CSAF honors flight training instructor with Kolligian Trophy

  • Published
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presented Capt. Frank Baumann, an instructor pilot from the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, one of the Air Force's most prestigious flight safety awards during a Pentagon ceremony here June 27.

Baumann was named the 2011 recipient of the Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy for his ingenuity and bravery in recovering a T-6 Texan II after a severe flight-control malfunction in September of 2011.

When his flight controls failed, Baumann--who was in the rear seat of the aircraft--could no longer control the elevator, and his student could no longer control the ailerons. In order to safely land the aircraft, it would take two people operating different flight controls.

Baumann remained calm and was able to direct the student pilot verbally in controlling the elevator, while he manipulated the ailerons and rudders, resulting in a safe recovery and uneventful landing.

Schwartz lauded Baumann as an aviation professional whose cool demeanor and level-headed thinking resolved a potentially fatal situation, saving himself and the student pilot with whom he was flying.

"Flying is fun when it is all going routinely, but there are times in our business when one needs to apply skill and cunning, whether it be in combat or in a safety-related situation like you experienced," Schwartz said to Baumann.

Baumann gave credit to all those who helped him that day, including his student, his wingman, the maintainers and other Airmen on the ground, and his unit's leadership.

"We formed a team, and the communication and ideas that were provided to [the student pilot] and me were outstanding," Baumann said. "We were able to save the airplane as a team, because I was given the gift of great, professional individuals around me."

The trophy is presented each year by the Air Force Chief of Staff in the name of 1st Lt. Koren Kolligian Jr., an Air Force pilot declared missing in the line of duty when his T-33 Shooting Star aircraft disappeared off the coast of California in 1955.

The award was established in 1958 and recognizes outstanding airmanship by an aircrew member. The crew member must show extraordinary skill, alertness, ingenuity, or proficiency in averting or minimizing the seriousness of a flight mishap.

Baumann, the 54th recipient of the trophy, said he is extremely humbled to receive such an honor and was blown away when he found out Schwartz and the Kolligian family would be at the ceremony. As a result, he invited his whole family, many of them flying in from across the country for the award presentation.

"One of the reasons we are as effective an Air Force as we are is simply that our aviators are able to recognize a condition, use their training and skill to deal with it and, most importantly, bring the aircrew home," Schwartz said. "That is certainly what occurred in this case."

For more information and details about Baumann's story in his T-6 that September day, read the story at http://www.sheppard.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123278009.

(Courtesy Air Force Public Affairs)