Just Another Day

The crew of a C-130 transport from Pope AFB, N.C., overcame the failure of two of the aircraft’s four engines during a flight March 19 in Southwest Asia to safely deliver five wounded personnel to their destination. While in flight, the No. 2 engine began leaking oil and had to be shut down. About an hour later, the No. 3 engine began malfunctioning and eventually had to be turned off as well. As if that wasn’t enough, the aircraft’s autopilot, radar, and No. 1 compass system also went dead. But through it all the crew persevered and reached the destination, landing the C-130 without incident. “While I have shutdown engines in flight before and regularly operate aircraft that have certain degraded capabilities, I have never faced such a compounded emergency before,” said Capt. Steve Cheek of the 43rd Operations Support Squadron, who piloted the fateful mission. Amazingly the aircraft was fixed and flying the next day, albeit with a new No. 2 engine. (Pope report by 2nd Lt. Chris Hoyler)