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Author Topic: F-16 engine failure over Iraq, 2/17/91  (Read 29959 times)
Wolfala
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« on: December 28, 2005, 02:52:06 AM »

Audio: Benji Ejects, Iraq

Note that the "clicks" and "bells") are from the F-16's Early Warning Receiver (EWR). Each noise represents a certain aircraft/radar/SAM locking onto the plane.

On February 17th, 1991, Captain Scott "Spike" Thomas, with the 19th FS and 363rd TFW temporarily based at King Khalid Military City, was flying a night interdiction mission in his F-16C with the codename of "Benji 53". As the package was coming off of station (egress), his F-16 experience engine problems. Early reports suggested he had been hit by a Surface to Air Missile (SAM), but that has not been confirmed. Thomas's wingman, 1LT Eric "Neck" Dodson, came to his aid and helped him nurse his plane closer to the Iraq-Saudi Arabia-Kuwait border, nearly 40-60 miles south of their position. Dodson assumed control of most radio communictions bewtween AWACs (Bulldog), leaving Thomas free to fly his injured plane.

With less than 30 miles to go to the border, and his plane leaking what appeared to be fuel, Thomas and his wingman realize his F-16 beginning to develop a catastrophic engine fire. With a valiant effort to get as close as he could, Thomas finally decides to eject over enemy territory. His radio contact is spotty once he is on the ground, but Search and Rescue helicopters (a package of 2 UH-60 Blackhawks and 1 MH-53J Pave Low, along with F-15E's providing Close Air Support), located his position roughly 2 hours later. The F-15E's were called in to engage an approaching Iraqi truck with cluster bombs during the extraction.

During debrief, it was realized that an SA-7 Surface to Air Missile (SAM) had been shot at the rescue helicopter in which Thomas was riding, but the missile was out of range and landed short. It was also learned that Thomas had less than 1 hour of freedom, as there were Iraqi troops within 2 miles of him in 2 different directions.



Crew

Benji 53 (F-16C Block 25C, Serial 84-1218)
- Pilot: Captain Scott "Spike" Thomas (BEN53)

Benji 31 (F-16C, ?)- Wingman
- Pilot: 1LT Eric "Neck" Dodson (BEN31)

Bulldog (XX)?
- AWACs E-3 Sentry (BULL)


