F-18 assists an Airbus with landing gear problems over the Canary Islands
An F-18A fighter jet from the 46th Wing of the Spanish Air Force that was carrying out a training mission over the Canary Islands, assisted an Airbus A321-211 from Danish airline Sunclass last week which had declared an emergency due to a possible landing gear problem, as reported by the Air Force.
The Airbus had taken off from Gran Canaria airport at around 12:30pm and received a 'landing gear failure' warning shortly after takeoff when the pilot tried to retract it.
Given the seriousness of the situation, the pilot ascended to 8,000 feet, headed south of the island, and began to circle to burn fuel to lighten the weight of the plane in the event of an emergency landing back at Las Palmas airport.
Meanwhile, the Gando Air Base diverted two F-18s that were returning from a training mission, to the planes location to offer assistance by carrying out a visual reconnaissance and assess any possible damage to the landing gear so that the situation could be better evaluated.
The pilot of the Airbus accepted the offer so the F-18 positioned itself behind the plane at 6,000 feet and began to approach the underneath of it getting closer and closer to it so that the pilot of the fighter jet could physically observe any problems.
Once located below the Airbus, the F-18 pilot was able to confirm that the landing gear had retracted correctly and that all the hatches were closed, and no damage could be seen. Thanks to this information, the Airbus was able to land safely half an hour later after burning off more fuel with no harm to any of the passengers or crew members.
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