F-15 makes emergency stop
An Oregon Air National Guard fighter jet already diverted because of foul weather made an emergency landing Friday at the Medford airport when one of its engines failed mid-flight.
The F-15 Eagle was one of four to cruise into the airport Friday afternoon. Two of the fighters out of Kingsley Field's Oregon Air National Guard base in Klamath Falls were helmed by student pilots. They were on a training flight when snowy conditions in Klamath Falls forced them to be diverted to Medford, Oregon National Guard spokesman Capt. Mike Braivish said.
Diverting to Medford is not an uncommon experience, he said.
An experienced pilot would have no problem landing in Friday's weather, but newer pilots are given a shorter leash, said Lt. Col. Jim Miller of the 173rd Fighter Wing in Klamath Falls.
However, on the way to Medford, one of the fighters' engines shut down, forcing the student pilot to radio an in-flight emergency landing to airport crews.
— Normally, an in-flight emergency does not indicate an impending disaster within the air frame, Braivish said. It just indicates to ground crews that the plane will need some sort of attention upon landing.
The fighter touched down at about 3:30 p.m. without incident. The two student pilots were escorted by two instructors in separate planes.
Medford airport crews were prepared for the landing.
Everything on our end went well, said Airport Director Bern Case.
Case said military planes often make weather-related stops at the airport, but rarely are they forced to touch down for mechanical problems.
As far as an emergency landing, I can't recall one recently, he added.
The cause of the engine failure is unknown.
We're going to have to wait until the maintenance crews look at it before we learn what happened, Miller said.
According to Miller, an F-15 Eagle can fly forever depending on how much gas it has on just a single engine.
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