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wysongj

Arkansas ANG four engine rollback.

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C-130E crew loses power over Little Rock

The Associated Press

Posted : Monday Nov 10, 2008 7:26:18 EST

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — On a practice flight, an Arkansas National Guard crew was put to the test when all four engines of its C-130E lost power in the skies over the Little Rock Air Force Base.

They remained calm, however, in the seconds-long emergency Sept. 9 and landed safely.

As it turned out, a one-in-a-million fluke caused the problem and was fixed with a $2,100 purchase of a new part, Air Force officials say. The so-called four-engine rollback is so rare that crews are not even trained for it.

“What makes this exceptional is this is a very (rare) problem we see. There is nothing in the manuals on how to handle it,†said Lt. Col. Dom Sarnataro, safety officer for the guard’s 189th Airlift Wing. “There wasn’t a clear-cut emergency procedure to take care of this. There was no checklist to run through, no manual explaining how to save the day. This is not found in (flight) simulator training.â€

Sarnataro said the crew members’ experience and the relatively light plane were what worked in their favor.

Pilot Maj. Dean Martin, co-pilot Lt. Col. Rich McGough, navigator Lt. Col. Alan King, flight engineer Master Sgt. Doug McGroarty and loadmaster Senior Airman Amber Sowder had started the day preparing for a training mission with a student instructor pilot. But the student pilot did not feel ready to fly so the mission changed to a practice flight.

The original plane on the day’s docket also broke down so maintenance crews prepared Tail No. 1788 for the flight. The plane was built in 1963 and was older than most of the crew.

Moments after takeoff, the plane was about 1,000 feet in the clouds above the western edge of the base, when each of the four engines lost power. The propellers churned barely enough to keep the empty, 50-ton plane aloft.

Even with their experience, the crew members did not know what was causing the problem.

“Something was happening that we’d never seen before,†Martin said.

The main concern was keeping aloft. McGroarty, the systems expert, started analyzing the symptoms, looking for ways to put power back into the engines.

“We had no idea what was going on,†McGroarty said.

He shifted to mechanical governing, manually controlling the electrical power to the engines and propeller speed. He turned off the temperature datum system, which controls the amount of fuel to the engines based on the temperature of the engine turbines, and took manual control of the fuel flow. Three of the planes four engines immediately recovered.

Martin looped the plane around the field and landed minutes later.

Engine experts say McGroarty’s actions bypassing the automated electrical system prevented a full failure of all four engines that was likely seconds away. At 1,000 feet above the ground, the C-130 would have become a glider and the crew would not have time to react.

Two days into their investigation, mechanics discovered the cause of the power failure. An electrical contact relay had partially failed, sending bad data to the system that regulates how much fuel the engines need. If all three phases of the relay had failed, indicator lights would blink and the system would have automatically switched to a backup. One bad contact on an otherwise good relay, however, sparked a silent and rapid progression toward disaster.

The plane’s temperature datum system automatically cut back fuel to the engines because the bad contact told it the engines were overheating. And it did so without the knowledge or direction of the crew. There were no warning lights or sounds, just a blank radar screen and four underpowered engines.

Aircraft electrician Master Sgt. George Durley found the culprit — a three-phase relay that had partially failed. It was built in 2004 so age wasn’t a factor. And for $2,100, the relay was replaced with a new one.

“I’m confident that there’s not a problem, but I’m having everyone continue to look at it,†said Gen. Arthur Lichte, commander of the Air Force Air Mobility Command, which oversees all airlift operations and planes.

On June 27, a C-130 from Pope Air Force Base, N.C., crash-landed in a field north of Baghdad shortly after takeoff. The crew and passengers survived the landing, but the plane was so damaged that it had to be destroyed in place with explosives later. The investigation into what caused the loss of engine power is still ongoing, but the basic cause was classified as a four-engine rollback.

In December 1996, an Air Force Reserve C-130 plunged into the Pacific Ocean, killing all but one crew member. An extensive investigation revealed that a mechanical glitch caused a four-engine rollback. It, too, was believed to be tied to a failure in the electrical system. But that failure caused a total loss of power, while the Arkansas crew only lost partial power.

After studying the Sept. 9 event, it was determined by the Air Force that the situation was a singular — and unusual — event.

“We immediately published some procedures. We keep watching it every day,†Brig. Gen. Wayne Schatz, commander of the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base.

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wysongj wrote:

C-130E crew loses power over Little Rock

The Associated Press

Posted : Monday Nov 10, 2008 7:26:18 EST

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — On a practice flight, an Arkansas National Guard crew was put to the test when all four engines of its C-130E lost power in the skies over the Little Rock Air Force Base.

