PATUXENT RIVER, Md.–Lt. Samuel T. Hyder, Safety Officer with Scientific Development Squadron (VXS) 1, was recently presented with the 2021 Grampaw Pettibone Individual Award. Hyder was presented the award Aug. 10 in the hangar at VXS-1 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland.
The Grampaw Pettibone Individual Award is presented by the Naval Safety Center (NAVSAFECEN) and recognizes individuals and organizations that contribute the most toward aviation safety through publications and media resources.
Hyder was nominated for the award for publishing an article, “The Aircraft is Un-Landable,” in Approach Magazine Vol. 63, No. 4. The magazine is published by NAVSAFECEN and highlights aviation safety protocols and mishaps and associated lessons learned.
Hyder’s article detailed an incident where he was the aircraft commander on a routine P-3C Orion training flight out of NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. During the flight, Hyder and his crew felt an abnormal vibration during touch-and-go maneuvers, presenting them with the possibility of unsafe landing gear. Immediately assessing their options, Hyder decided to continue the takeoff and requested a visual check of the landing gear to be performed by the tower and runway duty officer. The tower reported “both nose tires were gone, the nose landing looks bent and the aircraft looks un-landable.”
The flight crew discussed their options, developed a plan and informed the remaining crew of the situation. Using time critical operational risk management, the crew implemented several prudent measures to mitigate the possibility of a nose strut collapse and executed a safe landing on what turned out to be two blown nose-wheel tires.
The nomination letter, submitted by I.J. Lilyquist, then-Commanding Officer of VXS-1, said,” the thought-provoking and well-written article stands out from others I have read in its simply written reflections on the thoughts that go through an aviator’s head when the unexpected happens. Lt. Hyder’s article brilliantly captures the nearly instantaneous decisions that pilots often need to make and sometimes fear … articles like this promote an environment where candid safety discussions are the norm, helping to mitigate the risk we take with us every time we step on the flight line.”
Hyder is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He enrolled in the Navy ROTC program in 2011 at the University of Notre Dame. After receiving a commission in 2015, he then proceeded to NAS Pensacola, Florida, for initial flight training.
Upon completion of indoctrination in Pensacola, Hyder proceeded to Corpus Christi, Texas, to complete primary and advanced multi-engine flight training, earning his Naval Aviator wings of gold in 2017. After
initial P-3 Pilot training in Jacksonville, Florida, he proceeded to his initial operating assignment at Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 1 in Whidbey Island.
During his time at VQ-1, Hyder conducted electronic warfare missions out of Japan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Cuba. He served in various positions such as Assistant Operations Officer, 100 Division Officer, Readiness Officer and Wardroom Treasurer (Bull). He was designated an Instructor Pilot and received the squadron nomination for the 2020 Order of the Daedalians Award.
Hyder has been at VXS-1 since November 2020. Since then, he has been the Safety Officer, Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) Officer, Training Officer and Senior Watch Officer. He has been instrumental in the coordination and execution of multiple projects, including NEXUS and IMPACT II.
Hyder has logged over 1,400 pilot hours in his career. His awards include the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, in addition to various other unit and campaign awards.
Hyder lives with his wife Riley and three sons—David, Calvin and Julius—in Patuxent River, Maryland.