Losses and Aviation Safety

The story of the T-2 Buckeye student that stuck his Skipper’s elbows under the canopy

“Hey, T-2 at the end of the runway, your guy in the back has his elbows stuck under the canopy. You might want to raise it,” TA-4J crew member.

‘I was in the ready room after just finishing the debrief for one of my TA-4J training flights when the Squadron Duty Officer started laughing uproariously,’ Tim Hibbetts, former US Navy A-6 Intruder and F/A-18 Hornet pilot, explains on Quora.

‘Another instructor was standing in his gear at the desk, also laughing. Then they shared with the rest of us.

‘A T-2 student from the squadron down the street was having a bad day (other pilots who’ve been in jet training already see where this is going, based on the question). He was on one of his early flights and was flying with his Commanding Officer. He was understandably nervous and as they were getting ready to take off, sitting down at the end of the runway, he lowers the canopy, but is unable to get it to close. He keeps at the switch, wonder what’s going on. He even calls back to the CO, telling him he’s having trouble getting the canopy to close. Strangely, there is no answer. He continues working at the switch.’

Hibbetts continues;

‘After about 30 seconds of this, our jet rolls up and the pilot calls on the radio, “Hey, T-2 at the end of the runway, your guy in the back has his elbows stuck under the canopy. You might want to raise it.”

‘It took a pregnant second, but the canopy lifted and the elbow quickly disappeared inside. The student hadn’t made the critical call on the intercom to clear the canopy and receive the other crew member’s acknowledgement. It was common on warm days (of which Kingsville, TX had its share) to sit with one’s elbows on the canopy rail while taxiing. The CO was looking down and didn’t see the canopy coming down. Once it was too late, he couldn’t reach the intercom switch on the throttles.’

Hibbetts concludes;

‘They taxied back and it was either really quiet in the cockpit, or really loud. I understand the skipper had badly bruised elbows for quite a while.’

Photo credit: John Davies – CYOW Airport Watch via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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