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Value of a Ground Engineer

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Value of a Ground Engineer

Old 12th Jan 2013, 19:03
  #1 (permalink)  
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Smile Value of a Ground Engineer

I know, it sounds like 'touting for a back slap', but, I know that there are lots of pilots/ nabs/ aircrew who, like me, have left the service and a a vast resource of wisdom regarding RAF development over the years. I've read lots of posts regarding crews ( including navigators) mucking in and doing prop changes etc "down route" in years gone by, but as a bloke who did over 5000 hours "hammock time" on the Hercules fleet in the 80/90s, I would be interested to hear if Ground Engineers were really a welcome addition to the route, or did they create a problem in any way ? I'm sure there's a good story or two out there, and I can certainly proffer a few of my own experiences. Of course I would include the chaps who started it all, the Crew Chiefs of the V force. I'm a new poster so please be gentle, I'm only a bloke with a hammock!!
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 10:23
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Along with the svc(s) they were absolutely vital; not only work wise but socially too. I now count many many GEs as personal friends and keep in touch fairly regularly. Along with the vast majority of homebase engineering support, the GE's exemplified utter professionalism. The downtime stories, however, achieved almost legendary status worthy of going into print. Generally larger than life characters that made the job enjoyable. Enough sunshine blowing.

Regards to all
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 11:57
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I would say about a Pound and Sixpence.
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 11:57
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Always useful if you forget to take the chocks or if you need the safe working load of a set of servicing steps tested to their limit
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 12:18
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As I tell them on a regular basis, I consider GEs as a whole to be the most professional, experienced and capable guys and gals. Without a doubt they are the hardest partying and hardest working group who should serve as an inspiration to the younger trades.

It's always 'Jobsdone' rather than 'Jobsworth'.

I even forgive them for the minor transgressions that occasionally occur down-route.

Frankly they are wizards with magic spanners.

---End of Sunshine Rant---
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Old 13th Jan 2013, 16:40
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There are one or two notable exceptions to that assertion, but we all knew who they were. RE, BH & TAPS to 'name' but some.

Mind you, it WAS the exception that proved the rule, the GEs and SVC were first class and I, for one, was most happy that they were there. Kept my gloves a lot cleaner too!!
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 20:19
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I have very fond memories of time away with GEs, including a fairly long jaunt to Malaysia with one 'Smudge" Smith who sported a sunbathing green turtle badge on his flying suit.

Every GE I flew with was tremendous value for money and a welcome part of the crew - some have become route legends when recalling 'epics'.

Good to see you are still knocking around Smudge!
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 20:31
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Hmm, Smudge 'falling out of hammock' Smith on Malaysia trip..? Had to crack the DFs for medicinal purposes....?
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 20:40
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More memories to contemplate. Keep well Mal !!! You may remember the pink hat better than the turtle ! I never fell out of an "ammock" in my life Isaneng. But may have left that impression I apologise to professional flyers for interrupting any flow on Fast jets etc, in actual fact some of my happiest memories of my time in the RAF concern 56 Squadron in Cyprus and Q-A- VUL !!!

Last edited by smujsmith; 17th Jan 2013 at 20:49.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 22:22
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Ground Engineers (and Mechs and Fitters) were a godsend if you needed a double engine change in the middle of Africa - at Entebbe actually - as seen here with screen-grabs from my cine camera dated April 1960, 53-years ago!.

Chief Tech in charge of the ground crew named Ben Mansley (I think).

Last edited by Warmtoast; 17th Jan 2013 at 22:23.
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Old 17th Jan 2013, 22:31
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Always useful to take on the other's ugly fat mate...
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 07:59
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Warmtoast any chance that your cine film will be on YouTube any time soon? Looks fascinating....
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 08:43
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A Ground Engineer was absolutely crucial to determining the likelihood of whether a slight weep from the Gitz seal on #1 was really worth an engine change in Nassau...
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 08:51
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Problem for many V-force crew chiefs was they were the only non-commissioned crew man. On landing the CC would be just that with the crew providing the semi-skilled labour. On some trips to unsupported bases we used to take two.

Even on supported bases support could be pretty flaky. At Akrotiri (Canberra days) our CC got help from ex-V-force mates in the mess but even so we got involved in removing tail cones, pulling jet pipes to get at fire tec boxes. Made a nonsense of the servicing certificates and I'm fairy not engines.

Once at Offutt, despite it being a supported base, we had a really sooty flown out. Never forget his name. I can just imagining the recruiting sergeant marking his card as he left the office - 'Right, Hammer, ideal for engines.'
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 10:44
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The Belfast was probably the best example of an aeroplane that needed a permanent GE on board!
In HeavyLift days, when we were going somewhere really outlandish, we would often take Mike McKeever. He was the most all-round experienced GE I ever flew with; nothing ever fazed him and he always came up with a solution!
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 11:04
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I'd suggest that todays crop of GE's on the Tristar and VC10 fleet can hold their heads up with the best.

Nursing very aged fleets, their engineering decisions don't only encompass the possibility that the weep will become a nasty leak before the next landing, but there's also a guy upstairs with limbs missing who REALLY needs to get home tonight...
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 18:53
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GE's - Many Brilliant Mates

I spent 14 years on C130 then 6 years on VC10 working with GEs.

I have many happy memories of flying with, working with and socialising with true professionals who kept some ageing aircraft flying so that we could do a job.

I will never forget the excitement of Mick Libby finding a cowboy outfit shop in Nashville - the cowboy boots and stetson looked great with his flying suit

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Old 18th Jan 2013, 19:32
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Mick Libby, now there's a name to conjure with. Great bloke, outlandish personality, and, failed flight engineer no less. But he encapsulated everything a GE could hope to be.
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 19:35
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I do remember on C130's at the end of a week det to Pau in the 70's, that's in France for those who don't know. The GE wanted to put the aircraft tech for a hydraulic leak from the rudder booster pack, it only leaked when the flaps were extended. The captain said to him "I put the aircraft unserviceable, you're here to fix it, we're going home". Exit GE with tail between his legs, he did try to drop the captain in it when back at base but he got no support! We did, in those days, have a good few GE's with a time lock on their wallet! Where is the three Irish GE's, Paddy, Mac and Ernie. The "is" is intentional, as those in the know will understand!
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Old 19th Jan 2013, 14:43
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Smuj , I have many happy memories of the GE's during my time on Albert, so many potential "red top" scandal headlines if the truth ever came out from those days. I just wonder if your mother ever flew on one of the families day trips we used to do in those happier times?
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