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Global Aviation Magazine : 60 Years of the Hercules

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Global Aviation Magazine : 60 Years of the Hercules

Old 20th Jun 2015, 17:57
  #3281 (permalink)  
 
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Albert and Kilogrammes

I am sorry to be the debunker of some good conspiracy theories but the Movers had nothing whatsoever to do with Albert adopting metric weights. I was ATAAR Pol2 in MoD between June '93 and January '97. You may recall that this was the period of 'real' corporate and government enthusiasm for all things metric and only shortly before it became illegal for traders to sell in lbs.

At the time all the real tanker aircraft VC10 and Tristar K1 & KC1, used metric weights whilst Albert (including the tankers) and the passenger VC10s used imperial weights (lbs). There had already been a load of pallets transferred from a KC1 to Albert in which the unit of weight was not shown and what was loaded as weighing in lbs was in fact Kgs. However, that was not a direct driver of the change, just an additional justification.

Towards the end of my time in MoD both the VC10 and Albert support authorities were planning to instal new fuel gauging systems in the aircraft as the old ones were obsolete and becoming increasingly unsupportable. We (MoD) took the view that there was no point in avoiding the issue and then subsequently being ordered to convert later which very much seemed to be the way things were moving. We, therefore, decided to make the change with the fuel gauges.

The consensus then was that a big bang change would, in reality, be best and out of that idea came the metric fuel quantity stickers supposedly to complete the transfer overnight.

The only demurrals we had at the planning stage was from the AD trials and clearances team at A&AEE (Boscombe Down) who said it would be all too difficult to calculate the new weights. To force them our way I went through the AD RTS, converting every figure and then listing them giving chapter and paragraph reference, weight in lbs, weight in Kgs (to 4 decimal places) and suggested operating weight in (reasonably) round figures. Thank you very much they said and the rest was history.

Some time not very much later ATAAR earned its only ever brownie points from ACAS when being compared with the other forces, especially FJ. the edict had gone out to start the planning to change all aircraft weights to Kgs but most were dragging their feet and reporting no progress. ACAS was heard to says etching along the lines of look at the truckies who are just getting on and doing it.

At this stage, I can say I am sorry but I was hoist by my own petard as I briefly came back as a Reservist and had to learn all the new figures myself.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 18:50
  #3282 (permalink)  
 
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Xercules,

What a cracking post, and perhaps explains previous querulous mention of why metricise! Whilst most can converse in shillings and pence, as well as dollars and cents, I well remember some of the consequences of applying EU measures to UK aircraft engineering. ISTR a young Airframe mechanic at Cottesmore, being detailed to check, and top up the nose wheel tyre pressure on an MRCA aircraft. His belief that he was serving in the "British" Royal Air Force didn't help him as he took the newly labelled tyre inflation kit out to the aircraft. The Tech manual called for a tyre pressure in PSI, the inflation kit had a gauge, newly changed to show Bars. You all know what's coming, the nose wheel blew, and a near disaster was only just averted. 55 bars is a lot of PSIs. As I said in an earlier post, I reckon I might struggle with Kilos, Litres, Bars etc, I still have an understanding of how pounds, shillings and pence work, I still weigh myself in pounds and ounces and know for a fact that the wingspan of Albert is 132 Feet and 7 inches, and that its propellor diameter is 13 feet 6 inches. Should I ever have a need to know what our continental friends believe the dimensions are, I have the interweb to help. Philistine, Dinosaur, not sure which fits me best, but like many, I enjoy a pint of real ale, rather than a litre of lager.

Smudge
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 19:37
  #3283 (permalink)  
 
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Fuel gauges

Towards the end of my time in MoD both the VC10 and Albert support authorities were planning to instal new fuel gauging systems in the aircraft as the old ones were obsolete and becoming increasingly unsupportable.
How does applying some cheap, pound shop gauge overlays magically improve the supportability?
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 19:37
  #3284 (permalink)  
 
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Wink A further Kg anomaly

Whilst we were undergoing the Kg saga, some mumpty suggested that if we were to weigh in Kgs we had to change the linear units as well because, otherwise, all the trim sheets would be wrong.

To that we said "why?" To which the reply was that you cannot mix Kgs and feet and inches. We said "why not? And so the Kginch was born.

