A USAF F-15D Eagle departed the runway during landing at approximately 3:15 p.m. on May 15, 2023 at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore. The aircraft was returning to base following a routine training mission.
A US Air Force (USAF) F-15D departed the runway during landing at approximately 3:15 p.m. on May 15, 2023 at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore. The aircraft was returning to base following a routine training mission.
Upon landing the aircraft left the paved surface and came to a stop in the Bureau of Reclamation irrigation canal at the south side of the runway.
“We don’t believe the aircraft is leaking any petroleum products based on our initial assessment of the water in the canal,” said Col. Micah Lambert, 173rd Fighter Wing vice commander, in a unit news release. “Minimizing the environmental impact is one of our main priorities; we have taken precautionary measures and placed absorbent booms around the aircraft to prevent the flow of fuel, or other substances, downstream in the event there is a leakage.”
Lambert also said the wing is conducting ongoing water sampling to detect if there is a presence of petroleum products in the water.
The plane was assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing, and there was one crew member on board. The F-15 instructor pilot exited the aircraft safely and was transported to Sky Lakes Medical Center as a precaution and for evaluation. He has since been released with minor injuries.
“We are so grateful that our pilot was able to walk away from this mishap,” said Lambert. “Our Team Kingsley responders acted quickly and with professionalism thanks to the extensive training and safety mindset of our team.”
Lambert noted that the wing is partnering with local authorities and federal agencies, to include the Bureau of Reclamation, to ensure the aircraft is safely removed from the canal.
A board of officers has been assigned to investigate the mishap. Additional updates will be provided as soon as they are available.
As reported by Air & Space Forces Magazine, a spokeswoman for the 173rd Fighter Wing said there is no timeline yet for the aircraft to be removed from the water, nor has any determination of the severity of the water damage to the plane been made.
As of September 2022, the USAF has only a few F-15Ds left in its inventory and most of them are assigned to Air National Guard units. They are on average more than 30 years old.
The service announced in 2020 that the F-15EX schoolhouse was replacing its F-15C/Ds at Kingsley. However, the 173rd announced in February that the department is reconsidering that decision.
Photo credit: Master Sgt. Jefferson Thompson / U.S. Air National Guard