Flt Lt Elford Awarded Green Endorsement
On 8th September 2011, Flt Lt Elford was the Aircraft Commander of a Chinook HC2 aircraft during tasking operations in central Helmand, Afghanistan.
As the aircraft was manoeuvring over the landing point at a patrol base with a full compliment of troops and freight, a large torque split was observed alongside other indications that the number one engine was failing to ground idle condition. Without sufficient power to maintain level flight the aircraft was gently cushioned onto the landing point and the passengers and freight disembarked safely. Troubleshooting was carried out in accordance with the Flight Reference Cards but did not restore the failed engine. Given the urgency to depart safely from a threatening location and the insufficient power available to lift with a single engine, Elford elected to attempt a forced reversionary mode engine start. Using his considerable knowledge of the aircraft systems this complex procedure was successful and the engine was restored to a usable ‘Flight’ condition. The aircraft was then lifted to the hover to confirm all indications were normal before departing for the relative safety of Camp Bastion. A ‘PAN’ (urgency) radio call was declared with Bastion Air Traffic Control and a precautionary running landing was conducted to the Helicopter Assisted Landing Site without further incident.
Elford’s correct analysis that an automatic switchover had not occurred but that the reversionary system might still be serviceable, allowed him to successfully relight and depart a hazardous patrol base where his aircraft presented a high value target to the enemy.
His exceptional judgement in handling a serious aircraft emergency whilst under extreme pressure led to a successful conclusion, demonstrating superior leadership and captaincy.
For his diligence, quick thinking and application of outstanding technical knowledge he is awarded a Green Endorsement to his Flying Logbook.