We Point With PRIDE

961st AEW&Con Squadron
Otis AFB, Massachusetts

Power, Rudder, and a Prayer

Lieutenant Arthur D. Kerr, an instructor pilot in the 961 AEW&Con Squadron was flying a local VFR transition upgrading flight. His student was in the left seat, and was performing a practice boost-out landing, when a loud snap was heard under the flight deck. Simultaneously the control wheel deflected fully to the right and the aircraft began to rock laterally. At the time the loud snap was heard, the EC-121-H was at less than 100 feet above the ground approaching the runway for a full stop landing. Since the aircraft was not properly aligned with the runway for a landing, Lieutenant Kerr took the controls and throttles and executed a go-around. He was able to maintain lateral control of the aircraft only by using rudder and asymmetrical engine power. He climbed to a safe altitude and trouble-shot the systems. The control column was binding, and aileron control could not be established in either the boost-on or boost-off configuration. The yoke stayed fully displaced to the right. The only aileron control that could be established was to roll the wings to the left. Lieutenant Kerr abandoned the use of aileron control and maintained lateral control by using rudder and asymmetrical power. He then lined up a long final approach, still using rudder and throttles to maintain lateral control, and make a safe landing without further incident. After the flight, inspection revealed that an aileron control cable had worn and snapped in the left wing root, causing the aileron to become inoperative, and the aileron control yoke to bind.

A very rapid decision and accurate analysis of the situation during the most critical phase of the flight averted a probable disaster. Lieutenant Kerr's excellent judgment, and his exceptionally high degree of pilot skill demonstrate the highest order of professionalism and deserve recognition of the "We Point with Pride" award.



Extracted from ADC Interceptor Magazine
By Dean Boys