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An Engine Change


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OK we began chatting in the other post about the Griffon accident and the subject turned to maintenance differences between the military and commercial operators, then today I noticed one of our aircraft sitting there for an engine change.


The boys began yesterday (Monday), today the new engine was installed around 10:30. So we are talking about 24 hours to get one engine out and the other engine in. Now the new engine does have to be rigged with the intake fairing and starter which come off the old one before it can go up there. The aircraft won't actually be ready for test flight for this engine change until late tomorrow (Wednesday). So we are talking about changing at T58 on an S61 in around two and half days with three to four guys working together, two shifts per day!? :wacko:


How would that compare? Any of you wrenches out there work on S61s and can comment??? What would be an expected kind of norm for commercial operations? :unsure:


By comparrison when we were deployed at sea, our techs (three guys) changed one of our engines twice in the same day (long story and yes we had two spares) and both were test flown, so it can be done. :up:

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I think two and a half days for four guys is reasonable in the civilian world.


Imagine a logging 61 blows an engine in the very remote wilderness of the North Coast of B.C.

One guy drives through the night with the new engine from Vancouver to the nearest town.

One guy lifts off at dawn with the engine in a special mount in the back seat of his 206.

The other two (that's all there is on a logging 61) remove the old engine, and get some sleep (in the service truck, if necessary) before the new engine arrives.

The same two engineers install the new engine, have the pilots test it, and sign it off.

The remaining day or so that's left is spent listening to the 61 go up and down the hill, pulling wood and making cash for all concerned.



These are different worlds and cannot be reasonably compared. Combat operations would be a different world again.

It is hard, if not unrealistic, to compare military apples to civilian oranges.


I heard there were some Griffons at the Kelowna Fire recently.

They didn't try to join the bucket circuit with the commercial guys.

But they did fly several operations at night (with NVG I believe), after the commercial machines had to shut down.

That's what they do, and that's why they were there.

Thanks for being there guys.

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Guest Bullet Remington



I've worked the Sea Pigs on both sides of the fence. 2.5 days is stretching it! Especially if it was don't at home base. The engine shop ain't that freakin far from D, E or F hangars!


In the civie world, I've had one off, with just me and my driver in roughly 3.5 hours, without taking a break. Took me about 4 hours to get it back in, rigged, run, leak checked, and ready for T/F.


Then again, I was makin flight pay. I wasn't stuck in Bu** F*** Shearwater nor on the back of HMCS Fraser (God rest her soul).


I know its a different world, but that is a long time to do an engine swap. Then again, I don't know the condition of the install engine. Was it "ready to go" from engine bay, or did they have to do a build up?( Bell mouth not with standing.)


Then again, I've been there. When I was posted there, there was three Avt's that were living off the foodbank. Kinda hard to maintain high production levels when there is no morale left.


Frankly, I'm happy that some people are still in. Having said that, I do appreciate everybody that still wears a uniform. It ain't an easy life to live!


And judging by the conversations I had with a bunch of people in NS, in August, things haven't gotten any better for y'all in the last few years.


Wait, I take that back, I appreciate everybody except Navigators! :D

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Man that seems really long. It should take a couple of hours with an engineer and helper to pull the engine and a couple to put it back in. Last one I saw was in AK, flew eng till 0 time, around lunch parked and head for cook house, and we cranked again at 8pm for test flight, sarted hauling logs again at o dark thirty.


heard was storys of blowing one in the morning and and back to flying in the late afternoon.



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For the never-been-military guys/girls, the CF has "maintenance squadrons" (AMS)whose sole tasking is to keep the flying squadrons in the air. I've noticed that the AMS guys seem to have a lower morale and a lower level of productivity, than the techs who are attached directly to a flying squadron. I suppose it could be because they don't get the "mission accomplished" satisfaction. The east coast Auroras were having lots of unserviceability problems in late 2001. When OP APOLLO came around they deployed the A/C with a significantly smaller maintenance crew who produced an almost perfect serviceability record. Perhaps the reason the civ guys are so productive is the team effort and most definitely the flight pay...

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Guest graunch1

Engine change on S61 in hangar with spare engine available.Two AMEs experienced on the a/c takes 4 hour hours. Then 3 hours to find and wake up the flight crew for a runup and TF :P


It helps when the AMEs are motivated by their paycheque and the attitude to get it done.

Re poor morale in CF - nothing has changed sincve I was in many moons ago for maint staff that are not attached to a squadron. Just jo-boys to the sqns with no recognition

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Thanks again guys for all the feedback.


