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Posts posted by MHeflin

  1. If memory serves, back in the 70s HC-130Ns 5820, 5823, and 5826 were assigned to the 67th ARRS, RAF Woodbridge, along with HC-130Hs 976? (plus one other, 970 I think?) and 2 HC-130Ps (HC H-models converted to AR-birds, 220, plus one other that I can't recall) The N's were awesome, all shiny an new. Had the roller bar for paratroop retrieval. The Ns and Hs were gloss grey color, with the yellow chicken stripes around the aft end fuselage and wings, but the P models sported SE Asia camo. Spent a lot of time @ 50N 30W orbiting for fighters heading back and forth on Reforger.

  2. DC10FE: Your last is ironic as while you were on Bravo Rote during the Summer 76 I was across the Channel on Delta Rote at RM. However, I spent 4 July (the Bicentennial) at MHZ on a 24 hour layover (which funnily enough describes the activities that took place). I'd been at MHZ the autumn prior (Sep - Nov 75) on Bravo and was on the first MAC Herk that went down to Dharan SA to replace the USMTM-SA C-118 operation and assume the callsign of Bat 60.

    I got back to LRAFB from Rote 76 at the end of Aug and immediately began out-processing to go to HC-130 School at Kirkland, prior to PCSing to the 67th ARRS at Woodbridge in Nov.

  3. Now that really frosts my cookies. Never could understand how the AF could justify having more than 1 band and that one could either be contracted out to professional musicians, or be a primary mission of the AF Academy, or several ROTC units around the country. And don't get me started on the Singing Sgts, Tops in Blue, etc. or any of the other uniformed entertainers wasting taxpayers money.

    I remember being launched one night on Quick Alert, during a Bravo Rote and how we busted our humps to get airborne within the USAFE required 1 hr. window. We were briefed at Ops. to proceed with all speed available to Moron AB. Enroute we speculated that we must be moving some sort of spook unit on a classified mission. Upon arrival at dawn we were told by MAC Ops. that the T-29 moving the USAFE Band to Kenitra Morocco was tits-up and that our mission was to get them transported in time for the Marine Corps Ball being held that night. Needless to say we were pissed off.

  4. Heart broken to hear this news. So, so many great memories...... Bravo Rote in 75... stopping in multiple times during Delta Rote in 76... arriving at the Port for my PCS tour with the 67th ARRS at Woodbridge... flying in the Air Fete... flying in from the Rock and having my girl friend greet me when I got off the crew bus at Base Ops... arriving at the Port Space A a few months later in order to wed said girlfriend... waiting at the Port for Space A with my new bride and 2 parachute bags full of wedding gifts and seeing the look on her face when she climbed up into a 141 for the ride to Dover with an HR up front... in and out of MHZ on many, many occasions while flying with the 37th out of RM... 4 absolutely amazing years with 5th MAPS... moving the AD Flight from Alconbury to MHZ into the old 5th MAPS building... on and on. Was just there last April to meet with the AD Flight and it was so nice to be amongst them and share stories about the "good old days". And bloody good they were too.

  5. What's ironic is that back in the late 90s LM was teamed with Alenia to market/sell the C-27J. This was right around the time that the USCG had their huge program to update/replace a significant portion of the surface vessels/aircraft in their fleet. Well the Maritime Division of LM (not the Aeronautical) pitched a package of new cutters and a fixed wing patrol aircraft. Without consulting the Bubbas down at Marietta they bid a proposal that included the CN-235.

    At the time I was working with Alenia on getting the 27J airdrop certified and let me tell you the Italians were fit to be tied. Especially when LM Maritime won. Needless to say that was the end of the relationship.

    And now here we are 15 years or so later and the Coasties are getting the 27J. Like they say "one man's trash, is another man's treasure".

    It's good to be the USAF.

  6. Late last year there were big doings going on related to the possibility of returning them to service with the original buyer. As with everything else related to this story there was much intrigue and drama, but unfortunately no happy ending. The bottom line was that they were all in sad, sad shape and declared BER. I disengaged once informed that contracts were being negotiated for disposal.

  7. Don:

    Fred and I flew together all over Europe, Africa, the Middle East and during several extended stays down in Angola, back in the 70s, for TIA. Just an awesome individual and supurb pilot.

    Fred was big on investing in real estate and owned rental properties in some of the worst locations throughout Oakland. His business card stated: Fred Kreppein, Commercial Pilot/Slum Lord.

    I was furloughed from TIA in about 78, but Fred and I managed to stay in touch with each other. I was living in London in 79 when he called me up one day and asked if I was interested in a gig; but he wasn't permitted to tell me anything about it. He gave me an address near Barkley Square and off I went in a cab. I knocked on the door of a non-descript house and was greeted and welcomed in by a very non-descipt gentleman. Over the course of the next hour I went through probably one of the strangest job interviews that I've ever experienced.