They remained calm, however, in the seconds-long emergency Sept. 9 and landed safely.

As it turned out, a one-in-a-million fluke caused the problem and was fixed with a $2,100 purchase of a new part, Air Force officials say. The so-called four-engine rollback is so rare that crews are not even trained for it.

“What makes this exceptional is this is a very (rare) problem we see. There is nothing in the manuals on how to handle it,†said Lt. Col. Dom Sarnataro, safety officer for the guard’s 189th Airlift Wing. “There wasn’t a clear-cut emergency procedure to take care of this. There was no checklist to run through, no manual explaining how to save the day. This is not found in (flight) simulator training.â€

Sarnataro said the crew members’ experience and the relatively light plane were what worked in their favor.

Pilot Maj. Dean Martin, co-pilot Lt. Col. Rich McGough, navigator Lt. Col. Alan King, flight engineer Master Sgt. Doug McGroarty and loadmaster Senior Airman Amber Sowder had started the day preparing for a training mission with a student instructor pilot. But the student pilot did not feel ready to fly so the mission changed to a practice flight.

The original plane on the day’s docket also broke down so maintenance crews prepared Tail No. 1788 for the flight. The plane was built in 1963 and was older than most of the crew.

Moments after takeoff, the plane was about 1,000 feet in the clouds above the western edge of the base, when each of the four engines lost power. The propellers churned barely enough to keep the empty, 50-ton plane aloft.

Even with their experience, the crew members did not know what was causing the problem.

“Something was happening that we’d never seen before,†Martin said.

The main concern was keeping aloft. McGroarty, the systems expert, started analyzing the symptoms, looking for ways to put power back into the engines.

“We had no idea what was going on,†McGroarty said.

He shifted to mechanical governing, manually controlling the electrical power to the engines and propeller speed. He turned off the temperature datum system, which controls the amount of fuel to the engines based on the temperature of the engine turbines, and took manual control of the fuel flow. Three of the planes four engines immediately recovered.

Martin looped the plane around the field and landed minutes later.

Engine experts say McGroarty’s actions bypassing the automated electrical system prevented a full failure of all four engines that was likely seconds away. At 1,000 feet above the ground, the C-130 would have become a glider and the crew would not have time to react.

Two days into their investigation, mechanics discovered the cause of the power failure. An electrical contact relay had partially failed, sending bad data to the system that regulates how much fuel the engines need. If all three phases of the relay had failed, indicator lights would blink and the system would have automatically switched to a backup. One bad contact on an otherwise good relay, however, sparked a silent and rapid progression toward disaster.

The plane’s temperature datum system automatically cut back fuel to the engines because the bad contact told it the engines were overheating. And it did so without the knowledge or direction of the crew. There were no warning lights or sounds, just a blank radar screen and four underpowered engines.

Aircraft electrician Master Sgt. George Durley found the culprit — a three-phase relay that had partially failed. It was built in 2004 so age wasn’t a factor. And for $2,100, the relay was replaced with a new one.

“I’m confident that there’s not a problem, but I’m having everyone continue to look at it,†said Gen. Arthur Lichte, commander of the Air Force Air Mobility Command, which oversees all airlift operations and planes.

On June 27, a C-130 from Pope Air Force Base, N.C., crash-landed in a field north of Baghdad shortly after takeoff. The crew and passengers survived the landing, but the plane was so damaged that it had to be destroyed in place with explosives later. The investigation into what caused the loss of engine power is still ongoing, but the basic cause was classified as a four-engine rollback.

In December 1996, an Air Force Reserve C-130 plunged into the Pacific Ocean, killing all but one crew member. An extensive investigation revealed that a mechanical glitch caused a four-engine rollback. It, too, was believed to be tied to a failure in the electrical system. But that failure caused a total loss of power, while the Arkansas crew only lost partial power.

After studying the Sept. 9 event, it was determined by the Air Force that the situation was a singular — and unusual — event.

“We immediately published some procedures. We keep watching it every day,†Brig. Gen. Wayne Schatz, commander of the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Hmmmm...We cover this here in class and in the sim. Had a Talon crew from Duke here last week. Gave them this same malfunction right after take off. They ran the new procedure and climbed out of it.

Anybody from other sim sites want to comment?

Oh yeah, reporters need to let someone(in this case a Herk Pilot/FE)proofread their stuff before printing.

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AG - you\'re right. We practice this in the sim, it IS in the dash-1, and crews DO know about it.