Please remember that I am not whining about our guys but just trying to understand the differences. I also had my days a bit off. The aircraft became unserviceable on Monday pm, it ran today, Thursday. It took two full days to change it all. Yes it is at home base with a fully rigged engine (except bellmouth fairing).


Points well said about us when we deploy, the serviceability is always better as we do go to a "war footing" so to speak.


The Griffys on the fires did indeed do lots of night work, using NVG to fly but working with their FLIR to map hot spots. The reason you won't see DND working fires with buckets is two-fold. One reason is that in the late eighties, early nineties when industry was really struggling, DND showed up and worked on some fires only to have an uproar in the civilian community because we were taking away revenue hours of some operators who had not been used or called since DND was willing to pretty much "work for free". The other reason is that the Griffon does not have an approved bucket system and is not likely to ever get one because of money. When we have to prioritize smaller and smaller budgets, given the choice between a bamby bucket system or an improved targeting system for operational reasons, well the military toys win out. Hence as Cyclic Monkey points out, there are things we are really good at and we should stick to those and assist with our specialties while you guys do what you are good at.


Finally I just can't agree enough with Bullet, much better to have an extra 200 pounds of gas than a Navigator :up: but alas we are stuck with them in the Maritime Helicopter community. :wacko:

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Someone said.....Perhaps the reason the civ guys are so productive is.............


Maybe it's because their bosses don't have the payroll budget that the military has, and will sack any engineers that take too long to change an engine. But I think it goes deeper than that......

I don't know if the chicken came before the egg, but I do know the civvy guys were productive before they started work in the commercial industry, not the other way around. That's why they chose that route, and didn't sign up for the military.


Again it's a matter of apples and oranges.

I don't know too many civilian apples that could stand the pace of the military without wanting to choke someone by lunchtime on the first day !!!!!!!


And from the sound of it I don't think there are too many of the oranges mentioned above that could handle changing a 61 engine in a logging clearing, in the rain, with no overhead cranes etc., and with a stopwatch running !!


There are plenty of military pilots and engineers that have transitioned to the civilian world, many of whom say they couldn't have taken another minute.

Meanwhile some fine professionals stay in the Forces for their whole career.

Some people are "productive" (your word, not mine) by nature, some prefer a different pace.


We are all different. Let's stop trying to pin the inefficiencies on the working people involved.

There are several examples mentioned in the previous Griffon pages where military crews have done excellent work, at a quick pace. However, they were usually breaking some sort of 'rules' in the process of "getting the job done".


There is something wrong with the system, not the crews.

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Where did any of the contributors try to "pin the inefficiencies" on the workin' man? If you re-read the threads, as I have just done, you will notice that in all of the posts there is no mention of civ being better than mil, or vice versa, except by you.

You say not to blame the guy with the wrench in his hand, yet you allude to civ techs being better than mil techs at least twice:


1. "I do know the civvy guys were productive before they started work in the commercial industry, not the other way around..."


2. "However, they were usually breaking some sort of 'rules' in the process of "getting the job done"..."


I enjoy perusing this forum and feel there is tons of info here but I still take everything said with a grain of salt. This thread was started to learn more about the differences between civ and mil maintenance systems. No one is trying to solve anything or assign blame. Lighten up...

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Donnybrook, methinks you should take your 'lighten up' suggestion to the mirror.


The 'apples to oranges' adage applies fully here. I flew 10 years in the military, including supervisory and staff roles, before my lengthy civil career, and rarely saw less than the finest individual effort by AMEs in both courts. The shortcomings of the military system, in terms of aircraft maintenance policy and systems, don't appear to have changed since the piston days.


VR, there's no question that we could use a lot more coordination of helicopter resource management when the fires are upon us. One of the salient problems is provincial autonomy (often spelled 'rivalry'). When I see provinces hoarding helicopters direly needed by other provinces 'just in case' it turns my stomach. I'd hoped CIFFC was going to help alleviate that, but there's no sign of it yet.


One also wonders about the efficacy of a military system that refuses to certify 'systems' that are fully proven in civil use, with millions of hours service. The 'Bambi' only needs a manufacturer-approved cargo hook and a simple electrical source to be fully functional. I was one of the handful of troops that fought to get cargo hook on the Kiowas before their purchase, but it was determined to 'cloud the role' of the helicopter too much. Go figure!


Perhaps, when we get the much-needed review of national forest and forest-fire management, there'll be a serious look at the optimum use of helicopter resources, civil and military. B)

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