    I was provided with the following info: C-130 operations in N. Africa, one year contract (extendable), top class living conditions, big money. At the conclusion I was told that the aircraft were being acquired, I had the job and I would be contacted soon, so be ready to go ASAP.

    Fred called the next day to congratulate and said he'd keep me posted.

    Well nothing happened because the aircraft in question were the infamous Billy Carter H-models that Libya had purchased from LM and that ultimately rotted away in the GA humidity for the next 35 years, before being scrapped last year.

    However..... about 6 months later Fred called again and wanted to know if I was interested in joining him down in Libya, flying for Libyan Arab Airways. They'd managed to get their hands on some ex-Canadian L-100s, that had been purchased covertly through Luxemburgh. Unfortunately, I'd already gotten myself employed and married, so I reluctently had to turn him down.

    Fast forward to when the US Navy drew the Line of Death off the coast of Libya, just prior to Ronny Raygun sending in the 111s and carrier aircraft. Fred called me up in the middle of the night to let me know that he was safely out of Libya and headed back to CA. When I asked him how it was going and asked if he was going to go back to Libya he told me that he'd done some crazy things with a Herk during his career, but going up against a Tomcat with one just wasn't going to happen; so not just no, but hell no.

    That was the last time I spoke to him.

    RIP Old Friend.

  8. The turnbuckle incident was back in 75/76. It was a LM from Dyess, who I went through LM school at Sheppard with in 74. Can't remember his name, but he was in the class ahead of mine.

    He went out to fly a local CDS and during preflight had difficulty adjusting the turnbuckle and subsequently dipped it in some hydraulic oil. This was prior to, but ultimately led to cotter pins being installed, so during the mission the vibrations caused the turnbuckle to slowly unwind/loosen. He unfortunately choose to connect his harness to the anchor cable, in order to facilitate an easier transition back to snag the static line after the drop (in fairness it was considered an acceptable "technique" at that time.

    Well at Green Light the Load, the cable and the Load all departed the aircraft.

    The A-frame story was prior to 74, because it was used over and over by our Sq. airdrop instructors (prior to the full-blown, formal schoolhouse for all set-up; back then only the Herk guys going overseas went to the RTU and those staying Stateside were trained locally) to reinforce why we should wear our crash hats.

    Phil Zurcher, A.K.A. Magnum G.I. (A1C who within several days of arriving @ RMAB turns up on base driving a brand new Ferrari he'd purchased down in Munich, exactly like the one on the TV show.... but that's another story) was down in Morocco in about 85/86 dropping Moroccan grunts. One went out, his static line failed to activate his main, he was being towed, he panicked and pulled his reserve. Well when it deployed it severed the anchor cable and pulled the A-frame out of the ceiling. Luckily Phil had positioned himself on the ramp, aft of the A-frame and slightly away from the cable, but still at some point during the process of destruction, the severed cable whipped around, cut a deep gouge down the top and front of Phil's helmet and would have taken out his eye if he hadn't had his visor down.

    Oh and obviously the Moroccan jumper didn't survive the sudden stop.

  9. When I was with Evergreen Int. back in the early 80s, our DC-9-30s had attachments for ATO bottles. Never spoke with any of our crews that had actually made an ATO in the 9, but then again you never knew with that company. The 9 was right rickey tick on take-off so it must have been an amazing ride with bottles going.

  10. I was with 7th SOS/352nd SOG @ Alconbury, as the Ops. Sup for the AD Flight. We had just made the conversion over to the MC-130H Talon II when the 37th started getting hot and heavy into airdrop over Bosnia and we were sent to Rhein-Main to augment. However, upon arrival the press made a big deal that AFSOC was in the house and that covert missions delivering arms would be commencing shortly. Since no other Herc looks quite like a TII, the powers that be didn't want to deal with the aggrevation and speculation about what we were/weren't doing every time we taxied out, so we weren't permitted to fly any of the out-country missions.

    We (LMs) did fly with the 37th crews on missions into Bosnia and we also developed and conducted flight test of the TRIADS humanitarian food distro system, from a TII at Graf. The first mission into Bosnia was flown onboard 3, 37th Slicks and it went spectacularly well, with one exception. During the development drops, we never went with a full load of MRE packets in the tri-wall containers, because of the difficulty in policing them up on the DZ. For the actual drops the boxes were loaded up to their maximum capacity. I nearly soiled myself at the Combat Entry when we de-pressurized @ 16K and all the meal packets inflated, swelled the boxes to near bursting and began to spill out. Myself and RG were running around the back end (which is damn difficult in body armor, survival vest, helmet, parachute and dragging a hose) trying to scoop them up and out of the way in order to keep them from causing a malfunction when we reached Green Light. You forget one little thing....

