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Miltary Aircraft Availability


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CH149 Cormorant Helicopter – 42% availability

CH146 Griffon Helicopter – 56% availability

CH113 Labrador Helicopter – 70% availability


It's a shame the paper pushers / bean counters even get involved....because the figures here show that the old CH113 is the most reliable rotorcraft in the Forces.


SO...as a poor unknowing taxpayer, I say BRING BACK THE LABS !!! :up:



Winnie, I tried to get my hands on a CH-146 (412) a couple of years ago, as we based 2 of them here for a week, but No Way! I wanted to see just what the "new" gal could do in a Heli-Ski type climb/descent situation in the Rockpile. Probably all for the best though, as I may have scared the Captain as to just how some Meduims are used in ther industry :shock: ( *** The landing at the top may not have involved 6 "eye level" 40 Kt passes as was taught in Penticton !)

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I said that I would not FLY an aircraft that I do not know what the condition of the fuel is. I have nothing but respect for that yellow and red bird. And remember who is in the bush more often then not and knows the local wx and terrain better than anyone is that guy in a jetbox moving crews, he might just be rescuing you. Can tell you now that the 35 year old jetranger that has been overtorqued a hundred times and done a few hundred full on autos flown by new and old drivers alike will probably keep on going whether it's servicabilily/availability rates vary for another decade at least. Why, because the people who fly it and fix it do so with an open mind and continue to evolve and learn new methods.


Comparing an airliner which flies about 10 times as many hours as a Griffon in a year is not the same. The fuel that goes through these aircraft is staggering and hence the uselessness of draining fuel every day, the contaminants are gone. And have worked out of hangers with corp machines, funny, the corporate plane drivers do not in fact drain their fuel, nor do they even look at the thing more than 3-4 minutes, BUT corporate helicopter pilots do check their fuel and machine. The local private pilots and charter plankers check their fuel religiously. I would guess it is a personal thing or the clothes they wear.


You say you have never have a fuel contamination problem in 23 years, well I have never had an engine failure in 24 years(knocking on large piece of wood and head at same time) does that mean engines don't fail? Your opinion is one of an ostrich, what you do not admit to being there is not there. Drain your fuel daily for a month, look closely, then comment. Otherwise not, totally up to you.


Also, I made these comments without sarcasm, so take care as well.(well maybe a pinch of sarcasm but still not meant to offend).



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There are a number of items that cloud the issue and haven't been mentioned so far. They are:


(1)Drain or not drain as you wish, or as is company rule or an MoT rule, BUT realize one item.........no matter which way you go..........it takes 24hrs for all water to settle out of fuel. That rule applies to 80/87, 100/130 and also does to Jet B/A and JP-8. It's a not a new rule and pre-dates anyone on this board and can be found in your old wrinkled and dog-earred copy of "From the Ground Up" or bulk dealer.


(2) Since #1 is the case, then why even bother draining at all? For starters, it's not an option with most commercial operators, either F/W or R/W.......it's a "do it or walk deal". Most commercial operators should be so lucky that they would always be fuelling up from a major airport. If that was the case, then perhaps I'd give it a second thought. Unfortunately, the vast majority of commerical operations fuel up from sources that are questionable many times to say the best, including their own bases. Therefore, if that's the enviroment that one works in and has been trained in, you do it out of self-preservation, if for no other reason. Having stated that much, in the ideal world, the a/c should be fueled-up the night before and drained the next morning or as close to sitting 24hrs as possible. We in the commercial world know that this is all fine and good, but we can all think of numerous reasons why that doesn't always work, So we wait until the next flight, find out how much fuel we need or can carry and then we fuel up......and somewhere seconds before or after.....we drain. Did we get all the water that may be in the fuel?........of course we didn't.......we got what setlled overnite


(3) What may or may not happen after that drain, that didn't get ALL of the possible water, depends on something called an engine igniter. If I have 13 igniters in my engine and you have only one, then my tolerance for any small amount of water in that fuel is greater than yours. We can argue about how much that tolerance is, but it's there nonetheless. Ergo, to compare the tolerance of water ingestion between an engine on a 747 and my C20 is borderline ridiculous.


