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Things you probably wouldn’t want to see your pilot doing ...
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, August 09, 2008

We showed up on the flight deck yesterday at the appointed time, 1015, only to be told our flight going to Miami wasn't leaving until 1200. We're flying a UH-60.

Eh, we're there, not hungry and its a beautiful day so we decide to hang out there, sit in the ragged chairs and view the proceedings. We joked about being on the "Ledo" deck and waiting for our waiter to come along and serve drinks. Later it became more imperative I find the head.

In the meantime, our bird is sitting right in front of us. Flight deck personnel are out there doing their thing and everything looks pretty good.


So we and the other passengers engage in what most folks do when waiting, we told lies. OK, not lies, but "war stories".

And while this is going on, I glance out toward the bird and what do I see?


Well, something I normally wouldn't want to see the pilot of my aircraft doing - especially when it's about to take off from the deck of a ship at sea and go over the deep blue for about 50 miles.

I mean think about it - you're standing on the concourse, sipping your latte getting ready to board your flight to Las Vegas and you notice the pilot crawling into the cowling of the right engine with a wrench. How eager are you to hop on that little puppy then?

Anyway, I watch him for a few minutes, he finishes whatever he's messing with up there and climbs down. I think about it a minute. He's up there doing something which makes me nervous, but he's willing to get into the helicopter and fly it off the deck, so how bad could it really be?

Uh, bad. You know, he might be wrong. It's happened before.

But here I am typing this and telling the "war story" - obviously nothing went wrong.

Just wait till I tell it the next time though.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I’m assumin’ this photo was taken after you saw him on the engine cowling, ’cause he’s checkin’ something in the tail rotor drivetrain in that pic... no engine back there.
Helicopters are less and less maintenance intensive these days, but still require a bunch of "wrench twisting" per hour to keep ’em airborne. Your comment about him being willing to climb into the machine and fly it was spot on...
When I transitioned from Charley model UH-1 gunships to Cobras in Viet Nam, one of the main things that bothered me was taking off while the crew chief stood smiling on the ground. I preferred it when I knew he was confident enough (and there were four seats rather than two) so he could take off with me.

That Blackhawk is a damn fine bird, isn’t it?
Written By: Greybeard
Very nice, Greybeard. The 60s are usually their SAR birds and they use them for long-range medevac.

One of the peculiarities of taking off from the deck of a ship - or at least this ship - is they keep the bird chained down while we load. Then when everyone is aboard and ready to go, flight check is done and rpms are up, the flight deck crew comes out and pulls the chains.

Oh, and he wasn’t up near the engine - I was trying for a civilian analogy (thus the latte and Las Vegas).

Landed in a thunderstorm, but still completely enjoyed the ride. Got to see Miami from a unique perspective as we came in.
Written By: McQ
Not the pilot...
Written By: Dave
URL: http://
Uh, no - the pilot. Trust me I watched him after he climbed down and I know exactly who he was.
Written By: McQ
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