By Grampaw Pettibone; Illustration by Ted Wilbur | Dec. 19, 2023
A section of AV-8B Harriers was scheduled to fly a day training sortie and hot pit, and then perform night carrier qualification to regain currency. Shortly after takeoff, the mishap pilot reported to his lead that he had a fuel flow proportioner, or PROP, caution. He secured the PROP system and balanced the fuel manually in accordance with NATOPS procedures.
A Takeoff After Burn
By Grampaw Pettibone; Illustration by Ted Wilbur | Sept. 7, 2023
A low-time Hornet pilot was on a cross-country flight returning to the squadron. When starting the engines, the pilot noted the left engine’s oil pressure was lower than the right’s, but still within limits. After selecting maximum power for takeoff, the pilot again noted the left engine oil pressure was within limits, but 25 psi lower than the pressure on the right. During the takeoff roll, at approximately 80 knots, the pilot heard and felt a loud bang followed almost immediately by an “Engine Right” aural warning and an “R ENG STALL” caution on the digital display indicator. The pilot immediately aborted the takeoff and shut down the left engine. It was not determined if the left engine was shut down by mistake or intentionally based on the previously noted oil pressure differences.
Bad Air Day
By Grampaw Pettibone; Illustration by Ted Wilbur | June 22, 2023
Following a combat mission, a Hornet pilot set up for a night Case III recovery. After commencing the approach, the pilot began to feel as if he were not keeping up with the aircraft and the approach. As he closed on the ship, he began to realize that he was feeling classic symptoms of hypoxia. Flow to his mask was normal and he did not get any cautions associated with his On Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS). The conditions worsened as he commenced his final approach, and eventually became so incapacitating that he initiated an “own waveoff in the groove.”
By Grampaw Pettibone | March 23, 2023
During rollout following an arrested landing, the pilot of an F-14B Tomcat experienced an uncommanded ejection through the canopy. The radar intercept officer’s (RIO) seat did not fire. The pilot was rescued from the water by a search and rescue helo. Both aviators sustained first aid injuries.
Hit by a Hornet
By Grampaw Pettibone | Dec. 21, 2022
During night operations, in an effort to take a break and rest while waiting for the arrival of an F/A- 18C to land and proceed to his “hot brake” check area prior to the refueling pits, a plane captain/hot brake checker laid down on the centerline of the taxiway and fell asleep. As the Hornet taxied to the hot brake check area the pilot’s attention was diverted from the taxiway because he was unable to see the illuminated taxi wands where the hot brake checker usually stands. His attention was on the hangar, the refueling pits and the sides of the taxiway looking for the hot brake checker.
Breakdown in the Break
By Grampaw Pettibone | Oct. 3, 2022
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.