Basically, there isn't a position stated so far that is not valid although some are contradictory of others. In otherwards, I agree with Skull Cap and will continue to do as he professes and I will do it whether any company Ops Manual or MoT dictates it or not. While I'm doing it though, I remain cognizant of that fact I ain't getting all the possible suspended particles of water because I haven't given them time to settle. Ahhhhh, but we have other in-line filters to take care of that. Sorry, doesn't wash according to a case that went to the Supreme Court in the early 70's. They proved at that time right in the courtroom, that whether it's one go-no-go or a 8 of them, they will do their job if the PSI pressure remains at or about a certain PSI. If it falls below that or is above that PSI, then water can pass through them. They did exactly that in the courtroom and produced a tablespoon full of water from 45 gals of JP-4. Imperial Oil was also in the habit at that time of rinsing out their returned drums with a miliky colored solution and it was proven also then that that solution would go through any known filter. I believe that they have since stopped using that solution. I have a friend that still rests in his a/c at the bottom of the Straits of Belle Isle in his 206B because of go-no-go, WIX and A/F filiters that all had water pass through them and that prompted that courtcase....and the name was Steve Powers. Since that time, I don't consider ANY filter infalible......but that's just me. They've since lined drums with Teflon and presented another series of possible problems. Final comment is one passed on to me from Bob Cameron at Standard Aero eons ago....."If you guys can ever figure out a way of not fuelling out of drums or "iffy sources", then you'll find out then that you won't have 1/8th the problems with govenors and fuel controls that you do now". Ya.....and if I was Jesus, I could walk on water too. :lol:

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To reply to Hover-pig, thanks for the ethical replies from the other side of the fence. Yes I agree there are questionable civil operators out there (who I chose not to work for) as there are unprofesional military crews. My bias is based on a very poor experience with some of our CAF.


The DI thing, I couldn't believe the Lab crew threw the covers on and headed for the bar after a 5-6 hour day. They' ll look at it in the morning....nope, off go the covers and up,up and away. As you say apples and oranges, but I still wonder if that method leads to problems becoming larger when not caught as small snags?


Since I work by myself, I spend more time than average looking and tinkering on the old girl. I figure if I'm nice to it , it will be nice to me. Plus it's much easier sorting out stuff at the top of a ladder than at the top of a long line.

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does anyone know how much water it would take to flame out an engine? I suspect it would take a pretty large slug of water thru the lines to snuff out the fuel stream long enough to lose the ignition.


I'm new to the industry, and I'm soaking up a lot of good knowledge here, but if I remember my ground school sessions on fuel contamination, yes, engine stoppage is a possibility (or risk) in a piston engine as a direct result of water being carbed or injected, but in turbines, the problems are not with flameout as a direct result of water injestion, but degradation of fuel filters and FCUs. If the FCUs crap out, then problems will run the gamut from flameout to overspeed to overtemp.


Somebody correct me if I'm wrong here.


As for the military flyers vs civvy flyers and their procedures, I think everybody is making a big thing out of it for no reason. I spent six years in the CFs, so I know how things work there. There's no point criticizing the flyers, as they're following their ops manuals and doing as they were trained, just as us civvy flyers follow our ops manuals and doing as we were trained. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't thing. As Cap explained, fuel stays suspended in fuel for up to 24 hours, so you're not going to get it all anyways.


I was taught to top up the tanks at the end of the day if possible. Regardless, in the morning, you drain fuel before doing anything to the aircraft (moving it, fueling it, or otherwise messing with it). That way you at least get whatever crap has settled on the bottom of the tank and in the filters. If there are multiple drainage points, you drain from top to bottom. The reason being if you drain the bottom first, this could disturb what's settled above (I guess even this is hypothetical at best).


I have a million dollar question: What about condensation in the tanks from gaining/losing altitude, temp variations in flight, etc. ? :huh:

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Topping up tanks the night before is not an option, IF you are doing the same job on a routine basis then you can put the same amount of fuel in the night before. You fill up you jetranger the night before and 4 guys show up you look like a goof defueling it, folks all wait till they know the load. Very few vfr jobs go out full tanks every day.


