Back From a Bellyache

Maintainers at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., returned an A-10C ground-attack jet to flying status after its pilot had to make a belly landing with it several months before, according to a base release. The aircraft, serial number 78-0694, made a wheels-up landing back in September after the main gear failed to extend following a routine sortie, states the Dec. 11 release. “The pilot made a great decision landing it on its belly,” said SSgt. Justin Post, dedicated crew chief and lead mechanic with the 357th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. “There could have been a lot more damage,” he added. The A-10 is a rugged model and designed to land on its belly without significant damage. But due to the impact of the Sept. 30 landing, Davis-Monthan maintainers were forced to partially disassemble and inspect the aircraft for stress damage. “The longest part was when we had to take off all of the bolts from the wings and send them for nondestructive inspections,” said Post. Following an incident investigation and nearly two months of inspections, the A-10 on Dec. 5 completed a functional check flight and was cleared to return to flying status, states the release. The airplane is assigned to Davis-Monthan’s 355th Fighter Wing.