Transcript

UKN1- "Benji 31, Victor."
BEN31- "Go ahead."
UKN1- "Roger ah, you headin' for Hafr Albatin?" (Emergency divert airfield, Hafr Albatin (OEPA)
BEN54- "Ah, negative. Right now we are going straight towards the border, the closest route. You've got the--I've got the nearest divert for you, Hafr Albatin for one-thirty-four, is that what you've got?"
BEN53- "Yeah I got it, I'm not gonna make it."
BEN31- "Why not?"
BEN53- "I won't make it there, I'm ah looking to do a crossing and get out."
BEN31- "Is there something wrong still?"
BEN53- "This is all I can get man. Neck, I'm gonna go--I'm going less than max range. I guess I should go max endurance."
BEN31- "What's your FTIT and, ah, RMP rate?"
BEN53- "Okay, my FTIT rate is 870, RMPs 94, its just not givin' me any thrust. Oil pressure's at 40."
BEN31- "Okay, lemme come back and look at you again, okay?"
BEN53- "Cool."
BEN31- "Dude, I'm gonna punch my tanks out (interrupted "No we're good) so I can stay with you, all right?"
BEN53- "Cool."
BEN31- "Ah, what's your gas rate at?"
BEN53- "46."
BULL- "And Five-three, you have some friendlies north four."
{SOUNDS OF EARLY WARNING RECEIVER, FRIENDLY F-16's LOCKING BENJI 53 ON THEIR RADAR}
BEN31- "You are leakin' tons of fluid and it looks like gas, that's why I am wondering what your gas is."
BEN53- "Okay."
BEN31- "It's all comin' out right where the hook meets the engine."
BEN53- "Copy. Okay, how far do I have to go . . . to the border?"
BULL- "Border is 60 miles."
BEN53- "I might make it Neck."
BEN31- "Yeah, you will Homer, man, don't worry."
BULL- "And Benji, ah, your friendlies are tally with you."
BEN53- "Copy."
BEN31- "Is this all the airspeed you can get?"
BEN53- "That's it man. I can dump the nose, but I really don't want to. I wanna keep this wing goin' for me."
BEN31- "Yeah."
BULL- "Five-three, ah, confirm you're a single-ship?"
BEN53- "Negative. I've got a wingman here."
BULL- "Roge."
BEN31- "Ya know Spikey, if you need some more lift, you might want to throw your flaps down."
BULL- "Five-three, border is, ah, 55 miles."
BEN53- "Copy. Think I'll hang out for a little while, Neck."
BEN53- "Okay."
BULL- "Roge."
BEN31- "Say distance to border, Bu-Bulldog."
BULL- "Border 54."
BEN31- "Understand you've got, ah, choppers in the air?"
BULL- "Benji, you want choppers?"
BEN31- "That's affirm (?). You guys better scramble them now!"
BULL- "Roge."
BEN31- "Vector 'em to where we're gonna be."
UKN1- "(?) Five-one, did you copy that?"
BEN31- How you doin' Homer?"
BEN53- "Hangin' in man."
BEN31- "Cool. I'm with you all the way."
UKN- "Roger, did copy."
BEN53- "I'm gonna try the flaps (interrupted)."
BULL- "Benji, border 50."
BEN31- "Copy 50. Bulldog, Benji."
BULL- "Benji, go ahead."
BEN31- "Copy, understand that ah, this border area is pretty clear with threats?"
BULL- "That's affirm, I'll check for ya."
BEN31- "Check please."
BEN53- "Flaps up a little bit Homie."
BEN31- "Cool."
BEN53- "That and my AOA is down a little bit."
BULL- "And Five-three, we're checkin' for ya."
BEN53- "Okay."
UKN1- "Benji 41." Did he mean Benji 31? UKN1 is the same pilot from the beginning of recording.
BEN31- "Go."
UKN1- "Anything we can do to help?"
BEN31- "Say again?"
UKN1- "Anything I can do to help?"
BEN31- "Ah, you might wanna get on a tanker, get some gas and be able to, ah, help with SAR."
UKN1- "Okay."
BULL- "Five-three, border 44."
BEN31- "Eight staff (?), left ten."
- "Benji 1, Benji 2 Victor."
BULL- "Benji Five-three, if you could squawk emergency please."
BEN31- "Do you got that Spike or do you want me to do it?"
BEN53- "Yeah, I got it. I dunno if that's such a good idea, is it?"
BEN31- "I dunno. Bulldog, Benji, is that a good idea right where we're at?"
BULL- "That's what I was instructed, ah, I'd say no, I've got a good contact with you."
BEN31- "Okay, good, keep that contact. Do you got choppers in the air?"
BULL- "Affirm, they are on their way."
BEN31- "Copy that."
BEN53- "Bummer dudes."
BEN31- "Wh-What's goin' on man?"
BEN53- "Just bummer."
BEN31- "Okay, now you've got fire comin' out of your engine. Looks like it's fallin'."
BEN53- "What's fallin'?"
BEN31- "Well, it looks like you've got sparks and shit comin' out of your engine now."
BEN53- "Okay. Bulldog."
BULL- "Go ahead."
BEN53- "Okay, I-I'm havin' a more serious problem now, okay?"
BULL- "Roge."
BEN31- "Understand, choppers are in the air?"
BULL- "That's affirm. Border 40."
BEN31- "Neck, you tell me if you see any fire."
BEN31- "Okay, it's red sparks poppin' out right now."
BEN53- "Okay, just tell me if you see a fire."
BEN31- "Okay. Stay with it dude."
{Fire Begins}
BEN31- Okay, you're-"
BEN53- "I-I'm gettin' out!"
BEN31- "Okay, you're on fire."
{Ejection seat}
BEN31- "Okay, Bulldog, we've got him out, we've got him out! He's out of the --"
{Unknown Horn} Possibly stall horn, or engine-out horn in Benji 53 cockpit (plane is now gliding pilotless, did not explode)
BEN31- "Bulldog, we have a good chute. Bulldog, Benji, do you copy?"
BULL- "I copy, marked."
{Sound of rushing wind, still recording inside Benji 53?}
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Neil
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2005, 01:07:15 AM »

