Waco Regional Airport in Texas was closed for most of Tuesday after an RAAF C-27J Spartan suffered a reported double tyre blow-out while conducting touch-and-goes during a pilot training flight.
“The Royal Australian Air Force has commenced a safety investigation after a C-27J Spartan aircraft had an incident on landing at the conclusion of a routine training flight at Waco Airport, Texas, USA at approx 12am (local US time),” the Department of Defence confirmed in a media statement on Wednesday morning.
“No one was injured in the incident.”
Military airplane crash on runway at Waco Regional Airport. My flight cancelled. All survived, thankfully. pic.twitter.com/734an5AbHm
— Jason Reynolds (@JasonReynolds) May 17, 2016
“An assistant Waco fire chief said the airplane’s crew had attempted a landing late Monday night, but the plane may have touched down short of the runway and damaged two tyres,” Waco television station KWTX reported.
The incident saw the runway at Waco closed until 7pm Tuesday evening, forcing the cancellation of a number flights into and out of the airport.
“The runway was temporarily closed to other aircraft so that the C-27J Spartan could be moved. Air Force thanks local airport, emergency services and security staff who are assisting with the recovery and apologises for the inconvenience to other airfield users,” Defence stated.
Defence said the aircraft was flying: “a pilot qualification flight for RAAF pilots converting to the new C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter, flown alongside industry instructors”.
Ten C-27Js are on order for the RAAF, of which two have been delivered to Australia so far. The aircraft are built by Alenia (recently renamed Leonardo Aircraft) in Italy but L-3 Communications is the prime contractor for the aircraft under a US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) arrangement, modifying the C-27Js with mission systems and undertaking pilot conversion training at Waco.