October 27, 2000 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Lt. Col. Scott Baldwin, 158th FT, Vermont ANG, distinguished himself during a night flight on 23 February 2000.
Baldwin was piloting an F-16C on a night vision goggle upgrade mission in preparation of Operation Southern Watch. After completing training in the 'Falcon Aks', a MOA in NY State, he leveled off at an intermediate descent altitude of 11,000 feet for approach and landing.
About twenty miles from Burlington Airport at 11,000 feet with the engine at military power, he did not feel the resistance he expected when he pulled back on the throttle. He could cycle the throttle forward and aft freely with no change in any engine indications.
While touching base with the Supervisor of Flying he maintained control of his F-16 - with an engine stuck in full military power - by turning with moderate to heavy-g loadings and applying full speedbrakes simultaneously.
An emergency was declared. As an attempt to regain engine control with the Secondary Engine Control (SEC) failed he surveyed his options. He could either prepare to eject over an unpopulated mountainous region or attempt an engine-out landing, at night, and at an airfield with a ceiling at 6,000 feet.
Baldwin had no way of shutting the engine off using the throttle. Also the engine fuel shutoff switch would not shut off the supply of fuel because of a technical order applicable to this model of F-16.
After descending below the ceiling, Baldwin assessed that he could perform a flameout landing. To reduce his landing weight and minimize the runway required, he jettisoned his two empty 370-gallon wing fuel tanks in a nearby lake.
That load gone, Baldwin had approximately twelve minutes of engine operation prior to flameout. Still working to control his F-16 stuck at full MIL , he had to plan his pattern to ensure he would flameout in a position that would allow him to attempt a flameout approach and landing. He would have no second chance. He had to induce extra g force to slow below the required gear lowering speed and manually activate the emergency power unit.
As Baldwin approached the Burlington runway with 400 pounds of fuel remaining, the supervisor of flying confirmed the correct airspeeds for the flameout landing. Baldwin judged the last turn to his desired point on the airfield. The engine, starved for fuel, quit and Baldwin lowered the arresting hook. In a feat of flawless airmanship, he touched down 1,000 feet down the runway. A perfect flameout approach. This landing was so skillfully flown that Baldwin stopped the aircraft well before the departure end cable and the arresting cable was not needed.