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Fryguy

Crew chief took off in a 130

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When I was an FE on the DC-10, some of our mechanics were taxi qualified. Imagine driving that beast around the ramp!

Don R.

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The 14 years I was in the USAF 130 busness don't know of any outfit that crew chiefs or FEs were taxi qualified. Recips and fighters were a different story. At Phu Cat it was sop for CC s to taxi both F-100s and F-4s.

As a sh SSgt I taxied a herk late at nite after engine work requiring hi power run. Our acft. were parked with the tail over dirt so anything above idle was prohibited. The acft. was scheduled that day, early. No way we were getting the AC out of bed at that time of day and there weren't enough of us to tow so. Told the tower what we had in mind. Got clearence to taxi. Cranked up, taxied to the eor with the engine tech in the right seat, ran up, everything checked out. Told the tower we were complete and got clearence to return to the ramp. Now comes the hairy part. All our parking spots were such the acft. had to be backed in. Up an incline. You couldn't be timid as oil temp. would quickly reach the hi. temp. limit. Luckly managed to get the acft. parked with little difficulty. Later that day the acft. launched on time. What surprised me was it was perfectly clear by the discrepancy and corrective action a hi power run was required but the Maj. in charge of the detachment said not a word as he signed the release. Later, me and the guys involved discussed what we had done and agreed it was a dumb thing to do and we should have waited for the day crew to come in. However, in those days my primary goal was to ensure my acft. flew when scheduled and sometimes when not. I did whatever it took, including removing (stealing) parts from other acft.

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During my times (late 80's to 90) Marine FE's where taxi qualified for maintenance runs, repositioning birds etc. not sure if they still do.

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I was in MATS MX and TAC and PACAF as FE and I never was anywhere that CC's or FE's taxied. As a MX troop I was runup qualified on 130's and 133's but after I became an FE I never again did a run-up. Just my experience!

I've got my doubts that crew chiefs were authorized to taxi airplanes at Langley. I was in maintenance at Pope in 64 until I cross-trained and no one on the flight line was authorized to taxi. If an airplane needed to be moved for a run-up, etc., it was towed. When Meyer went down, I was at Clark and crew chiefs weren't taxiing airplanes there either. Meyer had a civilian pilots license, however, and some of the pilots he had flown with had let him in the pilot's seat (I had pilots let me in the seat too for that matter.) When the news came out about the incident, I was in-country on the shuttle and the pilot I was flyng with had just come over from Langley. I believe his name was Ewert. The story came out in Stars and Stripes with Meyer's picture and the crew was discussing it on the intercom. The pilot commented that he had let Meyer in the pilots seat a number of times. I've seen the report of the incident - I think I still have it somewhere. Meyer had gone out the night before and got stinking drunk and was probably still drunk when he took off. He had been patched through to his wife and was talking to her when contact was lost. His last words to her were "Looks like I've got a problem. I'll be back as soon as I deal with it." This leads me to believe a light had come on or something. I've got over 16,000 hours as a pilot with more than 10,000 of that in high-performance transport category airplanes. Meyer was in an airplane that was designed to be flown by a minimum of two people, either two pilots or a pilot and a flight mechanic. My guess is he got into trouble and the airplane went out of control, possibly into a spin. His "looks like I've got a problem" could have referred to anything, but one of those things could have been that he had bled off airspeed and was approaching a stall. Pieces of the airplane were found in the English Channel off of the French coast.

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I was on Guam with the guy who was the crew chief on the acft,the guy that took it was an asst,I can't remember his name been way too long ago.But he said the general concensus,since the fighters were scrambled,was that it was a shoot down.

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I was stationed at Moron AFB in Spain with the 67th ARRSQwhen this happened. We were going to send one of our Rescue Birds with pararescue jumpers in case he ditched it in the water. They canceled the mission , stating that they shot him down because he didn't have enough fuel and he was headed to a populated area. Who Knows for sure?

