Good - I was on a C-121J back in early 1973 from NAS
Atsugi to NAS
Guam. We took a lightning strike about three hours out and short circuited a panel.
We lost all the limited navigation instrumentation we had on the plane.
It was a clear day, we had good vision of the islands from 20K.
The squadron XO
was on the plane - and he 'managed' the situation as a training exercise. How to use available squadron personnel on the plane to minimize the workload on the cockpit flight crew, to supplement the troubleshooting of the flight engineer and the navigator, as we completed the flight to Guam.
At a safety standown a couple months later, Capt Prosser (the XO
) went over the event as an example of how flight crews are supposed to work together, how they are supposed to make use of all available resources.
Bad - In September we lost an A-3 Skywarrior on a flight from Guam to NAS
Cubi Point. The crew of five was able to bail out over the only destroyer in the JMSDF with an embarked helicopter and recovered safely.
On that flight, which was to transfer a 'good backend (ELINT)' aircraft to Cubi to exchange for a 'bad backend' aircraft - was being used as a navigational training exercise with three navigators aboard - two transitioning from the C-121s.
About 1/2 way to the Philippines, the pilot did a slow circle to see if the 'student' nav would catch the action. The pilot noticed about 1/2 way through the 360 that the electronic compass was not tracking the turn. He stopped the turn when he thought he reached the original course (They left Guam at 10:30 local time and were due in Cubi at 12:30 local time - so the sun was almost directly overhead.)
The pilot refused to trust the wet compass because it did not agree with his perception of the course of the aircraft. The plane captain and one of the navigators were convinced the wet compass was working, demonstrating that a magnetic tool would cause the compass to deviate.
There were a lot of other issues related to navigation, including new HF
-DF software installed that morning when made the USAF
unable to locate the aircraft.
Long story, but they ended up bailing out almost 900 miles off course after flying north northwest for hours while the pilot was convinced they were heading west southwest, and would not listen to his crew.