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F15 Wing Loss Incident  
User currently offlineSaintsman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 2065 posts, RR: 2
Posted (10 years 6 months 1 week ago) and read 16929 times:

I have just watched a programme on the F15 (there's also a thread in the Military forum).

They had great footage of the Israeli F15 that lost a wing in a mid air. The pilot said that after the collision the aircraft entered a spin and it wasn't until he'd put the aircraft into reheat/afterburn that he managed to stabilise the aircraft.

My question is how did he manage to regain control and successfully land? What sort of control inputs would he have used as we all know that in theory he should have crashed. What sort of roll control would he have had ( do an F15s ailerons move up and down? - not all fighters do) or did he use yaw to induce roll.

The pilot said that it wasn't until he landed that he saw he'd lost a wing. He also said that his landing speed was about 250kts, much higher that normal. This would indicate that he never dropped his flaps. It was obviously a wise move but why wouldn't he use flaps if he thought he had two wings?

No doubt about it, it was great airmanship. But how did he do it?

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFlyboySMF2GFK From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 16790 times:

Maybe somebody knows for sure, but my theory is that the thrust:weight ratio of a lightly loaded F-15 (more so by loss of a wing - yikes!) is so great that putting it into zone 5 will get it moving (relatively) forward, thereby decreasing AoA. Common practice in the planes I've flown is to NOT increase thrust during a spin, but maybe the F-15 reacts differently due to the fact that it is a mini-rocketship.  Smile


edit: oh yeah, I think the F-15 uses differential elevators in combination with outboard ailerons to produce roll. I've read that the wing loading is pretty low, too, so that may play a factor in the ability to control it with one missing. Thrust is the name of the game here.

[Edited 2004-03-20 23:05:26]

User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 16751 times:

Some lift is produced by the F-15's fuselage, so losing most of a wing would not amount to losing a whole 50% of lift. The aircraft involved, tail number 957 (80-0133, c/n 0669/ID003) is an F-15D, a twin seat version, that had a navigator (equivalent to RIO/WSO in U.S. armed forces) in the back seat at the time of the incident, just FYI.

What exactly did the footage shown in the program depict, Saintsman?


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17041 posts, RR: 66
Reply 3, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 16735 times:

Yes he did land safely but at rather a high speed. He managed to catch the wire IIRC. When the McDonnell people arrived they were convinced that it was a taxi incident since the wing was sheared off basically just outboard of the engine. They could not believe what had happened at first.

Leaking fuel mist was obscuring the pilot's view of the wing, and that of his wingman. If he had seen the extent of the damage while in flight, he would probably have ejected, or so he claimed when interviewed.

As for lift, as LY744 says, the fuse does produce some lift. At those speeds, it produces enough to keep the plane in the air. He simply had his own lifting body  Big grin Still, some nifty piloting there.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 25
Reply 4, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 16686 times:

If the total lift provided by the one wing and fuselage equaled or exceeded weight, then sure, it certainly could have (and did, of course!) fly. Everything would have depended on the wing loading and total lift of F15s as opposed to other aircraft -- perhaps in some other jet, what was done wouldn't have been possible. However, I highly doubt that the pilot wouldn't have been able to guess that something -- if not exactly what happened -- had happened. After all, the rolling moment would be huge, and quite unmistakable...

Cheers,
QantasA332


User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 16677 times:

To go along with what QantasA332 was saying about weight and lift: the F-15C/D has an empty weight of about 12500kg. It is capable of carrying over 7000kg of fuel and ammunition on external stores, 4500kg of additional fuel in conformal fuel tanks (CFT's), and 6000kg of internal fuel. Seeing as it was on a training mission, the Eagle would have been far lighter than its ~30000kg MTOW. A typical Israeli A2A training sorty on that type of aircraft would have called for internal fuel, a single 610 gallon belly tank, no CFT's, and two training missile rounds. This would have amounted to a maximum of 20000kg total weight at the beginning of the flight, making the aircraft considerably lighter after it burned off some fuel and lost a whole wing.


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29800 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 16555 times:

Wrong Forum.

But I believe this is the incident of which you speak.



Talked a bit about it on this topic.

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1252625/"



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlinePW100 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2002, 2485 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 16339 times:

This is unbelieveble. 250kts landing speed WOW. At that speed the wide fuselage produced sufficient lift to keep the iarcraft airborne. I guess it would even be "flyable" without the other wing as well, with the horizontal stabilizers providing roll control.

