“We routinely shut down the No. 1 engine on long range patrols, but once a ship thought we were in distress and alerted the USCG.” P-3 Orion NFO tells an unusual maritime story.

“WE SHUT DOWN OUR #1 ENGINE TO SAVE FUEL. This is standard practice with the P-3. We’ve always stopped #1, because it’s the only engine that doesn’t have an electric generator, ‘Ross Hall P-3 NFO.

The P-3 Orion is a land-based, long-range, four-engine turboprop anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft.

To save fuel on its long-range patrols over land and sea, the P-3 can be operated with one of its four engines shut down. This allows extended missions of more than ten hours. Engine number one, or furthest from the fuselage on the port side, is the engine that is shut down. This action also reduces engine smoke, allowing better viewing of the lookout from the port aft window.

Ross Hallformer Naval Flight Officer (NFO) on P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft, recalls on Quora.

‘Training mission out of Jax [Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida] (someone has to train beginners). Transit to the area of ​​operation; informed ATC (local civil air traffic controller) that we were transitioning to the military operating area (MOA) and assuming responsibility for our own flight safety. Since we intended to operate at low altitude (generally below 1,000 feet), we did not expect to have radio contact with the controllers.

“WE SHUT DOWN OUR #1 ENGINE TO SAVE FUEL. This is standard practice with the P-3. We always shut down #1, because it’s the only engine that doesn’t have an electric generator.

P-3 Orion Engine Shutdown

“Our mission that day was to do low-level training – mostly low-level photographic passes on navigation (we called this ‘rigging’ a ship). The normal procedure is to descend the port side of the vessel to 200 feet; perform a 270 degree turn; fly over the stern of the ship; descend on the starboard side; then climb to 1,000 feet and fly directly over the ship.

“We were a little rusty (the damned beginners) and had to practice this maneuver several times in front of a merchant ship.

“After completing the training portion of our mission, we climbed to re-establish radio communications with ATC and begin our transit to base.

‘“P-3 XXX; do you want to declare an emergency? »

‘WTF!!! ???

“ATC, repeat. »

‘” P-3 XXX. Want to declare an emergency? A merchant vessel contacted the Coast Guard to report a P-3 in distress, with a failed engine, trying to get their attention.

Hall concludes;

“After stifling our laughter, we informed ATC that everything was fine and headed back to base.

‘”Please let the merchant know that we appreciate their concern and that assistance is no longer required.”‘

P-3C printing
This print is available in multiple sizes at AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. P-3C Orion VP-40 Fighting Marlins, QE733 / 161733 / 1991

Photo credit: US Navy

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