A US Navy pilot successfully landed his fighter plane with no front landing gear. Captain William Mahoney pulled off this feat when his landing gear malfunctioned back in 2014. But the US Navy has only now declassified a video of his spectacular landing. The aircraft in question is the AV-8B Harrier, designed by McDonnell Douglas in the late 1970s and commissioned in 1983. The fighter jet weighs 5,700 kg empty, flies at over 600 mph (1,000 km/h) and can take off or land vertically.
On June 7th, 2014, just after taking off from the USS Bataan aircraft carrier, Captain Mahoney folded away his landing gear, but this immediately triggered an alarm signaling a front landing gear malfunction. The pilot made a U-turn and then, stationary at an altitude of 2,000 feet (600 m) he tried in vain several times to open the defective landing gear. The team aboard the aircraft carrier then decided to position a special equipment, designed for precisely this kind of situation, on the bridge. The apparatus, resembling a stool, acted as a front landing gear.
Guided from the ground, the pilot descended gradually to finally succeed in posing the nose of his fighter plane gently and "blindly" on this stool. Under high pressure, the pilot later admitted that after this delicate manoeuvre he "had to sit there for a minute and remember how to shut the jet off and everything”. All’s well that ends well for the Captain and his 23€M Euro fighter jet.