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Posts posted by MHeflin

  1. BDR: as you can appreciate the stories you hear, don't always reflect what actually happened. Especially when told by GI's. Things always get left out or exaggerated/embellished. Thanks for sharing the real story.  

  2. DynCorp had been running C-27As out of Patrick for several years. It was my understanding that only the Puddle Pirates and USASOC were operating the C-27Js. Perhaps the USCG is stationing Js at Patrick. We've got 3 USASOC Js operating out of Laguna AAF, providing elevator lifts for the Military Freefall School, doing the mission that was previously conducted by Casa 212s. Tragic to have so much capability being used in such a limited manner.

  3. Bob;

    There was a rumor roughly 18 months ago that the 2 H's were potentially for sale. Several people were pursuing with enthusiasm and even putting together plans to move them up to the States. Then as with a lot of these things it all went quiet and nothing since.

  4. The AF started off down the RPA road with the notion that if it flies, it's flown by an O. However, there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Lords of the Clouds when many of them either didn't get to strap on a 15, 16, or 22, or the ones who were already there and not quite "acceptable", or had done the River Dance on their ....  got moved out of the cockpit and into the trailer, parked up out in the wilds of NV. Knowing the Big Blue Wiener they must have gotten tired of Buck, Troy and Skippy kicking, screaming and throwing their Teddy bears across the room, so it as time to move on to plan B. Your friendly,neighborhood Enlisted puke.     

  5. Hey Don, how can I get a copy of that photo? That bird off your left wing is wearing my old colors. Flew for TIA back in 78 - 79. Spent 4 tours flying the DIAMANG hump between Luanda and Dundo (general trash twice a day, 5 days a week, Benson tanks hauling fuel on Sat. and Sun.), with side trips to Benguela for fish and many other glamorous locations. 

  6. I'd love to know who gets to decide this stuff. For sure they don't look at longivity, lineage, etc.

    When I arrived at LRAFB back in 74 the Five O was the mutz nutz. They'd blown in from CCK/SEA with a reputation that few could rival. I was in the 32nd and while we considered ourselves to be the top squadron on base if were really honest most of us secretly wanted to be a Red Devil.

    I did get to fly with them quite extensively during Desert Shield/Storm because I was at Dhahran with 5th MAPS and we flew in theatre in order to maintain proficiency/ currency one day a week, on our day off. There was a huge number of Herk crews transiting daily, but I always tried to make sure that I flew with a crew from the Five O.  

    What's interesting to me is that the 314th Troop Carrier Group was composed of the 32nd, 50th, 62st, and 62nd TCS during WWII  and they made the shake at Sicily, Salerno, D-Day, Airborne crossing of the Rhein, etc.. So sad that the AF turned it's back on that history.    

  7. 62nd TAS lost a bird in 1982 (Apr/May I think), it was a locked and cocked spare that was launched out on a night tac line when the regularly scheduled aircraft crapped out. The crew did a rapid transition to the spare, with minimal/no pre-flight and all onboard perished when the right wing came off, very soon after take-off, as they attempted to catch-up with the formation headed N. I believe the official finding was PIlot Error, due to overstressing the aircraft. 

    I'd tried to fly a day tac on this particular aircraft with students the day prior and had scanned problems with # 3 engine dumping oil through the sabre mast during run-up. We taxied in/out, did more run-ups, came back and had MX tweak it a total of 3 times before we were finally cancelled. A 50th crew had similar problems the next morning and eventually cancelled. Yet somehow thet bird was on the line, locked and cocked and supposedly ready to fly that evening. Such a tragedy.

    The Ft. Hood accident in 85 was again the 62 TAS, flying formation CDS airdrop with studs. The suffered a fin stall at slow down and smoked in. Dave Grimm was the IFE (we were on the 62nd Violent Rodeo crew together in 83) and was standing next to the FE stud in the seat, while the IP was also out of the seat, standing next to the P and CP studs. Dave told me that he remembers the stall warning horn going off and the next thing he knew he was lying on his back, waking up in a field, thinking he must be in heaven (it was TX), sitting up and looking at the burning heap of the aircraft. Both him and the IP had been thrown clear. Soon after this accident formation CDS was deleted as an approved procedure from the 55-130.

    Gieblestadt was sort of the very first event of the ORI. The intent was to insert the IG inspection team the day prior for a LAPES evaluation scheduled for the actual first day. CMS Ken Regan was the LM and suffered a shrapnel wound to the arm, from a piece of the Herk that came loose when they crashed. At the time I was one of the Examiners who worked for Ken in the 435th Stan Eval and he loved to tell the story that when they were working on him in the ER they inserted a cathyter in him. Later when they got him on the ward, one of the nurses asked him how he was doing. He told her that he was confused because he came into the hospital with a gapping hole in his arm and the first thing they did to him was shove a tube up his c...

