5 December 1956 – A Northrop XSM-62 Snark, 53-8172, N-69D test model, fitted with a new 24-hour stellar inertial guidance system, launches from Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, Florida. It wanders off-course, ignores destruct command, disappears over Brazil. It is found by a farmer in January 1983. The Day They Lost the Snark By J.
William John Eibach
Super Sabre Landings with Little to No Power
by: Col (ret) William J. Eibach
During my 3000 plus hours of flying the Super Sabre it never let me down, ie, I never had to eject! However, I did come close a few times which were opportunities for me to test my flying skills, along with some luck.
- While stationed at Torrejon AFB in Spain, during a two-ship night refueling mission, I was on the tanker when I heard the boom operator say that he could see sparks coming out my tailpipe. My engine was failing and I immediately stopped refueling and pulled the throttle to idle to reduce the pressure on the engine. I received vectors from the tanker for Moron AB in Spain. I then started a long slow descent to Moron. I asked GCA to place me at 1000 AGL on final approach. All went well until the engine seized up. It wasn’t my greatest landing but acceptable for my first-night, no-engine landing.
- On a TDY to Incirlik Turkey, I was leading a two-ship going to the Konya Range on a simulated nuclear delivery at 500 knots when the engine oil warning light came on and the oil pressure dropped to zero. I pulled the throttle back to idle and climbed up to base leg to Konya AB which, fortunately, was very close by. I declared an emergency with tower and was cleared to land against the traffic. I shut the engine down as I turned off the runway. I was then towed to a hanger and was met by the base commander and he gave me a ride to his office. He then called Incirlik and requested they truck a new engine with a maintenance crew to Konya. I was told to stay put until the aircraft was repaired.
- I was on a cross-country flight from Torrejon AFB to Wheelus AFB with the new 16th Air Force Vice Commander, Col Ralph Jenkins in the rear cockpit in an F-100F. The flight proceeded normally to a point 130 NM north of Wheelus AFB when the A/C generator went off the line and the cockpit filled with smoke. The A/C generator was reset and stayed on for approximately five minutes, after which it again failed. An air start was accomplished on the emergency fuel system and the power advanced to 90% rpm. Instrument indications remained normal for approximately three minutes and then the second flameout occurred. Three subsequent engine flameouts and restarts were accomplished placing the aircraft over Wheelus at 13,000 feet. Being in an ideal position for a flameout landing I discontinued further air start attempts and put the landing gear down and concentrated on the flameout landing pattern. Col Jenkins was briefed that if the pattern was not perfect at the base leg point we would eject. The base leg position looked perfect and we both elected to land the aircraft. The approach was continued and the flameout landing successfully terminated. The investigation revealed that the CSD had failed and resulted in A/C power loss. The aft and intermediate boost and transfer pumps had failed and the D/C boost pump was also inoperative. By preventing the loss of the aircraft and crew, I was awarded the USAF “WELL DONE’ Award.
- Tuy Hoa, Vietnam 1970: Sitting alert I was leading a flight of two when we were launched with vectors to Southern Vietnam. The target was a Special Forces camp being overrun by the Viet Cong. We were contacted by FAC and advised to drop napalm on the south side of the revetment. As I delivered my napalm on the revetment my left wing was hit by AAA. As I pulled off the target to the left I noted that my delivery had been on target and the revetment south wall was ablaze. I then declared an emergency and headed to Tan Son Nhut for a straight-in with minimum fuel landing. I landed successfully and as I taxied in my engine flamed out. I hitched a ride back to Tuy Hoa on an Army helicopter. I was met by my Squadron Commander, Col Al Baker, who told me I had completed my combat with 250 missions and that my third tour in Vietnam was over. He informed me I was to lead a two-ship back to Clark AB in the Philippines to pick up a tanker for my trip back to the USA.
The base commander loaned me his car and his aide while he went on leave. He asked me to help his aide with his English. I had a great time each evening visiting restaurants and bars while teaching English to his aide. After a couple of days, the engine arrived and was installed. The problem was that a crew chief had dropped the cap off an oil sample bottle into the oil tank and the cap had lodged in the tank exit hose, which in turn shut off the oil supply.
Colonel Eibach has been married to Evelyn D. (Finkle) Eibach for 48 years. Evelyn was a former DOD teacher for many years.