    Another story... the 37th had just made the switch from the S&W 38s, to the 9mm. However, Life Support hadn't had the time to convert the holsters in the survival vests. So the boys really had a difficult time getting Baretta's securely into the holster. Anyway, on one of the first CDS missions, the LM went back on the ramp and was struggling to retrieve the static lines back into the aircraft, when his pistol came out of the holster and went overboard. The same thing was repeated by another LM the next night. After the mission, during the de-brief, the entire formation was treated to a rip roaring, ass chewing by the Wing King (Gen. Lorranger), who stated that the next LM who lost his weapon over Bosnia had just better bail the F out after it, because his life wouldn't be worth spit back at RM.

  11. There's a big difference between the mission of a military Herc and a commercial Herc. First of all you don't move pallets with an L-100. Not cost effective at all. The majority of customers in the commercial world are freight forwarders and they want their stuff moved as cheaply as possible. Which means belly freight on pax birds and we're talking pennies to move pounds. Blade time on a commercial Herc is going to cost anywhere from $8K per hour (which is dirt cheap) on up. The more specialized the load, the more remote the location, the more you can charge. But at the end of the day it all come down to economics.

    You can bet your boots that if there was a huge untapped market out there and a ton of money to be made, the Marietta Mafia would be all over it and cranking out L-100Js night and day, 7 days a week.

  12. Bob they're probably only worth the price of scrap. They've been rode hard and put away wet for too many years and the owners made sure they squeezed out every last drop of goodness from those birds. SafAir did likewise. No much doubt that Lynden will end up being the last man standing (soon) in terms of a true "commercial" Herk operator.

  13. When LM produced the L-100 back in the 60s, there was a huge market for it in oil field exploration/constuction projects and other such programs that required large amounts of equipment being hauled into very remote locations, that had minimal material handling equipment (MHE). Flash forward to 2013 and that market isn't nearly as large, the world is a lot smaller place and the availability of outsize airlift by low cost, Eastern bloc aircraft and crews has turned the once mighty commercial Herc into a niche product. There are fewer remote areas in the world and there are more airports, roads and infrastructure out in the wilderness. Not to mention that the price of a Herc today is not exactly what you would call a bargain.

    Back in the 70s LM floated the concept of the L-100-50 (10 pallet positions and 1 on the ramp), but even back then the handwriting was on the wall. It's too bad because I'd love to see a commercial revival and companies similar to Alaska International, Saturn, TIA, NW Territories, Pacific Western, etc. start flying again.

  14. DC-10FE refered to the older brother of A1C Sekula as "Paul", but his name is actually John. We were stationed together in the 62nd when this happened. John had not long been transferred in from Dyess when the crash occurred. I'd heard that he's still at LRAFB working Civil Service in CE.

  15. I found this book to be unrealistic, and definately written to portray the Os as the wonder boys, while the Es were just there in a supporting role and their primary purpose was to make the Os look good. Oh wait..... I forgot that is reality. Also from a technical perspective what went on in the back of the aircraft was very weak. It was obvious that the author had not consulted with a LM and had based his knowledge on information gained from someone who thought they knew all about being a LM...... oh yeah that would be an O.

  16. 150 KIAS has always been the "cleared to open" magic number in the slick world. Talons did/do have the chines modified (beefed up) and have buffer boards installed so you could drop HSLADS (250 @ 250).

    When we initiated the airdrop cert. program for the J-30, the guys with the 40 lb brains @ LMCO (injineers) stated that the Super Herc would be able to conduct drops @ 250 KIAS. The response from the experienced operators was "where's the beef?". There are no modifications/improvements to the ramp and door, nor anything different about the chines etc. than a standard E/H. Those that have done HSLADS in either a T1, or T2 know that the old girl wags her tail with enthusiasm when smoking through the weeds, at 250.

    Needless to say we didn't conduct any high speed airdrop testing during the 2001 - 2003 initial airdrop certification testing of the J-30. Obviously since that time there must have been further analysis done to validate an increase in the max. airdrop airspeed, or modifications made to the aircraft.

  17. I'm considering the purchase of a GPS unit for my motorcycle and wondered if anyone was aware of any C-130 icons that can be downloaded. When you go on to the Garmin website they have multiple types of icons available, including some aviation-related ones (Spitfire, X-Wing fighter, and other generic "aircraft". I'm hoping that someone has created one for the 4-fan, trash can.

  18. There was an article from a DFW newspaper, written several weeks ago, which was posted in the Early Bird discussing the move of the TANG Hercs up to Great Falls. Apparently (according to the article) prior to the move hangers and other buildings would have to be constructed before aircraft could be sent up and bedded down. Also, the AF did not intend to transfer crews, so new ones would have to be trained up. WTF! Again according to the article, the cost of this move would equate to keeping 2 Army Brigades functioning in garrison for 10 years. Good thing the AF is trying not to waste money.

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