All that said, I will say the knowledge level of pilots and FEs on the slick side of the house seems to be lower than in years past. No longer do FEs have to have 100hrs of instruction after they get to their unit with every flight a ground eval. No longer do pilots do any real training in the airplane. They are taught to fly numbers in the sim and are poor stick-and-rudder guys. Add to this, none of them are flying much low-level and they\'re simply not cutting it. We FEB an FE last year for GK!! Guy was supposedly an \"up and comer\" in slicks - sent him back. Incidentally, he was the FE on the Iraq crash...

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“What makes this exceptional is this is a very (rare) problem we see. There is nothing in the manuals on how to handle it,†said Lt. Col. Dom Sarnataro, safety officer for the guard’s 189th Airlift Wing. “There wasn’t a clear-cut emergency procedure to take care of this. There was no checklist to run through, no manual explaining how to save the day. This is not found in (flight) simulator training.â€

Sarnataro said the crew members’ experience and the relatively light plane were what worked in their favor.

It is in the C/KC-130 F/R/T Navy/Marine Corps NATOPS (-1) manual and praticed in the SIM as well. From what I recall, it was put in there as a result of the King 56 mishap. Just another reminder as to why there is a need to have a systems expert on-board for times like these. Kudos to the MSgt for his quick thinking.

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[i]\"In December 1996, an Air Force Reserve C-130 plunged into the Pacific Ocean, killing all but one crew member. An extensive investigation revealed that a mechanical glitch caused a four-engine rollback. It, too, was believed to be tied to a failure in the electrical system. But that failure caused a total loss of power, while the Arkansas crew only lost partial power.\"

This is also, not true!

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\"In December 1996, an Air Force Reserve C-130 plunged into the Pacific Ocean, killing all but one crew member. An extensive investigation revealed that a mechanical glitch caused a four-engine rollback. It, too, was believed to be tied to a failure in the electrical system. But that failure caused a total loss of power, while the Arkansas crew only lost partial power.\"

Wasn\'t this the King 56 accident? And wasn\'t it determined the in was gas starvation caused by improper fuel management?

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I had two, four engine rollbacks in four years of fly T models...the sad part was it was with the same S/N sync box. We were trained and practiced the malfunction in every sim. On line checks we would have to talk our way thru the procedure and get to the place where we pointed to the sync box and simulated pulling it.

I think the Col was blowing crap out his behind.

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SEFEGeorge wrote:

Wasn\'t this the King 56 accident? And wasn\'t it determined the in was gas starvation caused by improper fuel management?

The official report said fuel starvation, but shortly afterwards bulletins were sent out by the air force about rollback and syncrophasers. Many people accuse the Air Force of not conducting the investigation properly and coming to the quick and easy conclusion instead of admitting that known sycro problems were to blame.

\"HQ AFSOC/DOV APR97 MSG 165

SUBJ: THlS MESSAGE CONTAINS INTERIM SAFETY SUPPLEMENTS FOR THE C-130 AIRCRAFT

ENGINE POWER-LOSS

LOW VOLTAGE ON THE ESSENTIAL AC BUS CAN CAUSE ALL FOUR ENGINES TO LOSE TORQUE. WHEN THE AC VOLTAGE IS BETWEEN 50 AND 70 VOLTS, THE SYNCHROPHASER AND TEMPERATURE DATUM AMPLIFIER CAN MALFUNCTION CAUSING TORQUE TO DROP 2,000 INCH-POUNDS OR MORE. AN ANOMALY INVOLVlNG THE ESSENTIAL AC BUS CAN INDUCE AN EFFECT AMONG MULTlPLE SYSTEMS RESULTING IN A SIMULTANEOUS OR SEQUENTIAL POWER LOSS, NORMALLY AFFECTING ALL ENGINES. INDICATlONS MAY VARY AND INCLUDE ANY COMBINATlON OF ABNORMAL TORQUE, RPM, TIT, AND FUEL FLOW.

WARNlNG

IF CORRECTIVE ACTIONS ARE NOT INITIATED PROMPTLY, FLAME OUT OF ALL ENGINES IS POSSIBLE\"

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Hmmm. I guess the Multiple Engine Power Loss/RPM Rollback procedure doesn\'t count. Does anybody actually fact check this crap before the drama queens are allowed to publish it.

Great job by the crew though to do the right thing and save the day.

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Guest cobra935o

Ya know, I did the FEB on the guy there at Kirtland (which wasnt an FEB, he got waived to go back to Pope, hence the reason he was still flying), I didnt see any names of the crew from the Pope/Iraq thing, but when I heard it, I was wondering in the back of my head if he was on there, now I know.

Nathan

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What a crock of \"public Affairs\" generated BULL CRAP. Don\'t know about otheres but 4 engine rollback was always covered at Simiflite.

