Following a seven-hour P-3 ASW patrol, VP 6's Crew Eight (PPC LT
Koshiol, copilot LT Laufer and flight engineer AMH2 Addoms) initiated
restart of the loitered No. 1 engine, 830 nm from NAS Barbers Point. All
initial restart indications were normal. As the fuel and ignition switch
was placed on, engine rpm climbed rapidly through normal 100 percent
rpm, stabilizing with an audible 105.5 rpm overspeed. The emergency
shutdown handle was pulled in accordance with NATOPS, but the prop
failed to feather. The crew executed emergency procedures in an
attempt to get the prop feathered but with no result. The crew discussed
Moments later rpm surged to gauge limit, 125 percent rpm, actuating
the propeller/engine safety decoupler. With the initial overspeed and
subsequent decouple, the prop was now fixed-pitched and windmilling
with rpm a function of TAS. To maintain prop rpm within design limits,
airspeed was limited to an agonizing 150 KIAS.
Over the next two hours, Crew Eight struggled to keep the rpm within
limits while navigating around imbedded thunderstorms, encountering
icing and moderate turbulence. The flight station coordinated with the
mission commander, CDR James, who initiated emergency clearance to
NAS Barbers Point and coordinated tactical crew efforts in preparation
for a possible ditch or bailout.
Following two hours of laborious transit, No. 1 engine developed oil
quantity problems, which resulted in oil spewing from the engine,
depleting engine oil quantity to zero. ETE to the closest field, NAS
Barbers Point, was two hours. All crew members were removed from
the prop's plane of rotation in anticipation of gearbox failure and prop
separation. Over the next two hours, the airframe was periodically raked
by cyclic vibrations as the gearbox disintegrated internally. One hour
later a chips light illuminated on No. 1 engine followed by a tach genera-
tor failure. The rpm was now solely determined by sound.
At 120 nm from NAS Barbers Point, the crew began a 100 fpm, 150
KIAS descent in order to minimize attitude change on the deteriorating
prop/gearbox. Several minutes later vibrations increased, with white
sparks and traces of smoke coming from the tailpipe. Moments later the
No. 1 fire warning light illuminated, and the No. 1 HRD was discharged.
One minute later the fire warning ceased. Only No. 2 engine's HRD
remained for backup if No. 1 caught fire again.
At 40 nm LT Koshiol observed a 1-inch gap between No. 1 prop and its
afterbody. No. 1 was slowly walking its way off the deteriorating gear-
box. Five minutes later, No. 1 fire warning illuminated again, accompan-
ied by sparks and smoke billowing from the tailpipe and nacelle access
doors. At LT Koshiol's direction, No. 2 HRD was transferred and dis-
charged into No. 1 engine. Fire warnings ceased five seconds later.
At 12 nm approach, flaps were selected, and rate of descent was
slightly increased to establish a steeper than normal glide path.
Moments after the descent was established, the gap on No. 1 prop
increased to 3 inches. The crew reported No. 1 prop was about to depart
the aircraft. At 9 nm the No. 1 prop slowly walked forward, pitched down
and departed the aircraft, striking the No. 2 prop, severing 15 inches off
symmetrical blades and cutting into the No. 2 nacelle before falling
below the aircraft. No. 2 engine rpm decayed to 80 percent with the fire
warning blaring. No 2 E-handle was pulled, but the prop failed to
feather, windmilling at 10 percent rpm.
With no fire extinguishers left, the fire warning horn was cancelled.
The windmilling prop created severe drag as the aircraft rolled violently
to the left. LT Koshiol and LT Laufer wrestled to control the aircraft. The
prop brake finally actuated, stopping No. 2 prop rotation. With the prop
stopped, control improved, and LT Koshiol set up for a straight-in to
runway 4L. As previously briefed, LT Laufer held the gear until 1,000
feet and the landing was assured. At 1,000 feet the gear was extended
with LT Laufer reviewing the landing checklist complete. Moments later
the aircraft touched down on centerline, 2,000 feet down the runway,
completing its landing roll-out with 2,500 feet remaining.