In any case, if memory serves, the trim sheet was unit less and just a graphical representation.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 19:43
  #3285 (permalink)  
 
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The "cheap pound shop gauge overlays" was meant to be an interim measure only applied once the first aircraft with the actual mod came into use. You surely are aware that a whole fleet fitting would take a fair length of time.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 22:13
  #3286 (permalink)  
 
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Hi Xercules, I don't think your kg. inches was invented in 97. I first came across them on the Chinook in 81. It took me a while to get my head round it particularly since the datum was way out in front.


I share your frustration with those who provided the AD RTS (I don't think we ever called it that!) when I looked after said document a few years after your time, there was certainly tables with both kgs and lbs in brackets in most of the Hercules chapters. Certainly the min and max dropping speeds at various aircraft weights to preserve the stall margins and suspended loads for parachutes.


Then someone suggested metricating the breaking strains of all the cord and wire we used. - It was not me! Honest.

Last edited by dragartist; 21st Jun 2015 at 09:21. Reason: Braking into a sweat - it was late!
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 22:45
  #3287 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by smujsmith View Post
Doug,

I had the same story from a GE who was on that trip. It appears that no one checked the weight of the box related to a box, plus windscreen! No doubt, it wasn't the first "faux pas", committed by Lynehams supply system. Another "fellow GE" related their breakdown somewhere in Africa, with a seriously leaking flap hydraulic pipe that could not be fixed "on site". A request for the spare was placed, which duly arrived, courtesy of BA. Now, nothing to do directly with BA but I understand, but that they had a length limit of 2 Mtrs (whatever that is) on packages in their hold, the new pipe was around 14 feet long (a bit too long) so, the stackers bent it in half to conform to shipping limitations. you can imagine the reaction of the AGE on receipt of the bent pipe. Funnily enough, a passing VC10 dropped off an unbent version of the pipe within 24 hours.


Smudge
They AOG shipped a replacement Genny out to us in NI for a Wessex, unfortunately the stacker dropped it smashing it to bits, however he really did a fantastic job packing the bits and shipping them to us.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 23:15
  #3288 (permalink)  
 
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Nutty,

Sounds about par for the course mate! On leaving the GE job, I ended up as team manager on one of Lynehams second line teams in AES. To keep my ground running chit valid, and because I liked to "keep my hand in", I often put in some long days as we put Albert back together and prepped for Air test. It was around 2200 hrs one evening, as we tried to put Albert back in the hangar, after a 14 hour day I hasten to add, that I missed the fact that while we had been out on Bay 28 beasting the donks, the team had done a Hangar sweep (under the supervision of our Flight Commander) and moved the main jacks, that usually occupied one spot only in the hangar. No excuses, In supervising the move I managed to stoof the RH External in to the repositioned Jack. Nasty hole in external, looks like I'm going to get to meet the Squadron Commander tomorrow. Anyway, we are only half knackered so I ring the duty storeman and ask him to supply us with a replacement external tank, sorry chief he says, we don't keep them here, they are all at RAF Stafford. Having driven in to work that very morning, past the building he was sitting in, I queried the 4 external tanks that had been there as I passed by. No chief, you must be wrong, my computer says we have none of those items on station. OK says I, I will meet you outside your building in 5 minutes, and we can discuss it.

It was a long night, however simple it might look, an external tank replacement is not a 5 minute job. Luckily, my lads had the spirit that used to exude from Lynehams personnel when a job needed doing. The Aircraft flew successfully on air test the next day and was handed back to the line, I had my one way interview with the boss, and stores acquired 3 serviceable, and one unserviceable external tanks. The worst part of it all was informing my Flight Commander that in future, when organising a hangar clean up, to work around the main jacks, and not move them

I'm sure there's many more such stories in the "supply chain".

Smudge
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 03:02
  #3289 (permalink)  
 
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Smudge


'Ow many would you like?


C-130 Long Range Fuel Tank


Auctions


BTW want a garden shed?


