Footage Of An F-14 Ejection Off Carrier – Then The Plane Flies Away On Its Own

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Footage Of An F-14 Ejection Off Carrier – Then The Plane Flies Away On Its Own | World War Wings Videos

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On March 8th, 2002, just a few years before they were retired, an F-14 crew found itself in a really dangerous situation. Upon landing on a carrier called USS John C. Stennis, the tail hook of the F-14 broke off sending the plane and the crew off the deck. 

The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier USS John C. Stennis is seen Friday, May 11, 2007. | White House photo by David Bohrer / Public Domain

There are two videos of the incident below. One is low at the bottom of the flight deck clearly showing the tail hook breaking off and hurling toward the camera. The other shows the incident from the bridge and the plane coming off the deck again.

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As many of you know, aircraft landing on the flight deck have the throttle pushed all the way up. This is a failsafe in case the arresting cable breaks (or in this case the tail hook) so the aircraft has enough power to take off again.

This time it did not work.

The F-14 Tomcat went right off the deck and started to dip. As is their training, the pilots immediately punched out when they felt the aircraft going down, and were recovered safely a short time after. 

The last F-14 launch from a carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt on 28 July 2006. | U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Laird / Public Domain

The Tomcat however, continued to climb after the crew bailed out. This is partly do to the fact that it lost almost 1000 lbs. (the weight of both crew, their ejection seats and canopy), making it lighter.

View From The Bridge

View From The Flight Deck

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