Fighter lands safely after catching fire

By Wu Jin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 18, 2017
Adjust font size:

Yuan Wei, piloting a J-15 fighter, gets aboard and ready to take off. [Photo/]

Yuan Wei, piloting a J-15 fighter, gave up a last opportunity to parachute from his aircraft whose left engine caught fire after a collision with a flock of doves.

The 32-year-old veteran pilot piloted the crippled fighter to a safe landing, where a ground emergency team soon put out the fire reducing damage to a minimum.

The accident occurred recently when Yuan soared into the air where the sky was clearing after rainfall. However, in no more than one minute, the fighter suffered several violent hits, later identified as a large flock of doves being drawn into the engine.

Yuan was scared in the beginning as the fighter was then flying at 483 kph, resulting in an impact force of 8.1 tons after running into birds weighing almost nothing, equivalent to be struck by a missile.

However, having served as a military pilot for 10 years, and seeing a colleague flying right behind him, Yuan soon regained his calm, telling ground control that he had decided to stay in the cockpit until the crippled plane, costing 400 million yuan (US$61 million), landed safely - even though he still had time to eject from the aircraft as the necessary lever was close to hand.

"With the plane being an integral part of my body, aviation has become an indispensable in my life," Yuan later explained.

The command center mapped out a shortest and safest landing plan. However, when noting that a town with a population of almost 1 million residents was along the proposed flight path, Yuan changed direction regardless of the beep of warning signals.

The left engine a J-15 fighter piloted by Yuan Wei caught fire after a collision with a flock of doves. [Photo/]

When the plane was eventually on its final descent, the landing gear was not functioning, adding further strain on both the pilot and the fighter. At that moment, Yuan could still have abandoned the fighter and parachuted safely down; but he remained in the cockpit ready for landing.

With the clock ticking down the final seconds to landing, ground service crew prepared several emergency plans in case the plane veered off the runway, its tires blew out or the plane overturned at the last moment.

When the wheels hit ground, Yuan braked the fighter as hard as he could and maneuvered it to land precisely at the center of the runway, where the plane decelerated and began to taxi.

The firefighters rushed to the burning aircraft and extinguished fire after Yuan had unbuckled his safety belt and jumped out of the cockpit, from a height equal to a two-story house.

An ambulance rushed him to a nearby hospital for a precautionary check-up.

Several days later, Yuan rejoined his J-15 squadron. Now, while sitting in their cockpit, he and his partner have become more aware of the possible rendezvous with birds.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:    
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from