Kentucky military pilot draws honors for emergency landing

Lt. Col. John "J.T." Hourigan (right), a pilot for the 123rd Airlift Wing, is pinned with the Distinguished Flying Cross by Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Aug. 10, 2019. Hourigan earned the award for preventing a catastrophic, in-flight mishap that would have resulted in the loss of aircraft and crew if not for his decisive action. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton)
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A Kentucky Air National Guard pilot is being honored for an emergency landing officials say saved lives and a $30 million aircraft.

Lt. Col. John T. Hourigan of the 123rd Airlift Wing was receiving 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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