News | Oct. 3, 2022

Breakdown in the Break

By Grampaw Pettibone

A student Naval Aviator launched in a T-45 Goshawk for his initial carrier qualification flight. He was number two in a flight of three. The weather at the carrier required a Case II recovery, so when the flight was cleared into the pattern the leader detached number three and descended with the student in number two on his wing.

The flight approached the break at 300 knots and 800 feet altitude.  The leader detached the wingman and broke to the left for the upwind leg. Following a 17-second interval the student commenced his break and turned sharply to the left, reducing power. Approximately eight seconds later the student noticed a warning/caution tone with an associated master alert light. He checked the warning/caution panel and saw the fuel pressure caution light on. He turned off the master alert light and continued with his turn. He did not yet realize he had inadvertently shut down the T-45’s engine.

A few seconds later there was another warning/caution tone with an associated master alert light. The student rolled wings level, checked the throttle position and engine switch on. He advanced the throttle and retracted the speed brake (which was extended when executing the break turn). Realizing he had flamed out, he tried an immediate air start approximately 45 seconds after the break. This failed.  He tried a second relight but this also failed. At 125 feet, abeam the ship, with engine rpm approaching zero, he successfully ejected from the Goshawk. He was safely recovered but the T-45 was lost.