A malfunctioning sensor near the tail rotor forced a Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter to make an emergency landing on Okinawa, Japan, Monday.
Marine Viper pilots were forced to make an emergency landing during a regularly scheduled flight after seeing a cockpit indicator warning. The pilots landed the helicopter near a waste disposal site in the town of Yomitan on Okinawa.
“They chose to land the aircraft as far away from buildings and people as possible,” officials with III Marine Expeditionary Force said in a released statement. “There were no injuries to the aircrew or damage to the aircraft, nor were there injuries to people on the ground or damage to the municipal property at the landing site.”
Maintenance Marines conducted on-site repairs, and the AH-1Z returned to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Tuesday.
Marines diagnosed “a minor electrical malfunction” and replaced a sensor near the tail rotor, III MEF officials said.
Further inspections found no other structural or mechanical issues with the helicopter.
“The helicopter was thoroughly inspected and tested prior to the flight back to MCAS Futenma,” III MEF officials said.
The Viper belonged to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The emergency landing on Monday is the latest in a string of incidents involving Marine Corps aircraft on Okinawa. Just a month ago a window fell out of a CH-53 helicopter, and on Saturday a UH-1Y was forced to land because of issues with the main rotor.
It also is not the first time a Marine Viper has been forced to land on Okinawa. In January 2017, an AH-Z1 made an emergency landing on Ikei Island because of a cockpit warning indication, according to a previous Marine Corps Times report.
The AH-1Z Viper is replacement of the aging AH-1W Super Cobra. The Viper is faster and more powerful than its predecessor.
“We remain committed to both the safety of our neighbors in the communities in which we live, and the safety of the Marines who fly in our aircraft.”