One Hot Radar (1958) by Charles (Chuck) Pauler
In 1958, I was flying with crew seven on a TAC-hop as a replacement for a sick crewman as the radar operator. The CDR Ward was the PPC. LV Smith AD1 was the plane captain.
I was in the observation bow and we were climbing to altitude after going off station. As I was returning to my station I crawled through the tunnel where I came to the electronics compartment. What I saw was a shock! Smoke was coming out through the cracks in the sliding door. As I slid it open a plume of smoke billowed out. I quickly closed the door and opened the flight deck hatch to report the fire. However, as I did, the smoke began to pour throughout the entire plane. LV Smith rushed into the after station to get a CO2 bottle.
Upon seeing the plane fill with smoke, the crew grew apprehensive, to say the least, and even began putting on parachutes. LV gave me the CO2 and we energized it and locked the handle, opened the sliding door, and pushed in the electronics compartment and closed the door. In the meantime, the PPC, CDR Ward, had secured all power to the electronics compartment.
When the fumes subsided we went in to investigate. A hydraulic line had sprung a leak and spewed hydraulic fluid on the hot radar transmitter. Luckily, a fire never started, just a lot of smoke!
CDR Ward declared an emergency and we were directed to land on a Japanese base at the southern tip of Japan. We lowered the landing gear manually and made a safe landing. The local Japanese people were extremely friendly and put us up in a nice hotel and made us feel quite welcome. The next day a hydraulic line was flown to us by another crew. We replaced the line and flew on to Iwakuni.