Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
MigBuster

I was sitting on top of a flying A-6

Recommended Posts

The story of a lucky Intruder crew member who survived a partial ejection from a KA-6D

 

New Picture.jpg.png

 

From: http://theaviationist.com/2014/08/06/ka-6d-partial-ejection/

 

This things happen once every some million flights.

 

The KA-6D was a tanker version of the A-6 attack aircraft obtained by converting existing Intruder airframes: radar and bombing equipment were removed and replaced with an internal hose-and-reel refueling package, with the drogue fairing protruding from underneath the rear fuselage.

A total of 90 KA-6Ds were produced by Grumman for the U.S. Navy.

One of the most famous events that involved a KA-6D during its operational life spanning from 1963 to 1997, took place on Jul. 9, 1991 to a VA-95 Green Lizard Intruder during an aerial refueling mission overhead its aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).

On that day, Lt. Mark Baden and Lt. Keith Gallagher, who were the pilot and the bombardier and navigator (BN) of the Intruder “Lizard 515”, experienced a very unusual incident: a partial ejection from the aircraft. Both the crew members released their accounts of the mishap to Approach Magazine in November 1991 and the full story is today reported on www.gallagher.com.

 

Gallagher himself explains: “Murphy’s Law says, “Whatever can go wrong, will, and when you least expect it.” (And, of course, we all know that Murphy was an aviator). […]  Fortunately for me, however, he failed to follow through. On my 26th birthday I was blindsided by a piece of bad luck the size of Texas that should have killed me. Luckily, it was followed immediately by a whole slew of miracles that allowed me to be around for my 27th. We were the overhead tanker, one third of the way through cruise, making circles in the sky. Although the tanker pattern can be pretty boring midway through the cycle, we were alert and maintaining a good lookout doctrine because our airwing had a midair less than a week before, and we did not want to repeat.”

 

After the third fuel update call, Lizard 515 aircrew decided that the left outboard drop was going to require a little help and as recommended by NATOPS (which is The Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization program, responsible for rules and regulations governing safe and correct operation of all naval aircraft), they applied positive and negative Gs to force the valve open.

 

As explained by Gallagher, when the pilot moved the stick forward: “ I felt the familiar sensation of negative “G”, and then something strange happened: my head touched the canopy. For a brief moment I thought that I had failed to tighten my lap belts, but I knew that wasn’t true. Before I could complete that thought, there was a loud bang, followed by wind, noise, disorientation and more wind, wind, wind. Confusion reigned in my mind as I was forced back against my seat, head against the headrest, arms out behind me, the wind roaring in my head, pounding against my body. “Did the canopy blow off? Did I eject? Did my windscreen implode?” All of these questions occurred to me amidst the pandemonium in my mind and over my body. These questions were quickly answered, and replaced by a thousand more, as I looked down and saw a sight that I will never forget: the top of the canopy, close enough to touch, and through the canopy I could see the top of my pilot’s helmet. It took a few moments for this image to sink into my suddenly overloaded brain. This was worse than I ever could have imagined – I was sitting on top of a flying A-6!”

 

The sensations experienced by Gallagher during this wild ride were extreme: “I couldn’t breathe. My helmet and mask had ripped off my head, and without them, the full force of the wind was hitting me square in the face. It was like trying to drink through a fire hose. I couldn’t seem to get a breath of air amidst the wind. My arms were dragging along behind me until I managed to pull both of them into my chest and hold them there.”

While he was still trying to breathe, Gallagher thought that Baden would never have tried to land and he decided to start the ejection sequence once again: “I grabbed the lower handle with both hands and pulled-it wouldn’t budge. With a little more panic induced strength I tried again, but to no avail. The handle was not going to move. I attempted to reach the upper handle but the wind prevented me from getting a hand on it. As a matter of fact, all that I could do was hold my arms into my chest. If either of them slid out into the wind stream, they immediately flailed out behind me, and that was definitely not good.”

