Taken on Oct. 21, 2019 the video in this post shows an AF-1B Skyhawk belonging to the Comando da Força Aeronaval (CFA, Brazilian Navy) from VF-1 “Falcão” after an incident at its home base São Pedro da Aldeia Naval Air Base (BAeNSPA).
The aircraft can be seen nose-down at the end of the runway with a fire extender coming to rescue. The pilot who was seen running away from her Skyhawk, hopefully she escaped without injuries.
According to Scramble Magazine the aircraft involved in the mishap is the AF-1B Skyhawk serial N-1013, only redelivered after modernization on Sep. 6, 2019. It seems that the aircraft had to abort the take-off due to engine problems, and could not brake on time before reaching the end of the runway. The nosewheel collapsed and a short fire ensued after fuel leaked out of the external fuel tanks.
However, the Skyhawk looks repairable.
Brazil was the latest A-4 Skyhawk customer. In 1997 Brazil negotiated a $70 million contract for purchase of 20 A-4KU and three TA-4KU Skyhawks from Kuwait. Kuwait’s Skyhawks, modified A-4Ms and TA-4Js delivered in 1977, were among the last of those models built by Douglas. The aircraft were selected by Brazil because of low flight time, excellent physical condition, and a favorable price. The Brazilian Navy re-designated AF-1 and AF-1A Falcões (Hawks), the Kuwaiti Skyhawks arrived in Arraial do Cabo on Sep. 5, 1998.
On Jan. 18, 2001, an AF-1 trapped aboard the Brazilian aircraft carrier Minas Gerais was later successfully catapulted, making Brazil’s fixed-wing carrier force operational again after nearly two decades. To replace the aging Minas Gerais, Brazil purchased the surplus French aircraft carrier Foch on Nov. 15, 2001. Renamed São Paulo, the “new” carrier received extensive refitting before becoming operational in 2003. Minas Gerais was decommissioned and retired that year.
On Apr. 14, 2009, Embraer signed a contract to modernize 12 Brazilian Navy aircraft, nine AF-1s (single-seat) and three AF-1As (two-seat). This upgrade will restore the operating capacity of the Navy 1st Intercept and Attack Plane Squadron. The program includes restoring the aircraft and their current systems, as well as implementing new avionics, radar, power production, and autonomous oxygen generating systems. The first of the 12 modified Skyhawks was delivered on May 27, 2015. Embraer stated the modifications will allow the aircraft to remain operational until 2025.
In 2017, the Brazilian Navy indicated that it was reconsidering the total number of aircraft to be modernized to AF-1B/C standard due to budget constraints and the decommissioning of the São Paulo. Two AF-1Bs were delivered in 2015 and a further two of undisclosed type are to be delivered in 2017. It is believed that despite the loss of its only carrier, the Navy wants to retain the experience of carrier-based operations, and thus will not rescind the contract outright.
Photo credit: Defesa Aereanaval
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