Harrier’s Landing Gear Failed- So the Navy Broke out a Stool and a Lot of Luck

The AV-8B Harrier is best known as a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Unlike most other military jets, it doesn’t necessarily require a runway — it can just get up and go, all thanks to tens of millions of dollars of military know-how.

However, when the Harrier’s landing gear failed, it was a very simple piece of equipment that the Navy broke out — namely, a stool — that managed to save it upon landing. That, and a lot of luck.

According to War History Online, the incident happened on June 7, 2014. Capt. William Mahoney had taken off from the USS Bataan when he suddenly noticed something was wrong with his landing gear. As he passed the tower of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, they confirmed his worst fears: the nose gear hadn’t deployed.

Thankfully, the ship had a specially-made stool for such emergencies. According to the Marine Times, the stool is built to the exact height of the Harrier’s nose and can support the 30,000 pound aircraft if such an emergency happens.


While the landing was risky, the other alternative was ditching the plane in the ocean. The tower brought out the stool and guided Mahoney and the Harrier down.

“So I’m at 20 feet stabilizing and I can’t see the stool. I don’t even know it’s there. I didn’t see it coming over the end of the ship. I remember looking for it, but I never saw the stool. At that point, I was just sort of along for the ride,” Mahoney said.

He needn’t have worried — he made a perfect landing, saving $30 million of military equipment.

“I remember feeling it just hit and that’s it, but then I had to sit there for a minute and remember how to turn the jet off and shut everything off,” Mahoney said. “It was just a pretty big relief and I didn’t realize how much I was shaking until I actually got out of the aircraft.”

Mahoney received the Air Medal for the amazing landing.

“In the world of ejection seat aircraft, it is not always the first choice to bring the airplane back after something like this and risk the pilot, but this was incredible,” Col. William Dunn said in a press release.

We agree.

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Source: Harrier Makes Epic Emergency Landing Using a Stool

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