    The 435th also lost an aircraft at Zaragoza, Spain in late March, early April 1984. Back then we sent out new LMs from the 62nd qualified on everything except actual static line personel; which they received soon after arriving at their new squadron. The 37th had received 2 new LMs, so they went down to ZAZ with 2 ILMs to get them fully qualified. All was going well until the cable on one of the troop doors broke, with one drop remaining. MX checked it out and advised that the door was inop, which meant that only one ILM was required to be on board. The ILMs flipped a coin to determine who would remain on the ground (RG won). The aircraft took off to complete the training and all was normal until some clouds moved into the area and obscured the mountain which sat off to the side of the slowdown run-in. Unfortunately the crew failed to notice this and they subsequetnly descended into the mountain, killing all onboard.

    That's how I ended up at RM, as Billy Cress knew that I deperately wanted to get to Europe and he desperately needed an ILM to replace the one lost at ZAZ. From the time I accepted the assignment (the day after the crash) I signed into the 37th approx. 30 days later, which included 2 weeks leave enroute.              

  8. Casey;

    Thanks for the compliment, but all the credit for how good it looks goes to the contractors we brought in; who were amazing. Concur completely with your comment. For those of us with both an emotional and historic attachment to the Mighty Herk, it is deeply painful to see them lined up at the AMARC waiting to be turned into beer cans. Or, parked alone, unattended and derelict at some desolete location, rotting into oblivion.

    The catalyst for this project began with a TDY to Aberdeen Proving Ground. I was tasked to conduct the test loading of prototype vehicles being offered to the Army Test & Evaluation Command onboard an A-model hulk, located in the back 40 at Phillips AAF. I'd been assured that the hulk was fully operational prior to my departure and to be fair it sorta was.... once all the raccoons, birds and other various species of wildlife were convinced to vacate the premises and all of their "deposits" and treasures were cleaned out. However, the test was a great success and I made the recommendation in my trip report that YPG establish a similar test bed.

    I have to say that when the bird showed up at our place on the back of that flat bed truck it looked a hot mess. However, much love, care and attention went into transforming her into something special. Granted 0496 is no longer hauling trash, flying locals, transporting eager young crew dogs from party to party all around the world, or going into harms way to successfully execute the mission; but she still serves proudly and continues to  perform a vital function for the nation. Which is exactly what Herks are meant to do.             

  9. Had trouble yesterday getting the images to load. Also, opening line should have been "been meaning to post this for quite some time", but fat-fingered incorrectly.


    The Arrival.jpg

  10. I've been meaning to do this for quite some time, but not managed to get around to it. I had the honor of leading the project to construct the site and relocate 0496 from Hemet Valley, CA to US Army Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, where she serves as an Air Transportability Test Bed.

    C-130 ATTB.jpg

  11. Bob,

    Request clarification on some of your abbreviations (WFU, etc). Also, you list HC-130Hs with an (N), but HC-Hs converted to AR tankers were originally designated as Ps. I know things changed a few years ago and they re-designated things to line up. 

    Otherwise great job and your hard work is much appreciated.


  12. It's funny how things suddenly pop into your head out of nowhere. Back in early 75 I flew my first solo TDY as a qualified LM out of LR (32nd TAS) onboard 72-1293. Spent a week shuttling cargo/ pax all over the E. coast supporting a TAC fighter excercise and came back to LR thinking I was the coolest thing to have ever put on a flight suit and knew everything there was to know about being a Tac-Trained Killer; because that's what you do when you're 19 years old. 

    In April the squadron put us all on standby to deploy to SE Asia late one night for the evacuation of Saigon and I was assigned to pre-flight 1293 and be ready to load and depart ASAP for Clark. For whatever reason another crew took the aircraft and I wound up being excess to requirements, so myself and 3 other FNGs continued to pre-flight and load the birds for crews making the jump.

    The story I heard was that 1293 arrived Clark and was almost immediately turned over to a fresh 21st crew, who took it into Tan Son Nhut to lift out refugees. Upon landing the field came under artillery/ rocket attack and the crew rolled out, braked with enthusiasm, popped the crew door open and and promptly beat feet. All got clear, but the aircraft sustained a direct hit, totally destroying it.

    As we all know when trying to remember things that have happened in the past and you look back at your life through the dark mist of time, things are quite often not what we remember/recall. Therefore, I went to the 130 database on this site to try and confirm my recollection of what happened to 1293. To my surprise it isn't listed.

    Any insights/revelations from this august Forum would be greatly appreciated.       

