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Graunch 1, very well put, I couldn't have said it better myself.


There are times when we "get away" like when we deploy on a ship. No Officer comes with our techs and they just do it.


Also I have been on cross countrys with a Fligth Engineer or technicians who uses common dog. Eg: Stuck at some airport in Northern QB or ON, don't remember exactly, but we were broken for a very bad fuel leak. It was a weekend, getting repaired through our normal channels would have meant waiting for a part to fly up from Trenton etc.. probably a day or two to get fixed.


We all looked at each other and concluded that the O ring we needed looked like a pretty standard size, sure enough one of the operators on the airport gladly gave us one, we fixed the beast and off we went. All maintenance was properly noted in the aircraft log but we still got a load of flak because we had no idea if the part was mil spec!! It was a rubber O ring!?


Also remember that commercial ops are driven by the need for the machine to earn a living, it isn't a toy for joy rides.


Ours are not toys either but since we are not being driven by the direct connection of our pay cheque to the machine making money we often cancel flights because a piece of mission equipment is malfunctioning. People see our Sea Kings come back to base and shut down, miss out on a mission and they think the machine is a piece of junk.


The fact is that we might be going out on an anti submarine hunting exercise and our sonar won't work. It has nothing to do with Igor's ride but the systems we have on board. Also the way our orders are written we would also cancel when we are at our home base if one of the attitude indicators didn't work even if we were going out for a straight VFR trip. When we are deployed on a mission such as Op Apollo in the Gulf, we'd still fly the misson but "Ops Restrict" the aircraft.


The comparison is good with the Twin Otters though, very accurate, we are guilty as charged for our 25 guys for 4 machines to the commercial operators' 25 machines with 4 AME, hence my comment earlier that I just don't get it.


Finally CTD, you are right about washing the aircraft when we are at home base, the aircrew pretty much never help wash. That is because we have tons of other duties to take care of when not flying, usually quite a bit more than any base or chief pilot would. It is one of the biggest dissatisfiers in the military. However when we are deployed at sea or in the field the aircrew pitch in with the boys regardless of rank and wash their rides.


This whole twist to the thread reminds me of an idea I had recently. An annual or bi-annual conference for commercial - military helicopter operators to exchange ideas. There are many different things we do and would not share but so many that we should. Like S61, Bell 206 and 412 maintenance, IFR procedures, fuel caches where, when and how to use them, NVG operations (STARS is going this way), airspace coord for SAR etc.....I think there would be lots of merit. For one thing we could discuss the 412's tail rotor inspection/wash cycle :up:


Anyone else think such a conference would be worthwhile. This is not a competition here, a real meaningful exchange of information with guest speakers from within our own elements. I think it could work and I think we would all learn a lot. Plus it never hurts to build friendships and trust to assist one another at times, we sure as **** don't have all the answers in this outfit.

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Vortex, well said. It was about time someone from the Dept of Defence actually said something credible in their own defence.

But it's a pity the 'system' has to be reduced down to something small enough that it will fit on a ship, or someone gets stuck in a small town, before real efficiency is achieved.


As far as the conference.....hopefully the Association being discussed on the other page will be for Professional Canadian pilots. That is, anyone that makes a living from flying helicopters will be welcomed, whether from the commercial, military, corporate, or government sectors.

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What is being described here is normal for a peacetime military. Same thing on the other side of the border and with the Brits also. Always been like that and won't ever change. Soon as combat comes then all that BS goes down the tube. You take parts from a toilet seat if you have to and if it works you get a pat on the back. Some 'real pretty' young Lt. comes along and gives you sh**, you smirk at one another and carry on. He complains about such disrespect and just earns himself combat duty behind a desk. When someone is trying to remove you from this earth violently, there ain't nobody worrying about whether one pant leg is in and the other is out. So don't dump on the military guys too much. Their ROE's(Rules of Engagement) for a trip from Edmonton to Yellowknife are different than their ROE's in the 'real thing'. They're just doing as their told.

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One potential reason for the disparity in manpower between civ & mil is the training mandate of the CF. Civilian techs are trained in all systems on their aircraft, whereas in the military they are separated into (loosely):


1) electrical & avionics

2) airframe (sheetmetal and composites)

3) engine & drivetrain


The people aren't crosstrained to be able to perform or sign out unrelated tasks, so you have to keep enough of each trade around to sign out snags. Whether this is the optimum maintenance system is up for debate, but I'm sure it stems from the complexity of systems aboard the less-civilianized aircraft such as the CF-18 and Aurora.

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Guest graunch1

Probably one of the biggest surprizes I got when I left The Herd way back when was how much you were expected to do in the civvy world vs the military.


Re ROE, I agree that when it hits the fan you do what you gotta do. However, if the maint guys had experience Doin' what yout gotta in normal Ops then they would be more adapted to it when things that hurt are zinging around your head.


I really like the idea of a civvy-mil conference. Probably would work really good if there were no one above the rank of Captain at it :up: But you know all the YOW brass would appear and hte working stiffs would be stuck back on the job :angry:

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Love the responses guys. The explanation I've always been given is that in a wartime operation we need all those techs to turn the aircraft around fast, ergo 5 guys crawling all over each bird each with their own work to do. Obviously one lone tech would not be able to turn things around fast enough including dealing with any battle damage.


Great theory, proven in the most recent major conflicts including the Gulf War and Kosovo most recently. I'll buy it too but the fact remains that in a peacetime and training environment it makes things very slow and cumbersome compared to normal commercial ops.


Now we have obviously digressed, to get back to the Griffy. Someone had mentioned that the non-flying pilot was attempting to lower the hoist and inadvertently lowered the beeps (Nf/Nr). The very preliminary and unofficial answer is that this is true but the "flying" pilot then chopped the throttles and did an auto into the clearing. Apparently the reaction has stemmed from being a bit sensitive to tail rotor failure after the previous crash.


I can certainly buy the idea, the guy is already just hovering at around fifty feet, all of a sudden his aircraft does a pronounced yaw, boom he just reacts.


If it is so, there obviously was a disconnect in communications but things can happen pretty fast and it's easy to misunderstand or misread the situ.


I say again, this is unofficial and far from the final finding and only meant to shed a bit of light on the matter for the sake of our discussion it is definitely, definitely not a comment or criticism of any actions taken by the crew. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

inadvertently lowered the beeps (Nf/Nr).


Confirmed as pilot induced error as my post above states. A little CRM training will no doubt be scheduled but one can understand that unit being a little gun shy with tail rotor related issues.


I wish them well in learning from it all and moving on.

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