 

In the meanwhile, Baden contacted the aircraft carrier: “Mayday, Mayday, this is 515. My BN has partially ejected. I need an emergency pull-forward!”

The reply arrived immediately: “Roger, switch button six.”  

 

Baden switched to the UHF frequency preset on Channel 6 and said “Boss (the Air Officer who has to rule the flight deck), this is 515. My BN has partially ejected. I need an emergency pull-forward!” 

 

The Boss replied: “Bring it on in.” At this point Baden looked at his BN’s legs still moving and understood that Gallagher was not dead. So when the Boss came up and asked if the BN was still with the aircraft, Baden replied “Only his legs are still inside the cockpit.” Fortunately, the Boss understood what Baden meant and asked him if he was heading to the aircraft carrier for landing. When Baden confirmed he was returning to “homeplate,” the Boss told him that the aircraft carrier was ready to recover Lizard 515. 

 

But Gallagher’s conditions were really frantic: “The wind had become physically and emotionally overwhelming. It pounded against my face and body like a huge wall of water that wouldn’t stop. The roaring in my ears confused me, the pressure in my mouth prevented me from breathing, and the pounding on my eyes kept me from seeing. Time had lost all meaning. For all I knew, I could have been sitting there for seconds or for hours. I was suffocating, and I couldn’t seem to get a breath. I wish I could say that my last thoughts were of my wife, but as I felt myself blacking out, all I said was, “I don’t want to die.”

While Baden headed to the USS Abraham Lincoln, he thought that he didn’t want to perform a perfect landing (the footage of which can be seen in the video below): “I had no intention of passing up any “perfectly good wires.” I touched down short of the 1-wire (the perfect carrier landing is dubbed OK 3 and it took place when the pilot engages the third of four wires placed on the carrier deck) and sucked the throttles to idle. The canopy shards directly in front of the BN’s chest looked like a butcher’s knife collection. I was very concerned that the deceleration of the trap was going to throw him into the jagged edge of the canopy.” Then after the landing Baden realized that Gallagher was still alive when he said: “Am I on the flight deck?”

 

 

 

When Baden and Gallagher knew what really happened, it became obviously how much the Intruder BN had been lucky.

Gallagher’s parachute had deployed and wrapped itself around the tail section of the plane then the timing release mechanism had fired and released the BN from the seat. The only things holding him attached to the plane were the parachute straps.

 

For this well executed emergency landing Lt. Mark Baden was awarded the Air Medal for his decisive action on that day and the LSO (Landing Signal Officer), LCDR Mike Manazir, received the “Bug Roach Paddles Award” for his part in the recovery.  The crew of the Lincoln was recognized for a well-executed emergency pull-forward – LT Baden had the jet on deck about six minutes after the emergency began.

 

The Captain of the Lincoln would later read over the PA system, a portion of a letter written by Michelle Gallagher (LT Gallagher’s wife) where she thanked the crew of the Lincoln for saving her husband’s life, while the injuries suffered by the BN were later described by Gallagher himself: “My most serious injury was that 1/2 my right arm (the shoulder, bicep, and forearm) was paralyzed due to a stretched nerve in my shoulder. In addition, my left shoulder was damaged as well. I have all of the damage of someone who dislocated his shoulder, but it was not dislocated when I landed. My supposition is that it dislocated, and popped back in upon landing. Other than that, I was just extremely beat up. Via physical therapy, I recovered within 6 months. My right shoulder “came back” in about 1 month, my forearm in about 2-3 months, and my bicep returned in about 4-5 months. I had to re-do all of my physiological qualifications (swimming, etc) to prove that I was OK, but I flew again 6 months to the day after the accident.”

