If you thought all plane landings were the same in the military, you’d be wrong. Just like civilian flights, it has a lot to do with who is piloting, and the aircraft itself.
A fact that was recently brought to light by the Air Force subreddit users when one posted a video on Monday of a TikTok video showcasing an F-16 fighter jet. The plane was landing at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
The plane that followed it was an E/A-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. While both the planes landed on the same runway, they landed very differently.
The F-16 comes in for a landing slowly taxing down the runway. Ten seconds after the planes wheels hit the ground its still going strong with its nose gear still up.
The Growler on the other hand comes plopping in all wheels down almost immediately like they just want out.
Commenters had a lot of fun with the two different landings.
“Air Force: gotta be careful with the tires … gotta be careful with the tires …. Navy: land the plane, nailed it,” one person wrote in the “Damn that’s interesting” subreddit, where the video was also shared.
“Alternatively: Navy: I walked away, plane is reusable; nailed it,” wrote another.
Task and Pupose talked to Brendon Stickles a former Navy Growler pilot to get some expert insight into why the landings are so different. Navy pilots train for landing on ships at sea with a 300 foot landing strip.
These pilots do not have a lot of room to work with and even less room for error. Airforce runways are about 7,000 feet on land, so just a little bit more room.
The Growler also is a heavy plane. An empty plane still weighs 33,000 pounds. Since they are flying at 150 miles per hour, a tail hook is used to stop them quickly, though grabbing the hook is not a guarantee.
Stickles said, “Navy pilots train to land on a carrier — which requires holding a consistent “VSI” [vertical speed indicator] of 650 feet per minute.”
“That is why the landing gear is so much more substantial on Navy jets. If you landed that hard in an Air Force jet you could do damage to the airframe. So most carrier aviators land like they are at the boat even when they are on a long runway.”Brendon Stickles