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Spectre623

How bout some GPES now

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Now that we have the PLADS thing figured out here is another one for the newbies...GPES, Ground Proximity Extraction System. Anybody here use it ,where and when. And the last question, where was the microphone attached? Love these old brain teasers. Bill

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Did a couple of GPES at Eglin. The microphone was attached on the bottom of the hook which was attached to a rod that went off of the ramp. The mike made noise so the pilot could tell it was on the ground and would hopefully engage the cable. Only did this about 2-3 times. We started to do Lapes when they decided Lapes were easier and safer. A 123 outfit had a crash when the hook failed after the load started moving. The rod flipped back into the plane and jammed the load. this caused an extreme aft cg wwhich made it pitch up and stall. I think several guys in the back of the 123 were killed.

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You win the cigar Xzoomie. I understood the pilot couldn't get the correct altittude till they hung the mic on the boom. Pretty smart idea. Have seen clips of GPES but never flown on one. Bill

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My crew was checked out on GPES at Pope in 1965. Don't remember no microphone, but that was a long time ago. GPES was discontinued when LAPES came out but revised for use at Khe Sanh in 1968.

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I recall a couple of the modifications at Khe Sanh. Set tension on locks to virtually nothing. Touch and go, load gone, re-supply and repeat. Another version was to just release the locks after touchdown and go. Both methods worked really well and only took about 45 seconds total.

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Just for general interest, I was on the "Khe Sahn Survivors Club" site one day and they were discussing this very subject and apparently, on one load the arresting cable snapped and the load skidded all the way off the end of the RW and into a mess tent, killing two Marines. No one's fault, it was a mechanical failure. The fellow talking about it was a loady but I didn't recognize the name. He was on that ship and was apologizing and the Marines were saying "hell no, that was just two of us, if it hadn't been for us, the whole base might have fallen". The Marines really appreciated what we did and not afraid to say so!

Sarg

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Now that we have the PLADS thing figured out here is another one for the newbies...GPES, Ground Proximity Extraction System. Anybody here use it ,where and when. And the last question, where was the microphone attached? Love these old brain teasers. Bill

I was a member of Combat Control ground crew at Camp McCall NC. It was in the Summer of 1964, I

don't remember the month. We worked air traffic at the LZ. There were several passes by a C-130

and two extraction. A jeep and some other heavy equipment, don't remember the equipment type.

A1C Pait

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The aircraft from the accident at Khe Sahn was scrapped at Cam Rahn after landing on the belly. It sat along one of the taxiways. It was just dragged there and left. We used it for a parts depot. I posted photos of what was left of fuselage some time back. I had heard something had gone wrong with the drop and it had hit a bulldozer at the end of the runway and tossed it into a bunker, killing a couple of guys.

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I heard a lot of stories about GPES loads extracted on perimeter fences and etc.

We started 1528 LAPES development testing in 1968 at the Tactical Airlift Center at Pope. Around 1969 or so we were told to get a load ready to LAPES onto an angled deck aircraft carrier. About three days out from the mission date, somebody (probably in the Navy) chickened out and the drop was cancelled.

I often wondered why they didn't take advantage of GPES since they already had the arresting cables installed. A good, heavy weight LAPES load would have been close to an F-4 weight, so tensioning shouldn't have been a problem.

Later in the 70's we spent a lot of time and effort, not to mention money, developing the Naval Emergency Air Cargo Delivery System, NECADS. This involved dropping emergency resupply loads into the water close to a ship that would then hoist them onboard. I remember hearing that after it went operational, a C-141 crew actually dropped a propeller shaft to a destroyer size vessel somewhere off the coast of Africa.

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I've been doing some research on GPES for my latest novel "Naha War Story", which is set in 1968. It turns out that within a few days after GPES drops started at Khe Sanh, the 1st Cav' broke through and relieved the camp, thus negating the need for drops. Bowers makes no mention of any GPES malfunctions but there were at least two LAPES malfunctions and one platform at least killed Marines. The airplane that crashed at Cam Ranh had an electrical fire. It happened on March 3, 1968 during the siege so people may have thought it had battle damage. (An A-model  crashed at Hue the previous day.) My personal experience with GPES was a checkout at Pope with my crew when we went through exotic training in 1965, GPES was discontinued soon afterwards. Actually, GPES was the preferred extraction method in Vietnam after Khe Sanh but airdrops became few and far between by early 1969. All I dropped was bombs. 

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