 

 

 

 

 

New Picture (1).jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ejection system didn't fire, or accidently went off. At the top of the seat there is a weighted piece of metal that  failed which breaks the canopy open. the momentum of this weight pulled the seat part way through the canopy.  The weight was jarred loose over several years of positive and especially negative Gs. A very good job getting it back aboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Spinners


      View File [Fictional] Dhimari Grumman A-6A Intruder
      Grumman A-6A Intruder for STRIKE FIGHTERS 2
      This is a simple mod of the stock Third Wire A-6A to create a Dhimari Intruder with markings for;
      No.7 Squadron - 'The Rattlesnakes'
      No.8 Squadron - 'The Scorpions'

      INSTRUCTIONS
      1. From the AIRCRAFT folder drag and drop the A-6A_Dh folder into your Aircraft folder.
      2. From the DECALS folder drag and drop the A-6A_Dh folder into your Decals folder.
      That's it!

      CREDITS
      As always, thanks to Third Wire for a great little game/sim.
      And, finally, thanks to everyone in the wider Third Wire community.
      Regards 
      Spinners
      Version 2 - 13/05/2020
      Version 1 - 14/11/2009
      Submitter Spinners Submitted 11/14/2009 Category What If Hangar  
    • By Spinners
      Grumman A-6A Intruder for STRIKE FIGHTERS 2
      This is a simple mod of the stock Third Wire A-6A to create a Dhimari Intruder with markings for;
      No.7 Squadron - 'The Rattlesnakes'
      No.8 Squadron - 'The Scorpions'

      INSTRUCTIONS
      1. From the AIRCRAFT folder drag and drop the A-6A_Dh folder into your Aircraft folder.
      2. From the DECALS folder drag and drop the A-6A_Dh folder into your Decals folder.
      That's it!

      CREDITS
      As always, thanks to Third Wire for a great little game/sim.
      And, finally, thanks to everyone in the wider Third Wire community.
      Regards 
      Spinners
      Version 2 - 13/05/2020
      Version 1 - 14/11/2009
    • By dannavy85
      This is an excel sheet level bombing calculator for the A-6 Intruder. Just input speed and altitude for the bomb you're dropping. You might have to tweet the final numbers a bit for say a rack of six bombs vice a motherload but it's pretty accurate within the first six bombs in the drop when the drop separation setting is 140ms.
      bombing calc.ods
    • By HomeFries


      View File RAAF A-6 Intruder Pack
      This mod adds the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as a user of the A-6 Intruder. It has been tested with Strike Fighters 2 Full 5+2 merged install with the A-6 Superpack 1.51 installed. It should work with less than a full 5+2, but requires the following SF2 versions to take advantage of the respective components:

      SF2V for the A-6A
      SF2NA for the A-6E and A-6E_79

      The A-6 Superpack 1.51 or later is recommended, but not required in order to use the A-6A, A-6E, and A-6E_79. The A-6 Superpack 1.51 is required in order to use the A-6E_90 Systems and Weapons Improvement Program (SWIP) variant.
       
      The included SQUADRONLIST.INI is a part of the file that will be included in the Combat Ace Realism Pack. As a result, it is compatible with DaddyAirplanes' F-4 Post Vietnam skin pack. At the time of this writing, the Combat Ace Realism Pack has not been released. If you have downloaded this pack after installing the Combat Ace Realism Pack, then be sure not to copy over the included SQUADRONLIST.INI, as a more updated one will be included in the Realism Pack.
       
      In order to take advantage of the full features of the RAAF Intruder Pack, this readme is intended to be used in conjunction with the Readme for the A-6 Superpack 1.51. Thorough reading of this file and strict adherence to the instructions is highly recommended. As always before making any changes to your SF2 install, back up early and back up often!
       
