Air Guard Pilot Receives Distinguished Flying Cross for Emergency Landing

A Distinguished Flying Cross sits on display at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The DFC is awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ryan Callaghan)
A Distinguished Flying Cross sits on display at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The DFC is awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. (Ryan Callaghan/U.S. Air Force)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky Air National Guard pilot was honored for an emergency landing officials say saved lives and a $30 million aircraft.

Lt. Col. John T. Hourigan of the 123rd Airlift Wing received the Distinguished Flying Cross from U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on Saturday.

The Guard says Hourigan in July 2016 was a major and commander of a C-130 Hercules aircraft that violently vibrated at low altitude around Owensboro, preventing five crew members from communicating or interpreting flight instruments and engine gauges.

With the plane decelerating and losing altitude, Hourigan shut down an engine and landed. That engine suffered a catastrophic propeller failure.

The Guard says changes followed to the aircraft's operating manual and technical orders affecting the global C-130 fleet.

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