Aircrew safety: award of distinction.
The crew of Sentry 02, E-3 AWACS, began an 8-hour training sortie
with Col Collins, the 552 ACW vice wing commander, flying as the
aircraft commander with 1Lt Daniel as copilot and Capt Hattemer, the IP,
in the observer's seat. Shortly after takeoff, the crew heard a
loud bang from the left side of the aircraft as it passed through 5,000
ft MSL. With engine instruments showing a loss of thrust on the number
two engine, Col Collins quickly applied control inputs to maintain
coordinated flight. He began to level off at 5,500 ft MSL, directed the
copilot to declare an emergency and obtain an altitude block of
airspace. The FE verified the loss of the number two engine on his
instrument panel and in coordination with Col Collins, the "Engine
Failure/Fire Checklist" was run, and the FE shut down the failed
engine. The #2 Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) continued to rise after
moving the throttle to cut-off, and within seconds, the EGT exceeded
maximum indicator gauge limits and the OFF flag appeared, indicating
temperatures greater than 700 degrees C. Simultaneously, the engine fire
warning bell blared with the illumination of the #2 fire warning light.
The FE discharged the fire bottle into the engine and prepared to
discharge the second bottle when the fire light extinguished 20 seconds
later. The copilot requested a turn to a local holding fix, and the crew
began a slow climb to 11,000 ft MSL. While in holding, the crew reviewed
the three-engine landing checklist. Their preparation resulted in a
flawless 3-engine approach to an uneventful landing. The crew maintained
aircraft control, executed checklist procedures, and safely handled a
catastrophic failure during a critical phase of flight to a successful
Col Timothy J. Collins, Capt Walter C. Hattemer, 1Lt Mikel S.
Daniel, 1Lt Maurice A. Scales, TSgt Joseph C. Huffman, 963rd Airborne
Air Control Squadron, 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker AFB, Okla.