      Introduction
      As early as 1954, the Australian government first publicly discussed the need for replacing the Canberra. The Canberra lacked radar and electronic countermeasures (ECM), and the RAAF believed that it needed a new strategic bomber to fulfill the nation's obligations to the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve in Malaysia, ANZUS, and SEATO. A requirement mandated an all-weather attack aircraft capable of delivering a variety of bombs and missiles.
      Air Marshal Valston Hancock, Chief of the Air Staff, stated in April 1960 that Australia needed a replacement for the Canberra, and in 1962 Indonesia's increasingly aggressive statements regarding Malaysia soon caused Australia to seriously consider Hancock’s statement. The Sydney Morning Herald reported in October 1962 that the Indonesian Air Force's Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 bombers could reach Sydney or any other Australian city with a light bomb load, while the Canberras could not fly in all weather and had insufficient range to reach Djakarta.
      However, available bombers were unsuitable for the RAAF. The American Boeing B-52 Stratofortress and Convair B-58 Hustler, for example, were too large for existing Australian runways. More suitable aircraft such as the British BAC TSR-2 and the American F-111 would soon be available.
      Candidates for replacing the Canberra included the French Dassault Mirage IV, the TSR-2, and the U.S. North American A-5 Vigilante, Grumman A-6 Intruder, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark.
       
      Decision and Alternate History
      When the RAAF was evaluating the replacement aircraft for the Canberra, they eventually settled on the F-111. The F-111 met the RAAF endurance and all weather attack requirements, as well as being supersonic and having a respectable self-defense capability. The government determined that it did not need to go ahead with an immediate replacement for the Canberra and opted for the F-111 as a long-term solution, leading to the October 1963 announcement that it was ordering 24 F-111s.
      The development and production lifecycle for the F-111 was complex, lengthy, and troubled on occasion. Additional requests by the Australian government to modify the existing F-111A airframe to what would become the F-111C only lengthened the acquisition process. While the announcement to purchase the F-111 was made in 1963, the first F-111C was not delivered until 1968 . In the interim, the RAAF was using the F-4 Phantom II as a stopgap measure.
      What if the RAAF decided to forego the troubled (at the time) F-111 and augment its force of F-4 Phantoms with the A-6 Intruder as its all-weather, deep strike platform?
      This pack is strictly a "What If" set of skins and loadouts that explores what might have happened if Australia purchased the A-6 Intruder from the United States. This pack includes skins for the A-6A, A-6E, A-6E_79 (TRAM), and A-6E_90 (SWIP) in the Southeast Asia (SEA) camouflage pattern, as well as other variants based on the RAAF camouflage schemes of the time. Given that the A-6 Intruder is meant to replace the F-111C Aardvark, this pack features the squadrons, skins, and serial numbers of actual F-111 airframes (though serial numbers of aircraft involved in fatal mishaps have been omitted out of respect for the fallen). Second squadron is represented, as it flew the Canberra in the Vietnam War, and First and Sixth squadrons have been added to SQUADRONLIST.INI as the actual squadrons that flew the F-111 (and therefore the A-6). A-6 specific squadron logos have also been added to the RAAF squadrons included in the Mirage IIIO DLC, though this was done for completeness rather than “alternate historical accuracy.”
       
      Limitations
      This mod enhances default aircraft. If you don't have the default A-6 LODs, then this mod is of limited value to you.
      Additionally, this pack is unfortunately not flyable without further modification. You will need to provide your own cockpit in order to enable player use of the A-6. Two notable options are extracting the A-6 cockpit from Wings over Vietnam, or by purchasing RAZBAM's excellent A-6 pack for Strike Fighters (recommended). Likewise, plenty of existing SF1 A-6 mods include cockpits that are compatible with this pack. Regardless of which selection you prefer, any cockpit you use for the A-6 Superpack will be compatible with the RAAF A-6 Intruder Pack as well.
       
      Installation
      The RAAF A-6 Intruder Pack is divided into three components: the Primary Component (RAAF A-6 Intruder Skins), a folder for widescreen users that replaces the existing 1024x768 aircraft screens with 1440x900 images, and Section 2 of the Readme file which provides instructions for optional and recommended adjustments to existing INI files. Please see the readme file for further details.
      Submitter HomeFries Submitted 09/11/2012 Category What If Hangar  
    • By dannavy85
      An A-6F from VA-166 "The Fighting Seeones" with "poppa Wolf" on the tail.
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..