Two F-15s Made Emergency Arrested Landings In Opposite Directions On The Same Runway at Kadena Air Base

Two USAF F-15C/D Eagles made emergency landings at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan on January 15th, 2019.

What made the incident so unique is that both jets landed on the same runway in the opposite direction of one another, catching the arresting cables at each end of the runway and coming to a rest face to face with a big expanse of runway between them.

At 10:25 am U.S. Air Force Kadena Air Base in Okinawa two F 15 fighter aircraft belonging to the base got in at 5-minute intervals. The emergency landing at the aircraft took place at about the same time on one runway. 

According to eyewitnesses, one F 15 fighter aircraft entered the south runway from the direction of Okinawa City and stopped at hook landing, around 10:26 am while fire fighting vehicles waited.

The first landing F 15 fighter aircraft.  Upon receiving emergency checks while fire fighting vehicles and others are on standby, Kadena Air Base (provided by readers)

While the Aircraft is undergoing emergency inspection on the runway, another F15 fighter aircraft enters the south runway from the direction of Chatancho in the opposite direction around 10:31 am, and another wire I used an emergency landing with a hook landing.

Second F 15 fighter plane that after emergency landing = (provided by readers)

The two aircraft were towed to the hangar, and the temporary closure was canceled at 11:20 am on the south side runway. The F 15 fighter aircraft and the state-of-the-art stealth fighter F 35 etc. repeated takeoff and landing on the same afternoon.

There are parallel runways at Kadena, but the north runway was closed for repairs and its arresting cables were inoperative when the separate in-flight emergencies occurred on the morning of the 15th.

At Kadena base, repair work on the north runway started on the 8th of this month. It is expected that the northern side will be closed up by construction until about June, and operation on the south side continues. Normally, when the runway closes at the emergency landing, we take measures to take off and landing other aircraft to the other runway.

Clearly, there is a very real risk to such an operation. If the aircraft’s hook skips the cable and the plane cannot go around for another try—which is unlikely if the jet was stricken by a malfunction serious enough that it would require an arrested landing—the aircraft could careen into the other jet stopped farther down the runway. The BAK-12 arresting gear at Kadena is located roughly 1,500 feet beyond the threshold of each end of the runway.

The strange occurrence was first reported on by the Okinawa Times.

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