Got a couple of thousand hours in 62-1788 , great flying plane.

RZ Hill

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cobra935o wrote:

Ya know, I did the FEB on the guy there at Kirtland (which wasnt an FEB, he got waived to go back to Pope, hence the reason he was still flying), I didnt see any names of the crew from the Pope/Iraq thing, but when I heard it, I was wondering in the back of my head if he was on there, now I know.

Nathan

Yeah, they don\'t even call them FEBs anymore, now they\'re called AEBs and if the guy came from another MDS, one of the options is to send him back. I don\'t have much heartburn with that normally, but there are times (and I\'m not saying this was necessarily one of them) when taking a guy\'s wings is the best thing for everyone (the Tegucigalpa crash and series of failures that led to that dude in a pilot seat come instantly to mind). Tough love is sometimes necessary.

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damnpoor wrote:

SEFEGeorge wrote:

The official report said fuel starvation, but shortly afterwards bulletins were sent out by the air force about rollback and syncrophasers. Many people accuse the Air Force of not conducting the investigation properly and coming to the quick and easy conclusion instead of admitting that known sycro problems were to blame.

\"HQ AFSOC/DOV APR97 MSG 165

SUBJ: THlS MESSAGE CONTAINS INTERIM SAFETY SUPPLEMENTS FOR THE C-130 AIRCRAFT

ENGINE POWER-LOSS

LOW VOLTAGE ON THE ESSENTIAL AC BUS CAN CAUSE ALL FOUR ENGINES TO LOSE TORQUE. WHEN THE AC VOLTAGE IS BETWEEN 50 AND 70 VOLTS, THE SYNCHROPHASER AND TEMPERATURE DATUM AMPLIFIER CAN MALFUNCTION CAUSING TORQUE TO DROP 2,000 INCH-POUNDS OR MORE. AN ANOMALY INVOLVlNG THE ESSENTIAL AC BUS CAN INDUCE AN EFFECT AMONG MULTlPLE SYSTEMS RESULTING IN A SIMULTANEOUS OR SEQUENTIAL POWER LOSS, NORMALLY AFFECTING ALL ENGINES. INDICATlONS MAY VARY AND INCLUDE ANY COMBINATlON OF ABNORMAL TORQUE, RPM, TIT, AND FUEL FLOW.

WARNlNG

IF CORRECTIVE ACTIONS ARE NOT INITIATED PROMPTLY, FLAME OUT OF ALL ENGINES IS POSSIBLE\"

I will have to look it up but I think this statement was in a safety sup along with the earlier version of the rollback procedure.

\"Go Mechanical Now Stupid and dont forget the bleeds\" Which was Generator, MechGov, Null. Sync.

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That airplane (62-1788)has some great history. It is the plane that helped the crew I was on to be awarded the Silver Star. On the last day of the Vietnam war we went to Delat Cam Lai to pick up the VN cadets to take them around country to explain to the locals that the war was over. During engine running loading of the cadets the base came under heavy mortar fire. This plane was hit on the trailing edge of the left flap and shrapnel was sprayed all over the left side and up on the vertical stab. Left rear main tire blown. After a couple hours in the bunker and a call on the emergency radio another C-130 brought us a new tire and a jack. We had to jump start the GTC with a FAC bird dog battery and we took off and just after take off had to shut down #2 for big fuel leak from flap well, lost hyd fluid, cranked gear down and made an emergency landing at NKP.......airplane had over 400 holes from the shrapnel..was a very member able day.....Glad to see that the old girl is still flying. And a big congrats to this crew for recovering from the 4 engine rollback.

Muff Millen

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Seems to me that the procedure for eng rollback, etc., should include an \"eng fuel pumps\" step, just to cover the bases. May not cure all the ills but positive fuel pressure couldn\'t hurt. Need to come up with a good acronym for the procedure, like the AIRBrakes one from when I was still flying.

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Four Engine roll back seemed to become popular in the mid Eighties with the synchrophaser upgrade and the Kodiak incident during Brimfrost 85 when an AF crew lost their nose gear inspection window and the synchrophaser behind it.

Then came the first step to take the generator powering the ESS AC to off. A quick possible fix before all the prop and TD switches. Then came King 56 and fuel became the first step. Some where in there I\'d be putting the APU/GTC Gen on line.

I assume it was a buss contactor that crapped out?

Anyway, this crew did good!

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RZHill wrote:

What a crock of \"public Affairs\" generated BULL CRAP. Don\'t know about otheres but 4 engine rollback was always covered at Simiflite.

Got a couple of thousand hours in 62-1788 , great flying plane.