  13. Which brings up an interesting point.... any feedback from the NYANG? Didin't they have one/some of their aircraft modified with the 8-blade props? Be interested to see some data on how it worked out.

    Back in the early J-model days the Dowty 6-blade did have some issues with delamination but I understand that's been cured. 

  14. Fred, Bob; Many thanks for the input/update. The bird we used was primo low-time and in excellent condition as it was not getting beaten up passing gas all day, every day. Not doubt the sister ship is in similar condition. 

  15. The boot necks used to have several KC-130T-30s (Stretch) that operated out of Newburgh, NY and I believe Fort Worth (Carswell), TX. I did the initial extraction/deployment of the UAV for the Killer Herk program (UAV is extracted, flies down range, identifies target, the Herk launches a Hellfire, target destroyed, high fives, RTB for beers) out of one of the birds from Newburgh back in 09. Great crew. Those birds were never podded for AR and were just used to haul ass, trash and conduct airdrop.

    It's my understanding that they were transferred over to the Navy and been re-designated as C-130T-30s. Does anyone know their current location and disposition?  

  16. In 92 I PCSed from 5th MAPS @ MHZ to Alconbury in order to establish the AD Flight. The 39th SOW (the precursor to the current 352nd SOG) was transitioning over from RM, but the TIs stayed and we had about 3 - 4 months to get things ready before the arrival of the TIIs. I was part of the 7th SOS TII initial cadre and in fact the first LM from the 39th to go through the full-blown TII training (the previously qualified TI guys just had to do a mini conversion course) that had just been set up at Kirkland. I remember the day that the very first TII arrived on the ramp @ Alconbury. All of us were just blown away that we were going to write the next chapter of Air Commando history with this amazing machine.

  17. HC-130s used the callsign King back in the ARRS days. The 67th ARRS had an unofficial patch (the 53 helo guys wore the Jolly Green patch on their left sleeve (yes left) and we all wore the ARRS patch on our right sleeve)  in the mid-70s depicting a crown hanging off a letter K, which had been used by the ARRS units in SE Asia. Not sure if this is relevent to your question, but hopefully it might assist.   

  18. It's the proverbial dog chasing it's tail

    In today's world you don't just slap in a few COTS pieces, crank-up, taxi out and let rip. One of the big selling points for the C-17 was it's use of COTS DC-10-type cockpit instruments, MDS, etc.Saves money right? All was well until approx. shipset 45 came down the line. When Boeing went to re-order additional COTS parts for the next 50 shipsets they found that the manufacturer no longer made for example version 1.0 of that particular component/system; they'd moved on to version 2.0. Commercial aircraft being built today aren't designed to be flown for 20, 30, or 40 years. They have a set, specific flight time life expectancy and it's short. Engineered obsolescence. The avionics going into those aircraft are built/sold the same way. Everybody knows that you can't make money cranking out MIL-SPEC. Sure the initial component cost is sky-high, but then the damn things last forever. 

    Boeing had no choice but to purchase version 2.0. however, this voided the original testing and certification of the aircraft equipped with version 1.0. Therefore, a new flight test program had to be accomplished, with a considerable amount of tax payer money. And so it goes.

    Back when we were testing the J-model over 10 years ago it cost $1 million to change a line of code. In modern aircraft everything connected becomes part of the "system" and systems are expensive.

    The truth is that LM really hopes those Hs will wither and die, which will then allow them to sell more Js.          

  19. The developmental test world is littered with the rotting carcasses of programs which have been touched by self proclaimed experts hoping to become a legend and forever remembered as the man/woman who..... Then they leave, move up, get out (D. all the above), the new expert/s arrives and things are either modded, go stagnent, or get cancelled. Like most things in the active duty you live and die by a 3 year window of criticality; the normal stateside duration of assignment.

    Requirments drive testing. Requirements are firmly established long before testing is approved. Change costs money. Lots of money. There's never enough money to test it right the first time, but money can always be found when things go wrong and has to be re-tested.

    Yes I've been doing this a long time.  

  20. When does this madness end? The entire military procurement system and aviation in particular has gone completely off the track, yet continues to race on at an increasingly alarming rate of speed. Take your pick: KC-46,,,, a 767 at/near the end of it's useful commercial life however, it's not going to hit the flightline in force until 2017/18 afer 4 - 5 years of development and several boatloads of money being spent. F-35.... a technological marvel, innovative, complex, cutting edge, but we all know that at some point Congress is going to eventually pass a kidney stone and claim they had no idea of the "real cost" and immediately chop the total number to be purchased, which will of course drive up the price (hello F-22, B-2, take your pick). Deja vu.

    One of the reasons that Germany lost WWII was due to their equipment being over engineered, excessively complex and too expensive to produce in adequate numbers to defeat the might of the US war machine.       

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