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Pilot safety. (Monthly Award Winners).

Award of Distinction

1 Lt Mayfield was Mongol 2 as the wingman on an F-16 Mission Qualification Training sortie. It was 1 Lt Mayfield's third sortie at Hill AFB after arriving from the RTU at Luke AFB. Preflight, ground ops, taxi, and takeoff were all normal. While repositioning for a follow-on Basic Flight Maneuver (BFM) engagement, 1 Lt Mayfield smelled a strange odor and noticed some smoke in the cockpit. He immediately selected 100 percent oxygen and called for termination to investigate the problem. After informing his flight lead, 1 Lt Mayfield took the lead and began a turn towards the nearest divert field. During the climb towards Michael AAF, 1 Lt Mayfield got a master caution light and an indication of low engine oil quantity. Realizing the severity of this engine malfunction, 1 Lt Mayfield continued the climb to get to a 1:1 glide ratio at Michael AAF. 1 Lt Mayfield ran all the associated checklists and began an immediate descent for a potential flameout landing. The oil pressure indicated between 5 and 10 pounds per square inch (psi), well below the acceptable limits. During the descent to the runway, 1 Lt Mayfield entered the weather at approximately 17,000' MSL and broke out at 13,000' MSL. Once clear of the weather and with the runway now in sight, 1 Lt Mayfield got a warning light for the extremely low oil pressure. Realizing that the engine might quit at any point now, he displayed outstanding airmanship by bleeding off excess energy and lowering the landing gear on short final. With a safe landing gear indication, 1 Lt Mayfield executed a textbook alternate entry flameout landing, putting the aircraft safely on the deck about 1,500' down the runway. The aircraft was safely stopped on the runway with 4,000' remaining and was then shut down in accordance with the checklist guidance. Maintenance analysis revealed that the engine was on the verge of failing at any moment due to the excessive loss of oil. 1 Lt Mayfield displayed superior situational awareness and phenomenal airmanship in dealing with this extremely seri ous emergency. His quick analysis and actions prevented further damage or loss of a valuable Air Force asset and possibly the loss of life.

1 Lt Ernest G. Mayfield, 42 1st Fighter Sqn., 388th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah
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Title Annotation:military aircraft accident prevention
Publication:Combat Edge
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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