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Fighter jet lands on stool when landing gear fails: Pilot makes miracle landing

When a fighter jet lands on a stool, it is so unbelievable that it has to make headlines. Now that the United States Marine Corps has released video footage of the incident, the brave pilot's miraculous landing has gone viral with good reason. The landing was incredible, and the stool in question was no ordinary stool. According to a June 26, 2014 report by Gizmodo, the landing was "perfect but bumpy."

Fighter jet lands on stool (not shown). Image: An RAF Eurofighter Typhoon piloted by Flight Lieutenant Noel Rees performs a flypast during the unveiling of the commemorative D-Day Eurofighter Typhoon jet at RAF Coningsby
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Captain William Mahoney was in the pilot's seat of an AV-8B Harrier jet when he made the awful realization that something was wrong. The Cold War-era fighter took off smoothly from the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, but landing it was a different story. The nose landing gear refused to go down. The captain was forced to put his skills to the test, and he met the challenge by landing the fighter jet on a stool. To make matters worse, he couldn't even see the stool in question.

The first thing he did was fly past the ship's control tower, where the officer on duty confirmed the bad news. The landing gear was stuck. The Marine Corps just happened to have a plan in place for such an event, but it's doubtful that Captain Mahoney ever expected that he would have to use it. He was instructed to land the 22,000 pound aircraft vertically onto a specially made stool kept for this exact emergency.

Russia Today explained, "The $30 million AV-8B is capable of taking off and landing vertically, but without a proper landing gear in the front that would be nearly impossible to do without risking damages and potentially igniting the fuel inside."

Guided by air controllers and lights on the deck of the USS Bataan, the captain gently lowered the $30 million aircraft with as much finesse as the equipment's jump jets could muster. The AV-8B Harrier jet bounced on the stool before coming to the perfect landing, leaving the pilot and everyone on the Wasp-class ship uninjured.

The incident took place on June 7, 2014, but the video recorded as the fighter jet lands on stool wasn't released until June 26, 2014.

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