrong button and fired a salvo of hot 20mm. Fortunately he was a bad pilot and missed them all.

That pilot was for ever since then called a "Luftwaffe pilot". Since practically all the remains of Luftwaffe ended up on Danish soil in April 1945, then the word "Luftwaffe" ended up in the Danish language as one of the worst four letter words. An air force pilot being named "luftwaffe pilot" is certainly no compliment.

Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
User currently offlineBsergonomics From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 462 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3515 times:

Oh dear. It happened again.

If we tried listing all the things that have accidentally dropped/jettisoned from aircraft over the years, we'll have one of the longest posts in history.

The Harrier has a small problem in that it has the secondary trim switches next to the selective jettison button. This has resulted in countless accidental jettisons over the years (e.g., the baggage pod that was dropped on Iraq, containing shoes, magazines etc. Does that count as psychological or biological warfare?).


A not entirely relevant anecdote:

Most combat aircraft have four interlocks before the pilot can release anything from the aircraft: Weight On Wheels switch (WoW), Master Arm Safety Switch (MASS), Late Arm Switch and Weapon Release button. When they designed the Tornado, they realised early on that the type of pilot flying it wouldn't be the most intelligent on the planet, so they added a fifth interlock.

The definition of a 'Pessimist': an Optimist with experience...
User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3501 times:

Quoting Racko (Reply 1):
From this report, there were trees, cars, cyclists and cows very very close together (because the tank almost hit all of them)...strange Britain.

Its called the countryside.

User currently offlineBsergonomics From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 462 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3343 times:

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 7):
Its called the countryside.

I'm afraid that you're wrong. When the UK cancelled the TSR-2, it led to a major budget overspend. The result was that the British government had to employ bicycle riders as crossing wardens. This plan was kept by the next left wing government. Since, outside the major cities, the largest component of the road-crossing population consisted of large mammals, the (now defunct) League for Integration of Foreign Entities (LIFE) successfully campaigned for the expansion of crossings into the countryside. This practice remains to this day in the UK.

The inside story (which I heard today from a passing penguin) is that the bicycle rider, performing his job as crossing warden, was allowing the cows to cross between the cars when said fuel tank (most inconveniently, it must be said) barged through and impacted the tree opposite.

This explains why they were so close together.  Wink


Quoting AR1300 (Reply 2):
I always wondered were those jettisoned stores go after you press the button....

Downwards, usually (unless you are inverted...).


On a more relevant note, I am surprised that the tank was empty. It is true that training flights are frequently carried out to allow the pilots to get used to handling the aircraft with the added drag of this type of store. In fact, they also fly with bogus (non-existent) or inert handling & jettison stores, for procedural and handling experience. However, to fly with an empty tank from take-off (unless he/she was performing touch-and-go manoeuvres) seems a little strange. Any thoughts from the pilots here?

The definition of a 'Pessimist': an Optimist with experience...
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