Losses and Aviation Safety

Video shows US Navy F-4B Phantom II falling into the sea after the cable from the Catapult to the Aircraft snapped and the Freed Shuttle came forward breaking the Nose Wheel

Taken aboard USS Coral Sea (CV-43) aircraft carrier, the video in this post features a mishap on CAT-3 where an F-4B Phantom II of VF-151 is pulled down the deck by its mangled nose gear after a miscue.

Taken aboard USS Coral Sea (CV-43) aircraft carrier, the video in this post features a mishap on CAT-3 where an F-4B Phantom II of VF-151 is pulled down the deck by its mangled nose gear after a miscue. Look closely at the nose gear and you can see it collapse and then get tangled in the bridal/shuttle pulling the Phantom II into the sea.

AO2 Tom Pokora explains in a comment to the video:

‘I was also on deck that day when the skipper and LCdr Keating had to eject. I was standing right across from the waist cat when the accident occurred. I have always maintained that the hold-back “apple” prematurely broke and the F-4 in full burner lurched forward just before the cat fired. The cables fell off and the plane rolled down the deck ways and the shuttle blew the nose gear up into the radome. The plane continued down the deck on it’s nose and ejection occurred just before it went off the angle deck. Canopies and ejection seats were coming down and I had to scramble. I looked aft and saw Cdr. Winton blowing down the deck and over the fantail. I remember he did not want us to try and grab him as he knew there was no stopping him with the deck wind. A very sad day.’

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-4J Phantom II VF-154 Black Knights, NE100 / 158373 / 1972

John Chesire, a former US Navy F-4 Phantom II Pilot, explains on Quora;

‘Aircraft carrier’s catapult catastrophic malfunction happens, but it is thankfully a rare occurrence. Nevertheless the possibility is in the back of the mind of everyone who sits on the catapult at full power, waiting to be shot off the ship within two seconds time.

‘The more common failure is called a “cold cat” whereby the end speed off the catapult is not enough to maintain flight and the aircraft falls into the water off the ship’s bow.

‘However other failures can occur. The video below was my squadron just before I joined them. The cable from the catapult to the aircraft snapped and the freed shuttle came forward breaking the nose wheel. The aircraft could not stop, both pilot and RIO ejected, but the RIO died.’

Video: Coral Sea PLAT video from Gary Schreffler

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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