Incredible. Thanks for posting..
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jamall02864
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2005, 08:08:57 PM »

wow dude that sucks
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r0bCDW
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2005, 11:11:33 PM »

Best recording ive heard so far. thumbs up for that post!
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nfredrich
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2005, 02:55:38 AM »

Sweet!
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Nick Fredrich
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2005, 06:22:25 AM »

Wow, that's incredible... it's great to hear that the extraction was successful...?  Smiley

Just curious - how were you able to get that clip, if I may ask?
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Serving you with CYVR... =)
Wolfala
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2005, 09:20:42 PM »

Quote from: Tomato
Wow, that's incredible... it's great to hear that the extraction was successful...?  Smiley

Just curious - how were you able to get that clip, if I may ask?


Stuff just comes my way from time to time.
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Scrapper
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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2005, 12:59:49 AM »

that is the most amazing thing I have ever heard... nothing else to say really.......
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iowapilot
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2005, 02:38:54 AM »

Heard that one before, but not in a while. Good clip. I didn't think of this before, and I suppose it doesn't matter now, but I wonder why they didn't try to extinguish the fire and glide as far as possible to the border? The only reason I could think of that they wouldn't do that is because they were already down on the terrain avoiding SAM radar.
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Scrapper
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2005, 11:51:51 AM »

my guess is the same... usually on the way out, I would assume that they didn't have that much altitude to begin with...
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Wolfala
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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2005, 07:31:09 PM »

Quote from: iowapilot
Heard that one before, but not in a while. Good clip. I didn't think of this before, and I suppose it doesn't matter now, but I wonder why they didn't try to extinguish the fire and glide as far as possible to the border? The only reason I could think of that they wouldn't do that is because they were already down on the terrain avoiding SAM radar.


if leaking fuel into the exhaust stream there is no fire surpression. And the problem wasn't the fire - the problem was getting hit by a MANPAD and the engine developing minimal power. The fact that it caught fire 5 minutes later is incidental.
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Cessna172
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2006, 10:10:42 PM »

Thanks for the clip!! Since you could hear Spike breathing, I'm assuming the recorded audio was from the cockpit voice recorder. Do you know anything about that?

Cessna172
Home Airport: West Houston Airport (KIWS)
www.westhoustonairport.com
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Skeptic_All
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2006, 03:06:21 PM »

Quote from: iowapilot
Heard that one before, but not in a while. Good clip. I didn't think of this before, and I suppose it doesn't matter now, but I wonder why they didn't try to extinguish the fire and glide as far as possible to the border? The only reason I could think of that they wouldn't do that is because they were already down on the terrain avoiding SAM radar.


Extinguish the fire?  Well, I'm not a powerplant expert, but when you have flames coming from your exhaust nozzle or the immediate area around it, it's a pretty good indication that you have a dead engine which wouldn't have gotten him much further anyway.  Not to mention that fact that if the fire was from the area not immediately confined to the engine, there exists no fire fighting equipment to combat the fire.
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scottskywalker
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2006, 05:45:54 PM »

The F-16 doesn't have a great glide distance.....the F-16's weight comparied to wing surface, just can't cut it...

There is no way it could glide 30 miles if it was under...give or take 10,000ft?...anyone please correct me on Alt.

This is where it gets its nick'name....Lawn Dart Smiley
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Wolfala
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2006, 04:57:07 PM »

I think its glide ratio is actually on par with the F-104. Eitherway, lawn dart is correct.
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