Bedtime for a Jump Jet

A USMC TAV-8B Harrier from VMAT-203 suffered a landing gear malfunction when trying to return to MCAS Cherry Point.  The Marine aviator realizing his gear failed to extend naturally referred to SOP that dictated activating the backup safety nitrogen bottle to blow the gear down.

Unfortunately for the pilot and plane, when communicating the issue over the radio, a higher ranking officer ordered him not to follow standard operating procedures, and instead had a stack of strapped mattresses placed in the centre of the runway. 

Much to the surprise of the Officer that devised the imaginative contingency plan...when the 23,000lb fighter jet blowing down over 20,000 pounds of vectored thrust from its Pegasus engines settled down on its bed, the landing mattresses immediately responded with an un-contained self-executed rapid kinetic disassembly exploding in a shower of metal springs, fabric and coils that were quickly ingested through the spinning blades of the jet engine.  

Although the aircraft was extensively damaged, the pilot was able to climb out of bed without injury.  

When ground crews jacked up the Harrier Jump Jet, they we able to blow the gear down with no problems. This is when the story takes an even stranger turn. Once the jet was placed in the hangar, relatively undamaged structurally speaking, an EZ-go golf cart came flying into the hangar and smashed directly into the jet, causing some D-level repair damage. It turns out that the cart operator was huffing keyboard cleaner shortly before making his parts run in the EZ-go. He got dizzy, lost consciousness  and the cart, now driverless, turned directly into the hangar at full speed through a gap in the hangar doors and smashed into the parked Jump Jet.





  • A guy who Knows

    This happened over 10 years ago. The senior officer works as a suit at Lockheed Martin. The aircraft commander’s career was just fine. He actually said on the radio:”Just to confirm, you’re telling me to violate NATOPS,right?”

  • Sgt. Little

    While probably the stupidest thing I have ever seen, unless you have spent time in the military STFU. I CAN GUARANTEE that the senior pilot is probably working in the base post office. As will the command pilot in the TA-v8B. He should have followed NATOPS emergency procedures. The original intent was to save from a time consuming flushing of the hydraulic system. Having worked on these planes, probably this very one I know how the system works. It would have been less costly to have landed the plane gear up and on the skids.

  • master of sinanju

    Wow , not surprised to see dumba$$ery in the armed services. A.A or daddy and granddaddy are in the admiralty?

  • master of sinanju

    Wow , not surprised to see dumba$$ery in the armed services. A.A or daddy and granddaddy are in the admiralty?

  • SFC Michael King

    Don’t know who the “higher ranking officer” is but he/she should now be a
    lower ranking PVT for the next six months in the local brig.
    Followed by a Bad Conduct Discharge.
    This level of stupid must not be allowed in our Military, even in the Officer Corp.

Leave a comment