Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bird vs. Jet

Recently, a bird brought down an F-16 in Arizona when it was sucked into the engine.  (Both men in it survived.)  I showed the article to a friend of mine who used to be in Navy Air, and who now flies for a civilian airline.  To my surprise, he replied with his own account of a narrow escape. 

I took a bird in the Panamint Valley (near Death Valley), Ca at 550 knots and
200 feet over the desert floor.

The FA-18 has a woman's voice for cautions and warnings.  I remember hearing a loud thump followed by airframe and engine vibrations and also hearing  "Bit__'n Betty" (as we affectionately called her) saying in a sultry voice:  "Engine Left...Engine Left".

I saw lots of red lights, promptly "buried the pole" in my lap (pulled back on the stick) and traded altitude for airspeed while I shut down the left engine.

The left hydraulic system operated the landing gear, so lowered the gear fairly quickly while I still had residual hydraulic pressure and landing safely at NAS China Lake about 10 miles away from my position.

Back in the 80s when the Navy and Air Force were deciding on lightweight fighters, the Navy didn't like the single engine concept of the F-16 and chose the FA-18.

Now you know why...


Lynda R Young said...

Yikes!! So scary! And those pilots were so lucky! (the survival part, not the crashing part)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

It amazes me how much damage a bird can do. Very scary!


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