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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 5th Feb 2016, 16:48
  #4121 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
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AA62,

I'll try and answer your question about 'dodgy fuel' and, if any of my facts are wrong, I'm sure that someone will enlighten me

Earlier in the thread, Smuj said that he worked on fuel tank corrosion at Colerne in the late '60s. Fuel and oil are hygroscopic and there has always been a small quantity of water present in fuel tanks. If there is a lot of water present, it forms large 'slugs' which sit at the bottom of the fuel tank.

The corrosion came about because of a micro-organism called Cladosporium Resinae (CR) which lives on the thin layer between water and fuel. The larger the water 'slug' the more CR is present. The secret is to keep the water dispersed throughout the fuel. In more modern fuel systems, this is achieved by having a jet pump installed at the bottom of the tank which, continually, mixes water and fuel.

The 'Water Fuel Check' carried out after re-fuelling is meant to detect any water present - but it is far from fool-proof - particularly in some of the parts of the world where we found ourselves. It was not unknown for the bowser driver to have a 'good' Fuel Check Disc to show to the crews. He may have had it for weeks.

The addition of Fuel System Icing Inhibitor (FSII) came about after one particular incident, which I'm sure a few of you remember.........
In the mid-70s, during the Belize Trouble, we spent a lot of our time operating in and out of Nassau (happy days). Back then, Nassau was a bit of a Sleepy Hollow and we used an awful lot of their fuel - we found out later that one of their underground fuel tanks had a crack and water was getting in.

A crew from, either, 30 or 24 were on their way back to Lyneham from Nassau. Unbeknown to them, they had picked up a LOT of water during the refuel in Nassau. The engine fuel filters started to ice up but it was masked by the Ext/Aux high pressure pumps. When they transferred to the main tanks, the lower pressure couldn't cope with the ice. If I remember correctly, 2 engines ran down and a 3rd had low power.
They turned left towards Newfoundland and, of course, descended. In the descent, as they reached warmer air, the ice started to melt and I think they got 2 of the 'dead' engines back. The Engineer was Mike B---e and, if he is on the forum, he might be able to tell the full story.
After landing, some ice was found in one of the fuel filters. As a result, the 'Powers That Be' decided we needed FSII.

The FSII was to stop the WATER freezing and the fuel filters clogging. It, also, helped stop the formation of water slugs which, in turn, helped inhibit corrosion.

I'm sure you remember the 'high tech' equipment they sent to Nassau to enable the FSII to be added to the fuel; a hand pump and 45 gall drums of the inhibitor!

The usual the 'it was 40 years ago' memory proviso is attached to this post
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Old 5th Feb 2016, 17:20
  #4122 (permalink)  
 
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Lockheed Service News Vol 2 No 2 page 10 had an article on "microbial growth", and Vol 10 No 3 page 8 had a large article on "Chemical Control of Fuel Tank Infestation" which covers the matter at great length, but regarding FSII this bit is relevant ..

"Added to turbine fuel, MIL-I-27686 does indeed reduce the hazards of icing in aircraft fuel systems. But it can do other useful things as well. MIL-I-27686 acts to depress the flash points of such volatile fuels as JP-4, and it also kills the microorganisms that can cause corrosion of aircraft structure and blockage of fuel systems."

The other part relevant to our Herks was the addition of "Strontium Chromate" cartridges to the fuel tanks to also kill off the bugs ..


Last edited by OmegaV6; 5th Feb 2016 at 17:27. Reason: smelling pistakes
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Old 5th Feb 2016, 19:17
  #4123 (permalink)  
 
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Kilwhang,

As always a concise and accurate description of the problem I saw as a young lad. I was at Colerne 72/3 when the Corrosion Control Team was formed. We had three shifts which allowed us to cover 7 day, 24 hour support in the quest to inspect and repair corrosion damaged lower wing planks. Though, I would argue that the corrosion problem did not necessarily result from water and Cladosporium Resinae (CR) in the fuel. I offer this as an example of why I believe that to be. Behind each engine, and below the dry bay, a titanium heat shield was fitted, to shield the aluminium skin from the hot jet efflux. After many inspections, and subsequent blending of the corrosion found within the tanks, we noticed that as we blended out the corrosion the area increased, and believed that the corrosion was not beginning on the surface of the wing planks, but within the material itself, and only being found as it "broke surface". As a result of that, we were tasked, on top of fuel tank inspection, to remove the plenum chamber from behind the engines, the heat shield and then inspect the skin under the dry bay. We found many examples of the same corrosion in those locations, including the head of an air grinder disappearing into the dry bay when attempting to blend a small patch of corrosion. The skin was simply rotten.

