Monday, May 01, 2006

Lt. Keith Gallagher's Story

In 1991 Lt. Keith Gallagher was partially ejected from the KA-6D in which he was the second seater, due to a mechanical failure in his ejection seat.

At the time, Lt. Gallagher, and his pilot, Lieutenant Mark Baden, were members of the Green Lizards squadron, VA-95, based near here on Whidbey Island at NAS Whidbey, but on deployment in the Indian Ocean on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).

Lt. Gallagher's cousin has put together a website with all of the details, pictures, videos, and audio of the incident. It makes for some engrossing reading.

I knew a couple of the pilots in VA-95 back then, and got the chance to "fly" night carrier landing simulator, which is as close as you can get to flying an A-6E without actually strapping one on. The pilots that flew the A-6's referred to it as the "Double Ugly" as it lacked the racy lines of the more exotic fighters. What the A-6's lacked in beauty, however, were more than made up for in function. The A-6's were true "Zero-Zero" capable, and could land and take off from a carrier in total darkness with absolutely no visibility. They could fly their entire mission without ever seeing anything!

As the A-6's gradually became obsolete due to aging technology, Grumman developed and test-flew the A-6F, a much updated version of the A-6E, using modern avionics, lots of carbon fiber structural stuff, and more powerful engines. In my opinion the decision to pass over the A-6F and to attempt to modify the F-18 to do the same job was a major mistake, but I suspect some politics had something to do with the decision.

Sadly VA-95 was "Decommissioned" several years ago and the A-6E Intruders are gone, but the EA-6B Prowlers are still hard at work doing their electronic magic, much to the bewilderment of the enemy.

Hat tip to JimS for the heads-up!


At Monday, May 01, 2006 4:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all about going single platform. They are doing the same thing with the H-60 in rotary wing.

The basic idea is, it is less expensive to have one type airplane that can do everything...even if it isn't "the best" at any one mission. You only have to train techs on one aircraft, you only have to carry spare parts for one aircraft, you only have to train pilots on one aircraft etc. etc.

The F/A-18 and the H-60 are becoming the "jacks of all trades" in Naval aviation.

At Friday, February 26, 2016 5:34:00 PM, Blogger Jeff J said...

Zero Zero refers to Ejection Seats capable at Zero Altitude and Zero Air Speed. Ejecting with the Plane sitting still on the ground or Carrier Deck,


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