Originally posted by iris_failsafe
I saw the video of that training mission on the history channel a few days ago. The explanation was that when the A-4 crashed with the f-15 the pilot
turned on the afterburner increasing the speed of the planes making it behave like a rocket.
With sufficient airspeed any flat surface will produce some lift with a positive angle of attack. Ground effects, and no weapons load all helped no
doubt. The important thing is he still had plenty of power, sufficient control authority to compensate for the imbalance due to the lost wing and
working controls to do something with the available resources. Loose any one of those and he would've been toast.
One other thing. Most people would've punched out as soon as they saw the wing was gone. This crazy Israeli kept calm, assessed his condition,
assessed his options, worked out a plan of action, and had the confidence to take that action. That's experience and GUTS!!!
Found this via google.
On may 1st. 1983, a simulated dogfight training took place between two F-15D's and four A-4N Skyhawks over the skies of the Negev. The F-15D (# 957,
nicknamed 'Markia Shchakim', 5 killmarks) was used for the conversion of a new pilot in the squadron. Here is the description of the event as
described in "Pressure suit":
At some point I collided with one of the Skyhawks, at first I didn't realize it. I felt a big strike, and I thought we passed through the jet stream
of one of the other aircraft. Before I could react, I saw the big fire ball created by the explosion of the Skyhawk. The radio started to deliver
calls saying that the Skyhawk pilot has ejected, and I understood that the fire ball was the skyhawk, that exploded, and the pilot was ejected
There was a tremendous fuel stream going out of the wing, and I understood it was badly damaged. The aircraft flew without control in a strange
spiral. I re-connected the electric control to the control surfaces, and slowly gained control on the aircraft until I was straight and level again.
It was clear to me that I had to eject. When I gained control I said : "Hey, wait, don't eject yet!". No warning light was on and the navigation
computer worked as usual; I just needed a warning light in my panel to indicate that I missed a wing..." The instructor ordered me to eject. The wing
is a fuel tank, and the fuel indicator showed 0.000 so I assumed that the jet stream sucked all the fuel out of the other tanks. However, I remembered
that the valves operate only in one direction, so that I might have enough fuel to get to the nearest airfield and land.
I worked like a machine, wasn't scared and didn't worry. All I knew was : as long as the sucker flies, I'm gonna stay inside. I started to decrease
the airspeed, but at that point one wing was not enough. So I went into a spin down and to the right. A second before I decided to eject, I pushed the
throttle and lit the afterburner. I gained speed and thus got control of the aircraft again. Next thing I did was lowering the arresting hook. A few
seconds later I touched the runway at 260 knots, about twice the recommended speed, and called the tower to erect the emergency recovery net. The hook
was torn away from the fuselage because of the high speed, but I managed to stop 10 meters before the net.
I turned back to shake the hand of my instructor, who urged me to eject, and then I saw it for the first time - no wing !!!
The IAF (Israeli Air Force) contacted McDonnel Douglas and asked for information about possibility to land an F-15 with one wing . MD replied that
this is aerodynamically impossible, as confirmed by computer simulations... Then they received the photo....
After two months the same F-15 got a new wing and returned to action.
Written by: Tsahi Ben Ami
This is what "Flight international, 8 June 1985" wrote about the incident :
"The most outstanding Eagle save was by a pilot from a foreign air force. During air combat training his two seater F-15 was involved in a mid air
collision with an A-4 Skyhawk. The A-4 crashed, and the Eagle lost it's right wing from about 2ft. outboard. After some confusion between the
instructor who said eject, and the student who outranked his instructor and said no, the F-15 was landed at it's desert base. Touching down at 290
kt, the hook was dropped for an approach and engagement. This slowed the F-15 to 100 kt, when the hook weak link sheared, and the aircraft was then
braked conventionally. It is said that the student was later demoted for disobeying his instructor, then promoted for saving the aircraft.
McDonnel Douglas attributes the saving of this aircraft to the amount of lift generated by the engine intake/body and "a hell of a good pilot".
Written by: Tsahi Ben Ami