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Crew Chiefs tell us your secrets


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Crew Chiefs are a competitive lot, wanting their aircraft to be the flight crew favorite of the fleet. So guys, tell us what you did to make your aircraft special. Maybe will give some ideas to the new generation.

I've seen little extras over the years that made the flight crews more comfortable. Everything from instant coffee, sugar, creamer, hot cocoa in the galley, extra padding in the seat cushions. Pencil sharpener at the Nav's station, signs on the T.O. cabinet that said, "Welcome to my aircraft, have a nice flight. Your Crew Chief. " Aircraft cooled or heated prior to the crew showing up. Extra flashlight bulbs and batteries in the galley drawer. And on and on.

I know, most of the time there were no comments or thank you, but on those occasions when the crew came out smiling, called you by your first name, and said thanks for the extras. Tell us how that made you feel...........

Maybe some comments from the flight crews about the extras.......

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As an avionics type, I always tried to make the control boxes look a little nicer for those crew chiefs that made my life easier.......you scratch my back, I scratch yours theory. Believe me, it was nice to go out first thing on a very cold morning and have the aircraft opened and pre-heated.


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You know, the main thing I ever did was to try and make things easier. We would have the bird nice and toasty on those cold days, things clean and belts ready for simple strapping in. We put a hook on the back of the pilot seat for the FE to hang his bag off of.

One thing we always did was to strap in the chalks for the Load while he was outside doing engine start. Whatever we could do we would, and it usually payed off. Once while broke in Turkey for a valve housing change the AC bought us lunch and delivered it to us. Back in the day when I worked fighters, the only ones who would help out when you were working your a$$ off were other crewchiefs. I didn't even experience the "Herky lovin'" when I was on tankers, which was supposed to be a tight crew.

I miss the Herk. Good times.

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I got a call to report to the Maint. Officers Office one day at CCK and I wondered what I had done wrong. To my surprise, he handed me this note and wrote another one himself! I guess all of that cleaning and preparation for the flight crews paid off!! To me it was like a medal. Later on I went to Misawa Japan with the same flight crew and was treated very nicely. Got to stay in the same quarters as the whole crew did!! Of course to show my appreciation, I helped the loadmaster short sheet the officers beds!!!!!

The Capt. got the Acft. number wrong,(it was 62-1804), but I have hung on to the letter all of these years.

Ken Carlson

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Some TLC always helped out! I always presented the aircraft in clean condition, mission ready, configured properly, i.e. flight deck cleaned up, windows all cleaned, seatbelts crossed and harnesses up over the headrests, galley cleaned, nav's table cleared off, cargo compartment in proper configuration and troop seats down had all the seatbelts crossed. Aircraft forms cleaned up and ER signed off if possible.

Meet the FE and LM as they came onboard, and then later meet the pilot, co-pilot and nav when they showed up. Usually had SCNS up and INU's aligned, with proper co-ordinates for the parking spot already input.

With downtime usually after ISO inspection/awaiting parts would work on touch up paint in flt deck/cargo compt, or replace flt deck flooring, CC anti-skid, etc.

Usually about every30 days would strip and wax flight deck floor, pressure wash cargo compartment floor, including hand scrubbing the D-rings cups.

Always had plenty of cups, coffee, creamer, paper towels, TP, paper plates, dining packets, garbage bags, toilet deodorizer on hand.

I also worked/played well with the specialists, warm aircraft, panels removed, workstands available, extra hand when needed, etc and it payed off for me

as I usually got the better specialists, ie when they reviewed writeups on all the aircraft the next morning when they saw my tail number they were first out the door to go work on it.

I always believed that if you presented a nice clean aircraft to the flight crew it would payoff in the end, no nit-picking writeups, no whining.;(

Just my 2 cents worth that worked for me in my 21 years of crewing.

73, Rex

Edited by herkfixer
correct text
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Wondering if some of the old crews are reading this and surprised at what happened between the times they left the plane and then returned to fly. How we were as proud a breed as the Fighter Jocks. There were those that called us janitors and maintenance pukes.....but little did they know...we smiled and took pride in those terms, knowing they were in safe hands.

But what better feeling than the FE coming out, asking if the aircraft was ready to fly, you telling him yes and then he says to you good, I'm going in for breakfast. Yes, that is the ultimate confidence in his crew chief. The load shows up and you assist him in loading and tying down the load. That hand shake and the thank you from the load.

Yes sir, the best job in the world......crew chief

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