August 16, 2017

THEY DON’T MAKE ‘EM LIKE THAT ANYMORE: A-10 Pilot Lands With No Canopy, Gear After Gun Explodes.

Two thousand feet up and flying over the forests of Alpena County, Capt. Brett DeVries was running through his mental checklist and most of the options were bad. With his wingman flying just feet away and an Air Force maintenance specialist patched in via a radio set up next to a speaker phone, DeVries made the decision to land his badly-damaged A-10 Thunderbolt II on the runway at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.

Despite the fact that his landing gear wouldn’t come down. And the canopy had blown off the aircraft 25 minutes before. And his main radio stopped working. Along with the first back-up.

There’s an old saying in the Air Force: Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.

In this case, DeVries expeditiously exited the aircraft – gulping deep breathes until he was certain there would be no explosion. But yes, it was a very good landing.

Impressive photo at the link.

During the first Gulf War, CNN talked to an A-10 pilot who had safely landed back in Saudi with, at a guess, maybe 60% total of both his aircraft’s wing remaining — and he didn’t seem to think it was a such a big deal. I’m not sure that particular A-10 ever flew again (although I wouldn’t be surprised if it had), but the pilot certainly did.

As the Air Force continues its hunt for a light attack plane to replace the A-10, let’s hope they’re keeping survivability from ground fire very much in mind.

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