Tornado crew ejected after they landed
THE crew of a Tornado fighter jet was forced to eject from the aircraft after it had landed, it emerged yesterday, although the RAF has refused to explain how the drama unfolded.
The RAF's main frontline strike aircraft was continuing to fly over Britain yesterday despite the second serious incident involving a Tornado in Scotland in 14 days.
A fortnight after a Tornado crashed into the sea off Scotland's west coast, the crew of a second Lossiemouth-based fighter bomber was forced to eject from their aircraft after it landed on the main runway at the closure-threatened Moray air base on Thursday.
The pilot and navigator, who were taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, are understood to have escaped serious injury after they safely ejected from the 30 million aircraft, seconds before it slewed off the main runway and on to the grass verge before coming to a halt. Yesterday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that an investigation had been launched into the incident as speculation grew about the possible cause of the crew's emergency ejection.
A spokeswoman for the MoD said: "A Tornado aircraft experienced problems on landing at RAF Lossiemouth on Thursday. The crew, who ejected, are undergoing routine medical checks in hospital. An inquiry is being convened to determine the cause of the incident."
She declined to give any more details about the incident but confirmed that the RAF's Tornados were still flying after the latest incident.
The spokeswoman said: "The Tornado fleet are not grounded in any way. There is certainly no suspected links between the two incidents at this stage at all."
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On 27 January, the two-man crew of a Lossiemouth-based Tornado GR4 ejected from their aircraft before it crashed into the sea near the mouth of Loch Ewe in Wester Ross.
Jim Ferguson, a leading aviation writer, said yesterday that the lack of information from the MoD about the incident was bound to create anxiety among residents in the community.
He said: "There is concern that the MoD is saying so little. This incident has obviously raised understandable concerns in the local community and the quicker the cause of this incident is made known, the better. They (the MoD) obviously know what's going on, and I think we should have been told.
"The RAF will have the aircraft's accident data recorder or whatever these things carry and they will obviously have witnesses in the control tower and things like that.
"There will be a board of inquiry and the quicker it reports the better."
Alan MacNeish, a planning officer with Moray Council who lives in Lossiemouth, took a series of photographs of the stricken aircraft shortly after the incident.He explained: "It appears the aircraft had come in to land on runway 23 - the main runway - and appears to have come off the runway, close to the intersection with the cross runway that they still occasionally use - about two thirds of the way down.
"It look as if they have come across the first arrester wire and veered off before reaching the second arrester wire."
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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