Pilot safety: award of distinction.
After 2 hours of manual flying due to a malfunctioning autopilot
and en route to an exercise reconnaissance orbit area at Flight Level
280, Capt Perrow and his cockpit crew noticed the number 2 engine
"COMP HOT" light illuminate, indicating that one of the fire
detector loops in the engine was being exposed to abnormally hot
temperatures. There were no abnormal engine gage indications, so Capt
Perrow retarded the number 2 throttle to idle in accordance with the
aircraft's Dash 1 procedure and hacked the clock. Ninety seconds
later, the "COMP HOT" light extinguished. Approximately 20
seconds after that, the light re-illuminated. Capt Perrow elected to
immediately shut down the number-2 engine using checklist bold-face
procedures. Since the autopilot had been malfunctioning during the
flight, Capt Perrow assigned flying duties to the copilot while he
completed the "Engine Fire/Failure During Flight" checklist.
The crew declared an in-flight emergency with Air Traffic Control,
coordinated to adjust gross weight by 20,000 pounds of fuel, and entered
holding at Offutt AFB's Initial Approach Fix to discuss landing and
go-around considerations. Weather conditions were marginal--the runway
was wet and there was a 20-knot crosswind. After coordinating with wing
leadership, Capt Perrow took control of the RC-135 aircraft and flew an
instructor-quality ILS approach to a flawless full-stop landing.
Capt Guy Perrow
38th Reconnaissance Squadron
Offutt AFB, Neb.