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Marines Harrier with Faulty nose gear lands....on a stool

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Apparently, according to the pilot involved, a known, if not well known solution to the maintennance types and higher ups in the squadrons. My father in law was involved (no longer in the military) and he said that this is a known problem with the Harrier, ever since the AV-8A was first produced, and the now famous stool was a solution invented by the development types during testing of the gear in the hangar to allow testing on the mains without needing to worry about the nose gear, broken or not. They could assign a team to fix the nose gear problems (hopefully) while allowing the main gear to remain on normally scheduled testing.

They thought that by the time the B and C Harriers came out that the nose gear problems were solved. They were, as usual mistaken. I think it's a problem involving th positional sensing microswitches on the nose gear hydraulic actuators. Apparently it just takes a tiny positional error in aligning the switch on the nosegear hydraulic actuator to cause it to think it's up (or down) and not permit actuator motion when the movement should happen. Given the chance of a maintennance type, say a new PFC or L/Cpl, supervised by a Sgt or SSgt making such a mistake is small but finite and easy enough to fix, the "Stool" is built by the squadrons during standup or transition to ensure such situations, when they DO occur, are as minimally damaging as possible both to the sircraft and to the airport, whether ashore or afloat.

However, if you watch the video you will notice that even though it's a relatively safe proceedure, the flightdeck personell are cleared off, probably either behind the island or below decks, just in cast of a...ahem...problem...during the recovery. The chance of an engine failure coupled into the situation along with the gear problemis small, but should it occur, the fewest possible humans will be injured/killed during the ensuing crash. After all. all it would take would be a seagull at 10' AGL to severely complicate the entire situation, bringing up a different that normal occurance. Normally an engine failure that low would be a hard, VERY hard, but survivable impact. No nose gear would probably raise it up to a crash, not just a hard recovery requiring nothing more than a special inspection of the aircraft and an engine replacement, which the plane is actually designed to make into a relatively easy, simple, and rapid event. Even a small wind gust or mispositioning by the pilot can lead to a potential severe crash situation evolving, unlike if the gear is down normally.

I was stationed at MCAS Yuma, AZ during the years when the A models were first brought into the Corps, and actually saw a number of crashes, and heard of a number more, with a nice, inside track to the causes and the one that became severely unstable during a hover, leading the pilot to eject, and which point the plane steadied up nicely and proceeded to hover-wander it's way slowly and in a random path across the airfield and into a hangar over on the civilian side of the airport :) Nothing anyone could do but watch as it meandered around the field. Even the pilot was awestuck, standing where he had landed, leaning this way and that trying to "help" the plane not fly into anything! I understand he then immediately got a new  callsign, altho we couldn't find it out...

Overall, it was a darn fine bit of aviating by the pilot and speed of placement by the flightdeck crew, and a joy to watch such skill at work :)


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Apparently, according to the pilot involved, a known, if not well known solution to the maintennance types and higher ups in the squadrons.


Nice post Patrick, thanks for the information.


Well done by all!



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