On 28 May 1987, P-3C Orion A9-760 was tasked on a fisheries patrol that was planned as Cairns-Edinburgh via tactical off the Queensland coast then transit to Edinburgh, SA. The HF2 antenna broke at its rear mount on the fin somewhere northeast of Brisbane in the Coral Sea. The two HF antennas on the P-3C pre-upgrade were differently configured to the AP-3C with the rear mounts both on top of the vertical stabiliser. HF1 forward mount was forward of the wing on the upper port side and HF2 forward mount was on the starboard side just above and behind the starboard overwing exit. The antenna remained connected at the forward mount and whipped along the side of the fuselage and over the aft starboard window. We diverted to Amberley staying well away from the window (which wasn't damaged) and I think we descended to reduce the cabin pressure. One issue that the pilot (FLGOFF Chris Krawinkel) had to consider was to minimise the use of reverse pitch on landing as there was the risk of the antenna being sucked forward into #3 prop. This didn't occur. As soon as we stopped on the runway, one of the FLTENGs climbed out the starboard overwing exit and carefully reached back and cut/looped the remaining antenna so it wouldn't hit the prop during taxi. We then taxied in and a new antenna was fitted while we had an unscheduled overnight at Amberley.
Picture and text: Leigh Collins