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I did a lot of taxis long after I left the Air Force and worked for a gov't.contractor.Never once did I even think of takeing one off.I used to say to myself"this thing ain't leaveing the ground with me in the left seat"!A good number of the taxi checks involved speeds in excess of 100+ knots.Flaps up,anti skid on,flaperon popup armed and thumb on the speedbrake switch.Only taxied a Herk once-that was to back it back on to the pad after it skided off because of a slick ramp.Double chocked and brakes locked.Going from ground idle to flight idle after paralleing the generaters.

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His name was Sgt Myers and seems like no one knows for sure.

Bob

Bob, It's been a very long time (1969) but I'm reasonably sure his name was Paul Meyer. In the 36th I knew him well. Was a good worker but off duty, a hard hard drinker. I've met people since who though he was me. At the time I was stationed at Phu Cat. Had I still been at Langley would probably have been on that rote.

There are people who know but they aren't taking. And am sure many other people have asked to no avail. Must have been an iron clad nondisclosure statement.;) One of the best kept secrets in the AF. In the many years since I've never met anyone who was then in a position to know, willing to divulge what really happened. I'm with Sam in that Meyer simply lost control of a large heavy acft in which he was not qualified. Sgts don't log a lot of Herk time.

Posted earlier was a comment concerning lack of fuel. My understanding is Meyer put a max fuel load on the acft. prior to departure.

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Bob, It's been a very long time (1969) but I'm reasonably sure his name was Paul Meyer. In the 36th I knew him well. Was a good worker but off duty, a hard hard drinker. I've met people since who though he was me. At the time I was stationed at Phu Cat. Had I still been at Langley would probably have been on that rote.

There are people who know but they aren't taking. And am sure many other people have asked to no avail. Must have been an iron clad nondisclosure statement.;) One of the best kept secrets in the AF. In the many years since I've never met anyone who was then in a position to know, willing to divulge what really happened. I'm with Sam in that Meyer simply lost control of a large heavy acft in which he was not qualified. Sgts don't log a lot of Herk time.

Posted earlier was a comment concerning lack of fuel. My understanding is Meyer put a max fuel load on the acft. prior to departure.

Larry - you're correct about the fuel, I remember this for a fact. Really seems like I should remember you from Langley - but it has been a long time.

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Larry - you're correct about the fuel, I remember this for a fact. Really seems like I should remember you from Langley - but it has been a long time.

james, When you were assigned to the 36th I was in the 37th. And during almost all of 69 I was in RVN. So I think it's unlikely we crossed paths.

I notice by your avatar you served in the 06th. I to was in the 06th but rotated a couple of years before you arrived. Good and bad experiences in that outfit. Good....drinking lots of German beer. Bad....overbearing security.

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I did a taxi check for nose wheel steering shim while at CRB. Had an officer in the right seat. Started down the runway and the Officer asked if I had ever taken off. I said "no. He said pull back on the yoke. I did and we rose a little. He then asked if I had landed and I said the aircraft is yours SIR! CRB was a long, long runway. Taxi check was fine and I taxied back to the revetment. Tower never called. Never heard any more about it. TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

When the crew chief stole the aircraft from Mildenhall, I was with a training flight to Puerto Rico. We listened on the radio. I don't remember the exact outcome, but the A/C said it was Handled!

It's been a long time ago, but these are my memories. I crewed 55-025 out of Naha. Spent a lot of time in CRB and one trip to Ubon. No RVN time on my DD214!

