A-10 pilot receives Airmanship Award after cannon malfunction left her without canopy or landing gear

U.S. Air Force Capt. Taylor Bye, 75th Fighter Squadron pilot and chief of standardization and evaluation, poses for a photo after receiving the Air Combat Command Airmanship Award at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, May 5, 2021. The ACC Airmanship Award is presented to Airmen in recognition of outstanding performance and dedication to safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Perkinson)

An A-10 pilot has received a much-deserved award for bringing her stricken “Hog” back to earth after a gun malfunction.

Capt. Taylor Bye was awarded an Airmanship Award earlier this month for her cool-handed actions last year, when her A-10C suffered a malfunction that could have easily put her into an early grave.

Bye was conducting a training strafe run when her A-10’s 30mm GAU-8 Avenger’s malfunction damaged the plane’s landing gear, popped off panels and even jettisoned the canopy.

“My initial reaction was to climb away from the ground and then look at my engines,” Bye recounted. “The amazing thing about the A-10 is, even though all these things happened, I had two perfectly working engines and hydraulic systems.”

Instead of ejecting, Bye maintained composure, fighting wind shear and bringing the stricken A-10 back to her home base of Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, making a belly landing on the runway.

According to Military.com, Bye was the flight leader during the exercise but was shadowed by Major Jack Ingber.

Ingber noted that he played an important role in assessing the damage to Bye’s aircraft, as he had to “think of everything that [Bye] is not because she has a massive handful of an airplane that is falling apart.”

While issues with the A-10 are not terribly common, the fact that the aircraft was successfully brought back to the ground is a testament to its design and pilots.


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