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Okinawa-based Marine helicopter makes ‘precautionary landing’ in Nagasaki

A CH-53E Super Stallion assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 hovers above Draughon Range near Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 21, 2017.

ANDY MARTINEZ/U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO

By MATTHEW M. BURKE AND AYA ICHIHASHI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 17, 2018

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — No injuries or damage were reported after an Okinawa-based U.S. military helicopter made a “precautionary landing” Saturday at Nagasaki Airport, a Marine Corps official said.

A CH-53E Super Stallion from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing landed at about 4:40 p.m. after the pilot received a “cockpit warning indication,” 1st Marine Aircraft Wing spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. The incident occurred during routine training on a pre-determined route.

“The aircraft systems performed as designed and notified the pilot of the issue,” Flanagan said. “The aircrew performed as trained and chose the safest option, landing the aircraft in accordance with standard procedures.”

The wing, which is based out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, sent a team to the airport to evaluate the helicopter and perform any needed maintenance, Flanagan said. The aircraft was deemed safe and departed the airport the following afternoon, according to the Okinawa Times newspaper. There were no delays to commercial flights.

Emergency landings of U.S. military aircraft have become commonplace in Japan — something that has alarmed residents in Okinawa. The U.S. military urged locals not to worry.

“Precautionary landings are a result of a commitment to safety, not an indication of a lack of it,” Flanagan said. “Our pilots do the right thing by landing at an airport and ensuring we don’t fly an unsafe aircraft over anyone’s home.”

The Super Stallion is a heavy-lift platform made by Sikorsky, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. Plans call for the CH-53E to be replaced with the CH-53K King Stallion in the coming years.

burke.matt@stripes.com

ichihashi.aya@stripes.com

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