RZ Hill

Actually, for a while, officer aircrew still went to an FEB, while enlisted aircrew went to an AEB. With the most recent AFI 11-402, those two chapters were combined and the term \"AEB\" was eliminated. Now, rated officers, career enlisted aviators, and non-rated aircrew are all sent to FEB\'s.

Back on topic, I\'ve always had 4-engine rollback EP\'s (in some form) covered every time I\'ve been to a sim since day 1. Way to fact-check your stories AP.

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tahoejace wrote:

Actually, for a while, officer aircrew still went to an FEB, while enlisted aircrew went to an AEB. With the most recent AFI 11-402, those two chapters were combined and the term \"AEB\" was eliminated. Now, rated officers, career enlisted aviators, and non-rated aircrew are all sent to FEB\'s.

Interesting. The last four we\'ve done here were all AEB (officer and enlisted) - at least to my knowledge they were. Perhaps it was folks using improper terminology...have to admit, I\'m not up on 11-402.

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Muff Millen wrote:

I\'m an old fart and am not up to date on new terminology....

What is FEB and AEB and also what does AFI 11-402 cover?

Muff

Link: AFI 11-402, AVIATION AND PARACHUTIST SERVICE, AERONAUTICAL RATINGS AND BADGES. Covers all things aircrew...badges, gate months, aeronautical orders, FEB\'s, etc.

FEB = Flying Evaluation Board

AEB = Aircrew Evaluation Board

It\'s how the Air Force decides whether to let you keep your wings or not. Usually follows removal from a formal training program like the schoolhouse at Little Rock.

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US Herk wrote:

Interesting. The last four we\'ve done here were all AEB (officer and enlisted) - at least to my knowledge they were. Perhaps it was folks using improper terminology...have to admit, I\'m not up on 11-402.

From the summary of changes in 11-402 dated 25 Sep 2007:

Combines Chapter 4, The Flying Evaluation Board, and Chapter 7, Aircrew Evaluation Board, into one chapter titled The Flying Evaluation Board. Removes the term Aircrew Evaluation Board.

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US Herk wrote:

AG - you\'re right. We practice this in the sim, it IS in the dash-1, and crews DO know about it.

All that said, I will say the knowledge level of pilots and FEs on the slick side of the house seems to be lower than in years past. No longer do FEs have to have 100hrs of instruction after they get to their unit with every flight a ground eval. No longer do pilots do any real training in the airplane. They are taught to fly numbers in the sim and are poor stick-and-rudder guys. Add to this, none of them are flying much low-level and they\'re simply not cutting it. We FEB an FE last year for GK!! Guy was supposedly an \"up and comer\" in slicks - sent him back. Incidentally, he was the FE on the Iraq crash...

Don\'t know about your unit, but Charlie West still does the 100 hour thing, with debriefings after each flight.

RZ Hill

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agarrett wrote:

damnpoor wrote:

I will have to look it up but I think this statement was in a safety sup along with the earlier version of the rollback procedure.

\"Go Mechanical Now Stupid and dont forget the bleeds\" Which was Generator, MechGov, Null. Sync.

The paragraph about low voltage was in a safety sup that swowed up in \'88.

Tha warning was added when this message was released.

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Just in case some young crewmember is using this site as a research project, I want to clarify that two seperate problems are being discussed in this post but the same procedure is used to correct either/both of them. That procedure is the \"multiple engine powerloss/RPM rollback\"

The first problem has to do with fuel starvation ala king 56. In this scenario each of your engines will lose power but it will not happen simultaneously. In King 56 the first engine started to go and it took minutes before they lost the final engine. each engine lost power as pressurized air replaced the gravity flow function of the main tanks. (I will not expand on this further) If this happens the first two steps of the procedure should fix the problem - that is Crossfeeds closed, Main tank boost pumps on.

The second problem (it sounds like what the little rock crew had) is when power is dramatically reduced simutaneously on all four engines. Several items have been accused of causing this (Bus, Generator, synchrophaser, TD) the rest of the steps of the procedure are intended to correct it or keep it from happening again (gen supplying ess ac, td switches, synch)

It is amazing to me that a crewdog wouldsay this procedure does not exist - All of the U.S. Air Force versions and the Navy NATOPS (as previously mentioned) carry this procedure, and from the late 90\'s to mid 00\'s it was boldface for the Air Force

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RZHill wrote:

Don\'t know about your unit, but Charlie West still does the 100 hour thing, with debriefings after each flight.

RZ Hill

My unit doesn\'t take brand new FEs. We don\'t have this problem. AD slick units are doing this - LRF\'s product is \"good enough\".

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