Found this piece which was published in "Pressure suit":



Interesting story and picture
by Jon Easley



A simulated dogfight training took place between two F-15D's and four A-4N Skyhawks over the skies of the Negev, Israel. The F-15D #957, (nicknamed 'Markia Shchakim', 5 killmarks) was used for the conversion of a new pilot in the squadron.

"At some point I collided with one of the Skyhawks, at first I didn't realize it. I felt a big strike, and I thought we passed through the jet stream of one of the other aircraft. Before I could react, I saw the big fire ball created by the explosion of the Skyhawk.

The radio started to deliver calls saying that the Skyhawk pilot has ejected, and I understood that the fireball was the Skyhawk, that exploded, and the pilot was ejected automatically.

There was a tremendous fuel stream going out of my wing, and I understood it was badly damaged. The aircraft flew without control in a strange spiral. I reconnected the electric control to the control surfaces, and slowly gained control of the aircraft until I was straight and level again. It was clear to me that I had to eject. When I gained control I said : "Hey, wait, don't eject yet!" No warning light was on and the navigation computer worked as usual; (I just needed a warning light in my panel to indicate that I missed a wing...)." My instructor pilot ordered me to eject.

The wing is a fuel tank, and the fuel indicator showed 0.000 so I assumed that the jet stream sucked all the fuel out of the other tanks. However, I remembered that the valves operate only in one direction, so that I might have enough fuel to get to the nearest airfield and land. I worked like a machine, wasn't scared and didn't worry. All I knew was as long as the sucker flies, I'm gonna stay inside. I started to decrease the airspeed, but at that point one wing was not enough. So I went into a spin down and to the right. A second before I decided to eject, I pushed the throttle and lit the afterburner. I gained speed and thus got control of the aircraft again.

Next thing I did was lower the arresting hook. A few seconds later I touched the runway at 260 knots, about twice the recommended speed, and called the tower to erect the emergency recovery net. The hook was torn away from the fuselage because of the high speed, but I managed to stop 10 meters before the net. I turned back to shake the hand of my instructor, who had urged me to eject, and then I saw it for the first time - no wing !!!"



The IAF (Israeli Air Force) contacted McDonnell Douglas and asked for information about possibility to land an F-15 with one wing. MD replied that this is aerodynamically impossible, as confirmed by computer simulations. Then they received the photo . . . . After two months the same F-15 got a new wing and returned to action.



This is what "Flight international" wrote about the incident:

"The most outstanding Eagle save was by a pilot from a foreign Air Force".
During air combat training his two-seater F-15 was involved in a mid air collision with an A-4 Skyhawk.
The A-4 crashed, and the Eagle lost its right wing from about 2 ft. outboard. After some confusion between the instructor who said eject, and the student who outranked his instructor and said no, the F-15 was landed at it's desert base. Touching down at 290 knots, the hook was dropped for an approach end engagement. This slowed the F-15 to 100 knots, when the hook weak link sheared, and the aircraft was then braked conventionally.

It is said that the student was later demoted for disobeying his instructor, then promoted for saving the aircraft.

McDonnell Douglas attributes the saving of this aircraft to the amount of lift generated by the engine intake/body and "a hell of a good pilot".



There's also a similar story of an F18 landing missing a large chunk of its left wing, although not as dramatic as this Eagle.


PW100



Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17041 posts, RR: 66
Reply 8, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 16317 times:

It should also be noted that the F-15 does not have elevators, but elevons. These are both elevators and ailerons in the same control, as is common in fighter jets like the F-111, MiG-29, Su-27 and so on. So some aileron control was still there even without the right aileron. This would partly explain how control was maintained. In a 737 or something, roll control would have been more difficult.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinePW100 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2002, 2485 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 16247 times:

That's completely correct StarlionBlue. Infact, my brother flies a home made turbine powered model of the F-15 [including retractable gear] of about 2.3m length, 11 kg weight, and that thing doesn't even have ailerons. Roll control is fully maintained by elevons. Despite not having ailerons, roll rate is just amazing!

PW100



Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"
User currently offlineFlyboySMF2GFK From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 6 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 16226 times:

PW100,

Just to be clear, though, the F-15 does have ailerons - it just also incorporates elevons for added roll control. That may differ from your brothers model.

Respectfully,

Flyboy


User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (10 years 6 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 15715 times:

The aircraft is still in service BTW, and has even scored a pair of air-to-air victories since having been rebuilt.


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
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