As far as making much about nothing, absolutely further from the truth you cannot get. FUEL is extremely important it amazes me that we are even discussing the possibility of NOT draining the fuel daily. I would hazard a guess the a teaspoon of water could flame out a C20( one injector remember). Unless the igniters are flashing right away the chance of relight is slim. In other words a/c such as astars and mediums would go quiet and stay that way.


Water settling out in 24 hours is true for ALL water but a descent shot of water begins settling out right away. As well as T-rex mentions the anti-icing fluid in jet fuel will go and surround water, and once the anti-icing fluid has surrounded the water molecules it can and will be pushed through any filter known to man. Guess what, anti-icing fluid does NOT burn, ask the 222 pilots who had fuel contamination out of the Edmonton international(a commercial fuel FBO by the way) some years ago who did a wonderfull auto after double engine flame out. We had a astar flame out while hotfuelling 7 years ago due to a slug of anti-icing fluid passed the water filter. Drain fuel daily regardless of what anyone tells you and be done with it.


I am only reiterating this as it is serious and people have to understand the consequences. If the military descides to not drain daily, up to them, but you can avoid huge catastropies by spending less time than to read my thoughts here than to drain fuel daily.


I guess when you have drained a litre of water out of your airframe fuel filter and cannot find the original source as I have you do not get the program.


Plus do you want to be in front of a judge(or your maker) explaining how the military doesn't drain the fuel daily and since it takes 24 hours for the water to settle out who cares, no point, and the fact the the seal failed in the gonogo or whatever filter you use and contaminated my system and had an engine failure?


Check your fuel.....


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SC, I never said I wouldn't drain fuel. It's as natural to me now as it is to fuel the beast or check the engine oil.


All I said is it's pointless to criticize the military pilots for not doing it, as they are following their SOPs. I've seen water in fuel and wouldn't fly an a/c that hasn't been drained first thing at DI.


Fly safe !

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Right on that you drain and check your fuel. :up: :up:


"Pointless to criticize the military as they are only following their SOP's." One can never believe it is pointless to try and show how a procedure is inherently unsafe. I would point out to any company that I noticed that was not aware that a procedure they were complying with had serious safety issues. This medium may not necessarily be the best way to criticize the military, but maybe is efficient. Am sorry but I do believe that there are so many more reasons why safety is enhanced by checking and draining fuel than to sit back and say nothing. Hopefully there have been and will be discussions within the ranks to perhaps think about it and maybe look seriously at the issue. Is not global warming but have seen these guys in remote areas, can't imagine that thier fuel is perfect all the time. I have refuelled many a military machine and used to see a lot of fuel testing prior to getting the go ahead to refuel, now its land and refuel just like us, so not so confident that their fuelling procedures cannot be changed.


Am sort of done now I think.



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Although the thread has been sort of hijacked I'm loving it.


You guys bring forward numerous excellent points. Yes we each have our own SOPs and they make sense for each of us. Filling your 206 up and having four huge lads show up, makes sense you'd look silly and the customer would be ticked off.


Let's make one thing clear though, the ole' Hover-Pig is a team playa'! I do what is expected of me as a driver in this outfit, if I ever come working for yours, you are **** right I'll drain my fuel and whatever else the company teaches me.


To get back to the original chat, serviceability rates and operational effectiveness are often and unfortunately skewed like crazy in the military. I can't readily speak for the trouble with our 412s right now but yes, our availability rate sucks big time. Part of it is that we have problems with the management and training of our techs and our supply system SUCKS. If DND were running logistics for your company you'd either fire them or go broke!


Case and point, I've seen Sea Kings sit for weeks, yes weeks as we wait for a crossfeed connector between two fuel cells when the lads at Halifax airport had several in their spares lock up. Can you spell frustration?!


Finally next time I park near you skullcap I will ensure I make a big show you letting you see me drain the fuel outta my B06 before I leave the next day, but only if we have several pints to swap flying stories the night before! :up:

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