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Aviation and Airmanship awards recognize pilots and other aircrew for outstanding performance during combat and peacetime flight operations.
LeMay Flight #16 Exceptional Pilot Award
The LeMay Flight trophy is given to military pilots of heavier than air powered aircraft who have distinguished themselves by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. Selection is based on acts of valor as an aviator, or an extraordinary display of courage or leadership while participating in aerial flight, or extraordinary aerial skill in averting a flight mishap or minimizing damage or loss of life. Recipients must have been assigned to the 55th Wing at the time of the aerial act of achievement.
2014 Award Recipients
Capt Patrick Highland, 45th RS, Pilot
Capt James McLean, 45th RS, Pilot
On 7 August, 2014, these outstanding WC-135 CONSTANT PHOENIX pilots were redeploying from Yokota Air Base, Japan to Eielson Air Force Base Alaska when the aircraft entered a violent left and right yaw, placing the aircraft into an unusual attitude. They immediately executed the emergency BOLDFACE procedure and the uncontrolled yaw ceased. They declared an In-Flight Emergency with Tokyo Air Traffic Control and requested to return to Yokota Air Base, Japan. While en-route back to Yokota, the aerodynamic effect Dutch Roll ensued, becoming a major problem due to the lack of yaw damper with the rudder power off. They descended to a lower altitude to reduce the effects of Dutch Roll when they experienced a compressor stall in one engine, indicating potential impending engine failure. An engine failure with the rudder power being unusable would exacerbate an already challenging flight condition. Fortunately, passing 25,000 feet the indications of the compressor stall ceased. They then flew a flawless approach and landed without incident. These aviators demonstrated un-paralleled professionalism and superior aviation skills. It is a distinct pleasure for The LeMay Flight #16, Order of Daedalian to recognize these pilots for their outstanding pilot skills, expert crew coordination, risk management, and aircraft system knowledge which resulted in the safe recovery of 4 crew, 2 passengers, and a $75 million aircraft. Congratulations to the pilots of COBRA 55 .Captain Patrick Highland, Aircraft Commander and Captain James McLean, Co-Pilot, from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron, 55TH Wing, Offutt AFB, Ne.