There are no tests more difficult for a pilot than an emergency landing. And more when the device is a F-35A fighter plane as happened to an Air Force pilot from South Korea. As reported by the Ministry of Defense of this country, one of its pilots had to carry out a tummy landing when he realized that the landing gear was failing. Experts regard this unprecedented operation almost as a feat.
“The plane carried out an emergency operation because landing gear did not deploy. This means that the plane made the vertical landing, “said a South Korean military official, who did not confirm whether the plane suffered any damage in the incident. According to sources cited by the Yonhap agency, the failure occurred due to electronic problems of the F-35, whose estimated value is 135 million dollars (about 120 million euros).
The “belly landing or landing with folded gear” occurs when an airplane lands without the landing gear, so the pilot has to complete the operation with the airplane touching the ground directly, with his “belly”, which It usually ends in an accident, fire and with the device seriously damaged. Experts point out that to avoid these consequences, the plane must be as straight and level as possible during landing and carry a speed that can be controlled.
“An emergency landing on the F-35 can be quite difficult and dangerous due to the angle of attack the aircraft has as it approaches landing,” he said. David Cenciotti, Former Italian Air Force officer and editor of The Aviationist blog.
“The F-35 lands very fast. It is not an F-16, 18 or 111, ″ he said. Peter layton, a former Australian air force officer quoted by CNN as referring to older and less sophisticated military aircraft than the F-35. “I am very surprised that the emergency gear change systems did not work or were not used,” added. Layton was also surprised that the South Korean pilot did not eject, “but they clearly did the right thing,” he said.
Both the South Korean Air Force like the US consortium Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the plane, they will open an investigation into the strange incident that this fifth-generation fighter has suffered, which has not stopped causing problems since its launch.
South Korea received its first U.S.-built F-35 in 2019 within an initial order of 40 single-engine aircraft. The F-35 is one of the most expensive fighters and is currently integrated into the Armed Forces of countries such as Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands and Israel, as well as the United States.
The recent history of the F-35s is riddled with flaws. The website F-16.net has recorded at least eight incidents related to this fighter plane. The most recent and most talked about occurred in November, when an F-35 crashed in the Mediterranean Sea from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth while on a routine flight. The pilot managed to eject, but the plane ended up on the seabed.
Its manufacturer, the American company Lockheed Martin, ensures that the F-35 It is the “most lethal combat aircraft, survivable and connected to the world, which gives pilots an advantage against any adversary and allows them to execute their mission and return home safely ”.