C-130K Cockpit Assembly (XV221)
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 05:50
  #3290 (permalink)  
 
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Dragartist, I apologise for claiming an invention that was not mine. The Chinook was not alone in its datum as the Herc datum was some way out front of the Ircraft. I am sure AA62 could tell us where exactly.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 06:02
  #3291 (permalink)  
 
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Broken External Fuel Tanks

One day I was in Stn Ops when SLOPS and his Engineering counterpart were discussing external tanks. The problem was that one of the tankers in Ascension had a U/S one and how did we get a spare to it.

Apparently we had no means of air transportation for them. I suggested that we did but that they had overlooked it. "What was it?" They asked.

"We hang them under the wing and use one off the next freighter through ASI." I left them considering this novel solution but do not know the outcome. It would, of course, meant that the freighter then "transporting" the U/S tank would have had to stage somewhere between Dakar and LYE for extra fuel.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 07:34
  #3292 (permalink)  
 
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Xerc, the datum was 30.4inches in front of the nose. I really must find something better to think about at this time of the day.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 09:01
  #3293 (permalink)  
 
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30.4 in......

.......or, especially for Xerc: 77.22cm
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 09:06
  #3294 (permalink)  
 
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Smuj

My off-spring are always raising their eyes to the skies when I rant at the BBC wx giving temperatures in C not F, and constant reference to distances in kms not miles, my favourite scream at the TV being 'We haven't gone f**king metric here in UK'.

"Come on Dad, get with it " they cry. "OK " I say, then to No1 son," How tall are you and what do you weigh?".

" 6ft 4 and 14 stone ' he replies.

"I rest my case " I say with a smirk.

Herc' reference point:-

Doesn't bulkhead 245 have something to do with it?
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 09:14
  #3295 (permalink)  
 
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Does anyone know why the datums were so far out in front of the nose ?
The only explanation I ever heard for the Herc was to allow for the soon to be fitted (to the prototype) CCWR !
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 09:17
  #3296 (permalink)  
 
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A story already recounted but ..............
U/S in Dulles with captains ASI. First parcel that arrived was empty, second contained a clock ! Much merriment from crew and more beer chits.
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 09:34
  #3297 (permalink)  
 
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Datum:- I figure it is just a point in space to take measurements from. There is most likely a face on a jig from which all the other jigs are placed to get the frames in the right place.


I may not be altogether correct but in English aircraft Frame one may have been the first frame onto which the cloud and clunk was bolted. Before cloud and clunk it was just a nose cone.


Frame 245 was not the two hundred and forty fifth frame from the front. It was 245 inches from the datum.


Common language in the Airdrop world was Tie Down Row (TDR) it amazed me how people could convert from Mk1s to Mk3s. TDRs were on a 20" pitch
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 10:18
  #3298 (permalink)  
 
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A/C measurements

A/c are measured in 3D. As others have said, nose to tail is defined by Flight Stations (FS) and the datum is decided by the manufacturer and is typically forward of the actual nose.

Height is defined by Water Lines (WL) and measured from a distance below the actual bottom of the tyres......perhaps with the a/c on jacks.

Width/Span is in Buttock Lines (BL) and measured from the centre line. Wings have their own Wing Stations (WS)

So, I could walk up to Smudge and tell him that there was some damage at FS323/WL70/BL42........and he would know EXACTLY where to go.
Wouldn't you Smudge

And, as AA62 would be able to tell you, the Centre of Gravity (CofG) is measured as a percentage of the Mean Aerodynamic Chord (MAC). The MAC has its own forward datum called Leading Edge of Mean Aerodynamic Chord (LEMAC) and measurements are taken from there.

For those of you who have managed to remain awake this far .......thank you!
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 16:51
  #3299 (permalink)  
 
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It's been a long time Kilwhang, but somewhere in the region of No 3 engine would be my current guess. Should I prove to be wrong, I will go with whatever your answer is, at my age , the quiet life is always the best option. "Ik wed dat ik verkeerd ben, maar het is altijd een lach" Hang on, maybe the booster system reservoir might be the problem, it's inches not feet after all. Or I might say, What's the problem Eng !!!!!

Smudge
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Old 21st Jun 2015, 17:16
  #3300 (permalink)  
 
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I was told the Index was based upon a probe that was fitted to the prototype/s (not the size of, but similar to Snoopy) in order to measure undisturbed air etc.
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