04 November 2005

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 05 Nov 90

05 NOV 90

160438, 2K2, 2.3, FCF, Mooch

Spent all day testing 213 with Mooch, it's propellers are out of alignment with the afterburner. Actually, rotor blades won't track and balance. Spent all day on it Saturday and said there was no more that could be done with it, there's something weird going on with it. For a track and balance on a main rotor system, we might have to add weight to the hubs for spanwise balance, sweep blades for chord alignment, adjust pitch for track and rpm, and fine tune with trim tabs to compensate for a diving or climbing blade. We measure vibration with vertical and lateral accelerometers with a test set to narrow down balance issues. Track is measured by bolting reflective targets onto the blade tips and firing a strobe at them. One target is a horizontal strip of reflective tape, the other is vertical. If the blades track together, the targets will make a plus sign. Targets are checked in a hover and at various in flight speeds to see if the blades fly "together" or diverge. If one blade climbs or descends because of its individual aerodynamic characteristics, the strobe targets will split and vertical vibration (beat) increases. Then you have to figure out did one blade climb or the other blade dive? We pick one blade to be the target blade and try to make it fly like the other blade. SO then you may end up with 2 crummy blades and eventually go back to square one. Problems crop up when one blade is relatively new and it gets matched with an older blade with more flight hours. The newer blade is more elastic, older blade rigid. The maintenance books can't cover every scenario, as there is no way of knowing how Mr Molecule will interact with every blade. Add 2 pieces of 20 foot protective tape to the leading edge of every blade, plus a patch job here or there into the equation and you're ready to go ground turn all day in 120 degree heat. Are we having fun yet? Sure we are!
Flew 2.3 today experimenting with numerous combinations and corrections. Minimum test standard is having a vertical vibration level of less than 2/10 of an inch per second at 110 knots. Saturday it was 3.5/10, which means a 100 hour component would last about 60 hours and give a bumpier ride. If I can get this hub and blade assembly to track and balance, I will have rewritten the procedures. Following the maintenance pub sequence, it can't be done. Sometimes you have to accept more deviation in the hover to get the in flight track to fall within tolerances. So after 2-3 days of following the book we'll look at some other things tomorrow that aren't in the book. We're trying to avoid removing the entire assembly and swapping out a blade. I have 18 years of crew chief experience out there working on the problem and they aren't too happy about it. We spent all day on it and have an idea of what might fix it, which will be great if it works and gets put in the maintenance manual someday. Then some old salt can say, "Oh yeah, we knew that. You mean you didn't check that first?" Well, it aint in the book. SO I don't know which will be better, figuring out the bird is AFU or that the book is AFU. As long as it's not me that was AFU.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 04 Nov 90

04 NOV 90

Got up at 0730, on my "day off", to go get a hepatitis shot. My butt is still sore. Ate breakfast, went back to tent, took a nap and watched Texas-OU video. Wrote some letters. Finally went in to work to plan, brief and preflight to be a standby crew from 1800-0600. We have a Huey and 2 Cobras on standby in case something comes up somewhere. Given approval to launch by a "competent authority", we would go out and recon the situation. So, in other words, we'll never launch...
Chow was disgusting again. I swear I wouldn't feed half of this stuff to the dogs. Back to tent, read Leatherneck, then 100 pages in a new book called Stinger. Showered, called it an evening.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Storm 03 Nov 90

03 NOV 90

160438, 2K2, 1.3, FCF, Crawford

Spent all day testing an aircraft with SSgt Crawford, then wandered aimlessly for a few hours. Post maintenance, a few engine adjustments, leak check and vibrex. Fun flying, got away from the pit for a while.
Got lots of mail. Need some new socks, maybe Spike can bring some back. He's been gone for a few weeks now, and might get to come back. We really miss him, he let us pick on him. Maybe I'll fly home instead with Gen Boomer for the Christmas parade. Should only take a few weeks to get there in the Super Huey. I can also get a tape to replace Paula Abdul, she's getting kind of old.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 02 Nov 90

02 NOV 90

Not on the schedule, except for test flights, and no aircraft came up for test today. Guess I slowed down flying in Oct, only 15 hours. Nothing like a little continuity. They're trying to keep us a 25 hours a month, actually the airframes at 25 hours a month. Now if we can use those hours to TRAIN, it will be great. And give us some ordnance too.
Scooted around all day, pretending to be busy while actually doing nothing, and pretty much succeeded. Oh, we finally got our desert cammies! 2 trousers, 1 blouse, 1 cover, 4 t-shirts, 1 scarf, 1 long john top, 1 long john bottom, 1 night desert parka (green and dark green blocks?) parka liner, night desert trousers. Also got flak jacket cover, helmet cover and "pack-sack", a bag to put pack in. Aren't we the desert ninja warriors now? I like the night desert coat, it looks like a duster.
Went to disgusting chow, hauled new desert wardrobe and mail from terminal to tent. This plus putting it all away wore me out. Fell asleep at 1830, woke up long enough to crawl into sleeping bag.

Gunfighter Diary Desert Shield 01 Nov 90

01 NOV 90

Reveille. Shaved, maintenance meeting, went to breakfast then hung around shop all day just to see how things are going. The Tiger team from North Island came by, they're a group of Parachute Riggers and Flight Physiologists that travel around to introduce new flight equipment to the Fleet, ensure standardization, troubleshoot problems and see how the FE business is going. Their answer for most of our questions was "we're working on it..." The said new helo helmets are #1 priority at NavAir Development Center. Maybe we'll see something in the next year. All we can do is keep in contact with them about it.
Checked on desert flight suits again, because Irish heard from someone else who knew someone who saw what they thought was a khaki flight suit. One small group from an East coast Hornet squadron bought about 20 just before they left, and now we're wondering if the MAG will float us $9,000 dollars to go out an open purchase our own. Like the rest of the Army/Navy/Air Force and Marine Corps don't want any? We might have been able to get some in Sep, but now that everyone else is here or on the way, It's purt near impossible. But, did hear that the contractor is gearing up to produce 300,000 for all services. Maybe we'll see those in about 6 weeks. We'll put in our request and let the supply system figure out how to fill it.
Had a camel and cheese hoagie for lunch, or was that supposed to be steak? I'm sure I did something this afternoon, I just can't remember what that was. Hey I guess we've been here long enough for this to be Combined Arms Exercise (CAX) 8, 9, 10 and 11-90 now. No word on rotation plan yet, Ha! 6-12 months is my guess. Scuttlebutt says plan will be out within the week, after Commandant's visit. Once again, I say Ha!
Watched clock for about a while, talked to an Army pilot for an hour about FE. The guys did some repairs on some flight gear for him and swapped out a few flight suits. He gave us some tips on how to order the land survival vests, knives, waterproof matches etc. The vests not only look cooler but ARE cooler, made of mesh. He was from Temple, worked in Garland Police Dept, went to SWTSU. They don't have shit where they are at, just sand and MREs. They do have tents, but they are very isolated. So I don't feel so bad for myself now. They've only been here 3 weeks, if that matters. We're going to try and get them into our supply system, if possible and they'll get us into theirs for things that we each can't get. They have better access to the NVG lip lights than we do, plus another NVG finger light that can be velcroed on to a flight glove. These things are pretty handy, considering the cockpits are not NVG compatible. Another thing on our wish list. We gave him some Pepsis to take back, he was impressed, probably thinking how great we had it. Yep, we used to be like that too. Now we're the old men of the desert and have a steady supply.