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As Larry says,not too often do enlisted get to take the controls in flight.It does happen on ocasion.On one mission I was on,a squadron C.O. was AC.Well into the flight he called back to the load master and told him to send a particular airman 1st class to the flight deck.This lad was a member of the aero club on base and was the head clerk in the squadron. The AC asked the copilot to let the airman take the seat.Airman sits down,gets a headset on and AC says"I want to see what they're teaching you in the aero club.When you're ready I'll disengage the auto pilot and you will have control"Guy nods his head,he's ready,auto pilot clicks off.For about the first minute everything is fine.Then we started a mild porpose then a phugoid which progressed to about + or - 200 FPM.AC got us straight and level and turned it back over to the airman.Same thing over again.After a minute or so the AC says "is anybody air sick yet"I've got a couple more storys of enlisted flying but they will have to wait for another time

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As for the crew chief and the stolen 130.I worked with a retired A/F M/Sgt. who was stationed in England on a fighter base when this took place.He told me that a couple of his fighters(F 4's) were armed up and scrambled.When they RTB they're guns had been fired.Nobody said yes or no.As far as I know to this day nobody says yes or no.

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At Langley the two FEs that worked the sim. were friends, yes, I did have one or two FE friends. On the weekends I would show and we would fly... sometimes all day. Damm, eventually I got pretty good. Could grease that baby in with the best of them. Later I became friends with the guy running the T-39 sim. Easy airplane to fly. Had to be careful on rollout as the acft. lacked anti-skid brakes.

In the 37th we had an AC, Lt Col Reed Mulkey. This guy was a superb officer, on the ground and in the air. His position was that everyone on the crew should be able to fly the bird. Someone posted some time ago that his FEs flying/landing ability was better than most CPs. When scheduled for cross country I was always happy when it was Mulkey and crew getting off the crew bus. I knew it was going to be a good trip and I would probably get some seat time.

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I was with a crew one time flying a bird from Marietta to CCK. Several stops along the way. On the way to Wake Island the A/C let me sit in the left seat and the co-pilot clicked the autopilot off and let me fly for a while. Same thing.....porposing! It wasn't easy to keep straight and level. Just had to relax and let the plane fly. Never quite got the hang of it.

About the stolen 130, it sounded on the radio like something happened to stop the flight. Never knew for sure.

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I was with a crew one time flying a bird from Marietta to CCK. Several stops along the way. On the way to Wake Island the A/C let me sit in the left seat and the co-pilot clicked the autopilot off and let me fly for a while. Same thing.....porposing! It wasn't easy to keep straight and level. Just had to relax and let the plane fly. Never quite got the hang of it.

About the stolen 130, it sounded on the radio like something happened to stop the flight. Never knew for sure.

Just want to add my two cents: I had the same experience that nascarpop had. Late at night, over water. As for the stolen Herk; I guess that it actually happened, but that C.C. must have had a lot more time in the 130 than I did. To be perfectly honest about it, I doubt that I could get one off the ground and if I did it wouldn't stay there very long.

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Have spent time in the Left seat on long flights the A.C. would want to walk around it was a good feeling that they trust you to say awake. Ha!

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I got to fly across the Mediterranean. Another A/C who believed crew members should be able to sit in during an emergency, operate the radios and at least keep it straight and level.

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When I was in the Air Guard at Van Nuys, I went on a local trainer one day. Turned out nobody had any squares to fill, so the AC put me in the left seat and I did 5 T/Os and landings - didn't do too bad for a 200 hour Private Pilot after I learned not to wipe off all the power before touchdown! The AC was a CFI, so I have the time logged in my logbook (and signed by him)... Sure beat sitting in the back!

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I recall that fine morning, I arrived early to pre flight my trusty C-47 (R4D-6)-as was soon evident, the Hercules had just departed for places unknown. I was Ships Company of a small Naval Air Facility (NAF) permanately stationed at Mildenhall. The Air Force was all in a tizzy, as seemed to be their way quite a lot-then I found out what had happened. The tizzy worked itself around to being absurd in my and my Shipmates opinion-we had to place "check stands" and anything or something big in front of our aircraft when we ran them up The presumption I suppose that us Enlisted types were going to "copy cat" the C-130. Eventually things calmed down and returned to normal, at least for us. I have a local newspaper in my collection that alludes to perhaps the RAF put him in the water. I also saw one commenter commented about F-100's from Lakenheath being at Mildenhall-At one point, indeed they were, many were in the Navy Hangar (hardest working bunch of folks I had seen in a while-that is until I was in F-14s) until the resurfacing was completed at Lakenheath. However, I do not recall if that was the time when the C-130 incident occurred. As an interesting aside we had a Genuine Enlisted Pilot at Mildenhall-an E9, Master Chief Petty Officer Leland Pomeroy, a Naval Aviation Pilot, not to be confused with a Naval Aviator, the officer type. I flew many hours with him, many of them he was Pilot in Command-One time with a full Navy Captain as copilot, the Chief was in charge in the aircraft. A Rare and exciting series of experiences, flying as his Crewman. He retired with around 10,000 flight hours-had been a pilot since 1943

