The following excerpts are taken from a transcript of the conversation between Capt. Michael Goldfein and the control tower at Hill Air Force Base in the minutes before Goldfein ejected. The conversation is picked up after Goldfein had first reported having engine trouble. Goldfein is identified as "Cold 41." His wingman, Capt. Bjorn Granviken, is part of the conversation and is identified as "Cold 42." SOF refers to the Supervisor of Flying in the Hill tower.
Cold 41: Cold 41 emergency, with an engine problem. I've got stalls, but I'm holding about 87 percent. I can barely maintain 280 knots. I'm heading home over the water. I've just punched off the (external fuel) tanks.
SOF: OK. Is this real or exercise input?
Cold 41: Uh, this is for real. I wouldn't be this excited.
SOF: Copy that.
Several moments later:
Cold 42: I'm up on six. I'm going to tell him (Salt Lake) . . . Are you going to declare an emergency here?
Cold 41: Definitely
Cold 42: Say again?
Cold 41: Yes, emergency.
Cold 42: OK. I'll tell him. OK, your tanks are all ripped off there.
SOF: Hey Cold, when you've got time, how about an ETA?
Cold 41: I don't know if I'm going to make it home.
SOF: What's your altitude?
Cold 41: Going down through 15,000, barely holding 280.
Cold 42: How's your engine?
Cold 41: Oh, the nozzle's closed in SEC (Secondary fuel Engine Control). I'm holding about 87 percent . . . and it's sinking a little bit. You don't see any problems or anything?
Cold 42: The only thing I can see right now is that your tanks are gone. That's all I can see.
Cold 41: Copy
SOF: Cold, can you maintain max range?
Cold 41: I'm just barely holding 280.
SOF: What's your best range?
Cold 41: It showing 310 knots, but I can't get there.
Cold 41: Got any ideas?
Cold 42: OK. Make the calls . . . cleared direct . . . emergency.
Cold 41: I think this engine is just going to eat itself.
Cold 42: What kind of RPM do you have?
Cold 41: Uh, just 84 percent but it's . . .
SOF: Cold 41, you're still having stalls?
Cold 41: Affirm.
SOF: Have you looked at the checklist and considered initiating an air start?
Cold 41: Yeah, I already - Well, believe it or not, I thought I was . . .
SOF: OK, say again?
Cold 41: If I could just get the stalls to quit, I could make it. I'm not sure if it's going to make it. It's slowing down.
SOF: OK. If you go into the checklist. If stall continues, go to SEC.
Cold 41: I'm on SEC. I've been on SEC. Any other ideas?
SOF: Continue with the checklist. It says if the stalls continue after that, consider an air start. Do you want to go single frequency (Eliminating other aircraft from their radio frequency)?
Cold 41: No. This is fine for now.
SOF: OK, going through the checklist. If the stall continues initiate air start. Obviously throttle off and throttle back to midrange.
Cold 41: OK. It's off and back to midrange. Throttling back up through 65 (percent of throttle). I probably should have left it alone. The line won't get above 83 percent.
SOF: Say again? Say again?
Cold 41: I should have left it where it was. Now I can't get it above 83 percent.
SOF: OK. Is Ogden closer or Hill closer?
Cold 41: Now the engine's quitting.
SOF: OK. Try another restart if it quits.
Cold 41: In the zoom. I'm going to have to get out.
SOF: Copy that.
Cold 41: OK. Reaching up. I'm getting out.
Cold 42: OK, SOF. I have a good chute. Good chute. Jet in sight.
Cold 42: I'm tally the aircraft.