A fact that demonstrated the skill of the pilot and the robustness of this fighter

The difficult landing of a Harrier II of the Spanish Navy due to heavy rain

As we saw recently, the two Harrier IIs sent by the Spanish Navy to The Royal International Air Tattoo had a great performance.

The applauded exhibition of a Harrier II of the Spanish Navy in the United Kingdom
The admired flight of a Spanish Harrier II with an F-35B, its expected replacement

At this airshow, one of the largest in the world, held at the British RAF Fairford airbase, the Spanish Harrier IIs received applause from a British public that feels nostalgic for that aircraft model, and also they did a nice flight with an RAF F-35B. Because of this, the Harrier IIs of the 9th Squadron have starred in many photos and videos of this edition of the RIAT.

One of those videos, published on July 20 by High Flight and which I have located Today, he showed one of the most complicated moments that Spanish naval aviators experienced at RIAT 2023. On the afternoon of Sunday, July 16 (the day the Spanish Navy celebrates its patron saint, the Virgen del Carmen), the Harrier II VA.1B-25 (01-914) had to interrupt the exhibition it was doing due to heavy rain. The plane made a vertical landing in the style of those that it usually carries out on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier "Juan Carlos I" L-61. However, the aircraft bounced on landing and tilted on its starboard landing gear, without major incidents.

In the comments of the video you can read messages of congratulations to the pilot, Corvette Captain Guillermo 'Gonzo' Gonzalez, for the skill he showed in managing to control his plane in such a complicated situation. For the rest, despite how surprising the image that heads these lines may be, we must bear in mind that the Harrier II is a robust aircraft and prepared for the harsh conditions that operating on an aircraft carrier implies. You can see below some screenshots of the moment of landing.

Here we see the vertical descent of the plane, after interrupting its display due to heavy rain.

The Harrier II's first contact with the runway. The plane listed slightly to starboard. The jets from the engines raised a large amount of water that had been deposited on the runway, creating poor visibility conditions.

The moment in which the Harrier II bounces after landing. A bounce that was possibly due to the amount of water accumulated on the runway.

After the ricochet, the aircraft descended again, falling steeper on its starboard wing and generating considerable stress on the starboard, nose and center landing gear.

The plane has now stabilized, after the little scare. It must be taken into account that the Harrier II is a difficult plane to fly, but it is clear that the Spanish Navy has good naval aviators. My congratulations to Gonzo for successfully completing this landing in such difficult conditions. It's these kinds of situations that test a pilot's skill and nerve of steel.

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