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I remember the enlisted Navy pilot at Mildenhall. Did he fly the C-47 or the C-131 there. I thought it was the Convair.

Don R.

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Don, Been a long time but I thought he was the only pilot in the detachment qualified on both type assigned acft. , R4D and I believe C-131. And he was but one of two enlisted Navy pilots still serving. Recall the Navy troops assigned had high regard for his pilot skills and allowed he was by far the most qualified pilot in the detachment. They said when there was a VIP to be transported he was the pilot.

I remember him from the club. But I thought he was a Senior Chief. Evidently my memory is faulty. Happens a lot these days.

I recall listening to him trying to understand why the Navy was TOPCAPing him out. He was, after all, still capable of performing any and all duties assigned. What a career he must of had.

Often wondered why the Navy, at some point in their career didn't commission their Navel Aviation Pilots as WOs or officers.

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Don,

Pomeroy flew the two C-117D Super Gooneys and the one C-47 (sometimes two aboard) we also had two C-45's assigned-I don't recall him every flying one of those. We hauled mostly cargo and personnel, with some vip's moved in the C-47 on occasion. As I recall a fellow named Stanley was the boss of the C-131 a Lt Commander-that aircraft was in a world of its own, explicitly for the use of the Commander Naval Forces Europe in London, at his every wish and beckon. It had its own personally assigned E-8 and E-9 for maintaining and crewing it-the Master Chief taxied it wherever it needed to be positioned. ( yes maintain, they performed almost all the work on it). Us sailors did lots of polishing of the "bird" therefore didn't appreciate its presence much. It would have been a rare occasion for Pomeroy to have flown on it, could have, I just don't recall any such event.

Larry,

I'm thinking there were around 12-15 Nap's in 1969-I can come up with 10 easily. The last four Marine NAP's retired the same day in January 1973-Master Gunnery Sergeant's Joseph Conroy, Robert Lurie (17,600 hours), Leslie Erickson, and Patrick O'Neill. Last Coast Guard NAP Master Chief John P. Greathouse retired February 1979 (14,000 plus hours). Leland Pomeroy, Merton Jackson, Ralph Carr, Kenneth Milburn, and R. K. Jones were active Navy NAP'S. Ralph Carr was the only Senior Chief, rest being Master Chief's. Ralph Carr and Merton Jackson in 1967 made undoubtedly the US Military's last all Enlisted Crew flight, ferrying a P3A from East Coast to West Coast-Carr was Pilot in Command. All Enlisted Crews were not out of the norm much of the early periods of NAP history, but by the 1950's were something to behold, as was rare by then. There was an all enlisted combat crew during Korea, PPC Patrol Plane Commander was a First Class Petty Officer NAP (E-6) flying the PB4Y Navy single tailed B-24. In 1955 there were around 600 NAP'S onboard-that year some 321 were commissioned, that cut down the numbers significantly, from then on it was just a matter of time for the era of the NAP to end. That end was in January 1981 when my Friend Master Chief Robert K. Jones (13,000 plus hours) went on the retired list. He had been the NATOPS evaluator for the C-131 worldwide, anyone requiring a "check ride" flew with him.

Pomeroy was a Senior Chief part of that time, he was advanced to Master Chief during my tour at Mildenhall.

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