JASDF fighter mishap closes Naha airport for 2 hours

Naha Airport was closed for about two hours Monday afternoon after the front wheel of a Japan Air Self Defense Force F15FJ fighter jet came off just as the aircraft was about to take of with three other JASDF jets on a training mission. The aircraft had to be towed off forcing the airport runways close for one hour and 50 minutes.

According to Naha Airport officials, the mishap forced 60 commercial flights to be canceled or diverted to other destinations, including the U.S. Kadena Air Base. The accident caused about 7,800 passengers to be inconvenienced.

Naha airport is a military-civilian airport with only one runway that is used by both JASDF and commercial airlines. According to JASDF Naha Air Base officials, the cause of the mishap is “currently under investigation.”

JASDF officials say the broken aircraft was one of four fighter jets that were about to take off for training. When the aircraft was moving at a low speed to the take off position, a wheel in its front gear came off near the south end of the runway. They say the joint between the front wheel and the tire broke.

Reportedly, the maintenance crew discovered no problem at the pre-flight inspection. A full inspection of the entire fleet of F15 aircraft at the base will be executed this week. No one was injured in the mishap.

After the incident, a crane truck moved the aircraft and maintenance crew checked the runway before the runway was opened again shortly after 3 p.m. The mishap cause a total of 40 flights canceled, 14 changed the destination, and six returned to airports of their departure.