Military jets diverted to Fairbanks airport

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A hydraulic malfunction aboard an F-15 jet from Elmendorf Air Force Base caused 13 aircraft from four nations to be diverted to Fairbanks International Airport Monday evening.

All were participating in a training mission in this year's multinational Cooperative Cope Thunder exercises at Eielson Air Force Base.

''Extra space was needed to land the aircraft,'' said 1st Lt. Esmeralda Silvestre of the Eielson Public Information Office, explaining the diversion of the other planes participating in the exercise. ''It is a routine precaution. In case anything happened, we didn't want to have 13 aircraft in the area.''

The emergency was called at 6:30 p.m. and the F-15 landed safely at Eielson at approximately 7 p.m.

The malfunction occurred when the F-15 was approximately 50 miles east of Eielson. Because of the problem, the pilot had to drop a tail hook and engage a cable barrier to land, Silvestre explained.

Aircraft temporarily parked at Fairbanks International Monday evening included four Mirage 2000s, two Harrier GR7s, two Spanish F-1s and five U.S. A-10s.

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