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Roughest maintenance conditions


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Well I've had a few adventures in maintenance come to mind...here's a NSTIW tale from back in 1980 when we just did what we had to do...prior to any cell/sat/gps etc.

High Arctic Cat Camp Ice sampling etch out on the ice somewhere west of Axel Heiburg Island with a Bell 206B at -40 most of the time; Flippo Bleed Air Heater and a Janitrol Combustion Heater which for those in the know if both were working you could sort of think you were warm.  I think I had all the switches on the Janitrol bypassed and the combustion blower motor pukes...that one was the spare of course!  Making a long story of several days short, I took out the combustion blower and turned the scoop around on the side panel for some ram air in fwd flight, but still no go.  My creative juices got going one morning looking at the Sun Ripe apple juice can at breakfast.  I cut the top off, cut a hole in the side matching the combustion air inlet and bolted the can to the panel facing forward and a bit upwards.  Once we got forward flight happening (I think around 20 kts--maybe mph but who cares) the Janitrol lit!!  I had one happy Pilot and I became a momentary hero 😁😇.  Never did receive the replacement combustion blower during that job, I think it chased me around the arctic for a couple of months. 

Yaaa, the defect & rectification entries likely got missed and maybe even the 24-0045 modification report didn't quite get filled in and sent to the dark side.

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I thought the industry norm was just to snag everything 10min before getting on the crew change plane.  What's this maintenance you speak of?

Ok, first off, I am a Pilot, so anything I write here is second hand, but if you want nasty engineering stories, after a lot of internal debate, I believe this site can handle this storey.  Way b

I just pulled out my old log books and refreshed my memory...this all happened 30 yrs ago...I had been working in Pickle Lake with Ted Slavin...that is another story for later...I get a call...take TW

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12 minutes ago, wcobra said:

Well I've had a few adventures in maintenance come to mind...here's a NSTIW tale from back in 1980 when we just did what we had to do...prior to any cell/sat/gps etc.

High Arctic Cat Camp Ice sampling etch out on the ice somewhere west of Axel Heiburg Island with a Bell 206B at -40 most of the time; Flippo Bleed Air Heater and a Janitrol Combustion Heater which for those in the know if both were working you could sort of think you were warm.  I think I had all the switches on the Janitrol bypassed and the combustion blower motor pukes...that one was the spare of course!  Making a long story of several days short, I took out the combustion blower and turned the scoop around on the side panel for some ram air in fwd flight, but still no go.  My creative juices got going one morning looking at the Sun Ripe apple juice can at breakfast.  I cut the top off, cut a hole in the side matching the combustion air inlet and bolted the can to the panel facing forward and a bit upwards.  Once we got forward flight happening (I think around 20 kts--maybe mph but who cares) the Janitrol lit!!  I had one happy Pilot and I became a momentary hero 😁😇.  Never did receive the replacement combustion blower during that job, I think it chased me around the arctic for a couple of months. 

Yaaa, the defect & rectification entries likely got missed and maybe even the 24-0045 modification report didn't quite get filled in and sent to the dark side.

That is not rough maintenance conditions, not by Canadian standards anyways

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Ya, I suppose yer correct.  That's just normal operations 🙂 for us true Canadians!  I have a few more that may only be tales of normal operations, but I'll see if there's any of them that may qualify as "rough maintenance conditions". Even if they don't, they still may make for interesting reading??

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Ok...back to Pickle Lake...Ian and I fly over to Ft Hope in the morning in a 206...can't remember the reg...it was close to -40C...get over there and I can't wait to get out of a warm ship to have a look at an oil leak...lift the right side cowl...oil everywhere ...all over the starter...it appears that one of the fittings above the starter is almost blown right out of the gearbox...I pull the starter as I have brought another one...with some luck there might be enough thread left in the gearbox to tighten up the fitting...it turns in a couple of times and I tighten the jam nut...reconnect the oil line...tell Ted to fire it up...after preheating...leak check...tell him to leave it running...I hop in ..he goes over and starts his ship up and I tell him to follow behind me back to Pickle...off we go...

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So...we make it back to Pickle and I call the hangar in wpg...they decide to get me to change out the gearbox...they will have a guy drive one up that day and he will help me with the gearbox swap...so we find a hangar to do the work...not sure where it was...it wasn't out at the airport...pretty rough place...no lights...no heat...but not outside...we get the donkey pulled out and swap out the gearbox...just get it back in the ship...I get a call from the hangar...take the other 206 and go to T-bay now...the guy that helped me will finish the job there...off I go...I will tell you the results of that decision later...

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So...about a month later I am back in Pickle having a brewski with Ray...the base manager...he tells me he really likes the way the starter slams home when he hits the starter...I say...WHAT!!!..I will look at it in the morning. We go out in the morning and I lift up the cowling...you can see the starter is on a downward slope while sitting in the ship...almost falling off... this was the one that just had the gearbox change...I am shaking my head...I reattach the starter and get the clamp on correctly...tork it up...guess what...no slaming against the gearbox ...I call the hangar to have words with the Chief of you know what!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't know if anyone on here was involved in the fires of Manitoba in 1989...I was double crewing a 206 out of the pas with my buddy Bart...we were flying a split day from sun up to sun down...I can remember time X ing and then instead of time off I got to go wrench on a 204,205 and a 206 until my time came down and then back at driving...as they say...no life like it!!!

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  • 4 months later...

Changed a Turbine on one of the fires (Custom Heli) B206 Ceco FCU after fire. Boss tells pilot "you better monitor that TOT when you shut down, you just cost the company $80K". After Turbine change I go up with the pilot to do a power check etc. after landing he cools it down shuts off the fuel and completely ignores the instruments.

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  • 4 months later...

I was just watching a David Susuki show on life in the Arctic...a most inhospitable place in the winter...-40C...well I could tell you one about being out there...well I could tell you more than one about being out in the middle of no where in the winter at -40C flying a chopper!!!

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