Air Force loses $115 million gunship to a ‘sideslip’

Air Force Loses Gunship

How can you destroy a $115 million airplane without crashing it?

Fly it upside down.

That’s exactly what happened to one of the Air Force’s newest gunships, the AC-130J Ghostrider, this year, according to a report from Air Force Materiel Command released this month. The Air Force Loses Gunship worth $115 Million.

On April 21, the four-engine gunship was on a test flight over the Gulf of Mexico performing a “steady heading sideslip,” according to an Air Force release. A “sideslip” is a maneuver in which the pilot slightly lowers a wing and applies opposite rudder to enable the plane to lose altitude fairly quickly. The maneuver is often used when planes are landing in a crosswind or when there is a need to lose altitude quickly. If you’ve seen those scary jetliner landing videos, the pilots are often executing a sideslip.

“The aircraft exceeded the targeted angle of sideslip until it departed controlled flight and momentarily inverted before being recovered after losing approximately 5,000 feet of altitude,” according to a statement from Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The plane was flying at 15,000 feet when the mishap occurred. Recovery was at 10,000 feet, and it was flown safely back to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. No one was injured.

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