Watch: What it Takes to Become a Certified C2-A Greyhound Pilot

In this Article, you can see What it Takes to Become a Certified C2-A Greyhound Pilot

In the below video An anxious female student pilot Emily is attempting to land a C2-A Greyhound on a U.S. aircraft carrier.

It’s part of a qualifications test she must pass ten times in order to be certified as a C2-A pilot.


Grumman C-2 Greyhound

The Grumman C-2 Greyhound is a twin-engine, high-wing cargo aircraft, designed to carry supplies, mail, and passengers to and from aircraft carriers of the United States Navy. Its primary mission is carrier onboard delivery (COD).

Greyhound needs 2 pilots, 2 aircrews to operate. It can carry up to 26 passengers. The Max. takeoff weight is 24,655 kg. It has two Allison T56-A-425 turboprops engine

Confessions Of A C-2 Greyhound Carrier Onboard Delivery Pilot

James Wallace Started flying C-2 in the early 1980s. Here is James Story

Flying in the Navy is truly a real adventure. Well, it was for those of us that entered the service as refugees from the final days of the “draft lottery.” I ended up in NROTC at UCLA in the early ’70s and it was a joy.

We only had two prop aircraft that routinely landed on the carrier at the time, the C-2 Greyhound and E-2 Hawkeye. Both were absurdly expensive to operate and unsuitable for initial training of “nuggets” in the carrier environment. So they dusted off some T-28C models from the boneyard at Davis Monthan AFB and gave them a fresh coat of paint.

We qualified on the carrier in them and were last people to ever do single engine radials on a U.S. carrier. It was fairly useless training for us, as the radial single engine approach to landing on the carrier is a cut pass versus fly onto the deck pass. And we didn’t do catapult shots, we did deck runs for taking off. However, it did carrier qualify us, but they would “enlighten” us later on at the RAG (replacement air group) on the proper way to do it.

The E-2 is an unusual aircraft to fly, aside from its unusual looks. It was unstable in two axes. The C-2 was unstable in all axes.

C-2 Emergency landing incident at Cyprus

I had a large number of emergencies in the C-2, way more than any other aircraft I ever flew (76 different aircraft and helicopters by now). The aircraft were simply worn out, much like the fleet today.

My most memorable and one I am very thankful to be alive from occurred off Beirut. It was my first flight as a plane commander. At the 90 on final to land on the boat, I got a fire warning light on the left engine. I really didn’t have time to do anything but just land, the boat’s firefighting detail could deal with it. I trapped, made a call “COD’s on fire” and caged everything and we evacuated.

It turned out that a bleed airline had failed and the fire indicator was caused by hot air on the sensor. I was flying serial number 148148, the one unique C-2, it was the prototype and at that point 25 years old with nearly 50,000 hours on it. It was in a category beyond POS and started its life as an E-2. It was hacked and built into a C-2.

I launched off the next morning, deadhead—no pax or cargo—since it was a transfer back to base to complete the rest of the checks after the emergency. The cat shot was the normal thrill ride and we were climbing really fast as we were very light.

At around 15,000 feet I started to get an RPM TIT fluctuation on the left engine. I just happened to have the Allison tech representative on board, since he was going to check out the engines when we got back to shore. I said to myself, “oh fantastic, finally, this engine is going to do it for him! Now perhaps he can finally see it and figure it out, once and for all.”

Related Link: Steps of landing a Fighter jet on an Aircraft carrier 

He comes up forward and studied the engine and we do some tests with the prop control by switching to mechanical and to the fuel control out of electronic trim. Then the rep says “now I know what it is, you better shut it down, it’s only going to get worse.” So we start to go through the precautionary engine shutdown procedure. A long list of switching things deliberately into the proper emergency configuration. Well, we were down to the final item, fuel condition lever to shutdown-feather when the right engine fire warning started up.

There were flashing lights all over the board and the fire bell going off, just not on the left engine! Don’t second guess the system. I pushed the power back up on the left engine and reached over and pulled the right ’T’ handle. As soon as I pulled it the engine exploded and the aircraft rolled 60 degrees to the right—not what I expected. I must have pushed the extinguisher button 20 times but we still had very healthy flames coming out of the panels on the right engine nacelle, showing no indication the extinguisher did anything.

Well, there is only so much you can do in the cockpit when things go to shit. I made my Mayday call on the radio with our position. The E-2 was vectoring folks to our position and kept us insight. I did the last thing I could do when you’re burning, I pushed the nose over and ran it up to redline—350kts—in an attempt to blow the fire out by providing more oxygen than the fire could burn. It doesn’t work by the way.

The air boss on the carrier was telling us to bail out, which if we had parachutes onboard that day we gladly would have. We normally didn’t carry them, passengers get so upset when you jump out and leave them behind. The C-2 had a beautiful bailout system. You pulled a handle and a section of the floor fell away, leaving a large hole to jump through—if you had a chute.

We were all terrified, as any sane person would be. The air boss told us to ditch since we could not land on the boat—the deck was fouled and it would take too long to clear it for our return (we were the only launch of the day). I told the boss “not an option, we all die.” So I told the crew as we were passing 5,000 feet “I can try to make Cyprus, we may not make it, but we aren’t going to make it ditching, you know that.”

We headed to Akrotiri, 126 miles away—the longest 126 miles of my life. We were losing power on the other engine the entire way and descending. We ended up in ground effect on the final approach to the runway. My hat is forever off to the fire crew at RAF Akrotiri, it was their day off and they manned up by the time we got there.

We did a landing—well kind of a landing—as I no longer had steering, just 12 applications of the brakes. We had no flaps and no arresting gear. I had to blow the landing gear down with the emergency air bottle as we were on emergency hydraulics. If I didn’t land there was no going around and I couldn’t get the gear back up anyways.

I was fast and more or less in limited control of the situation. Ultimately, to stay on the runway I blew both main tires braking differentially. By the time we stopped, there was nothing left of the right main and the other main was a burning rim. We all jumped out of the aircraft’s various hatches and ran from the burning hulk with the fire crew spraying us and the aircraft.

I was running one way and one of the fire crew was running to the aircraft in a silver suit. He had a giant asbestos blanket to wrap the burning main wheel and brake. They will blow up and red-hot beryllium shrapnel shards will damage the fuel tank, which would make things so much worse. That firefighter had the biggest balls or the smallest brain of anybody I had seen to date.

After it, all settled down I was really shaking and strangely really, really needed to take a leak. So I told the officer in charge there on the runway that I really needed to pee and I think my crew needs a drink. “No problem lads, we have a bar right here on the flight line, if you don’t mind warm beer!”

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