I believe that after I joined you at Akrotiri in late 73 a decision was made to replace the outer mainplanes, on the basis that the material used on the original wings was of sub standard quality. I certainly remember the strontium chromate cartridges being in the tanks in the 72/3 time frame so obviously attempts to counter the CR were well underway back then. I think that back then, all of us "tank rats" believed that the corrosion emanated from within the material, and not as penetration from surface corrosion. Hope that helps, I'm sure someone will have the "big picture".

Smudge
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 07:29
  #4124 (permalink)  
 
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Kilwhang,
thank you for the informative reply. I do recall the Kelson (?) pump and the drums of FSII that had to be carried and the way the FSII had to be pumped up to be blended into the fuel vial the overwing refuelling ports. As I recall the Eng used to the blending whilst the Loadmaster operated the pump.
FSII was on the restricted list in the DAC book !
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 07:32
  #4125 (permalink)  
 
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OmegaV6,
what date was this article in the Lockheed bulletin ? I always understod that this problem was known before we bought our 66 in 66.
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 10:52
  #4126 (permalink)  
 
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AA, Vol 2 of Service News was published in April 1975 ... the opening line of the article may give some hint of how long the problem has been in the "public eye" .. but probably known about before then !!

"Fuel tank corrosion and contamination by microorganisms has been reported many times over the past fifteen years."

That takes us back to 1960 at least !!


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Old 6th Feb 2016, 11:57
  #4127 (permalink)  
 
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OmegaV6,
so 'what did they (MOD) know and when did they know it ?'
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 11:58
  #4128 (permalink)  
 
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The first C130 flew in August 1954. The USAF had 13 years of operating the Herk before we received our first aircraft. The problem could not have been unique to our a/c. I wonder what the USAF experience was?

I remember the story going around that the MOD were too mean to purchase FS11 and therefore paid the price.
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 16:24
  #4129 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for that Smudge.
I remember the article mentioned by V6; copies were sent to all crew members after the engine flameout incident.

I was under the impression that the Cladosporium had affected ALL the tanks and I remember pictures of the internal damage. I wonder if we are talking about two separate problems here: substandard metal and the dreaded CR.

Whatever, it took a lot of man-hours to put right.....and I don't envy you your time as a 'tank rat'.
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Old 6th Feb 2016, 20:03
  #4130 (permalink)  
 
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Kilwhang,

Back in the day, being employed as a "tank rat" came with the bonus of MIS04 (Pay for work of an objectionable nature). Curiously, the many layers of skin I lost from fuel burns paled to insignificance when later I was payed the same allowance every day I was "down route" as the A/F schedule required the Elsan was "revived" I have no doubt that those of us who ground out the corrosion were convinced that it originated from within the material. Particularly when we found the same problem in the lower planking of the dry bays. Here's one for your memory, and I admit I can't be sure, did the externals have the strontium cartridges fitted ? My suspicion is that they did not, and that because the material quality was of a higher standard, and obviously, externals were rarely used, except when the Falklands came along. I offer something of a tragedy from Circa 1972 ;

An engineering disaster had occurred at mighty Lyneham field. Some numpty had been doing some pressure tests on the wing tanks on an Albert. Having completed the tests, the aircraft was taken outside for refuelling. Our hero failed to remove the vent Bungs which allowed the tanks to be pressurised (with me yet ?). Bowser starts pumping, slow rate of fuel flow, bowser driver revs up and bang goes a large section of lower wing plank. Corrosion ? No, he left the blanks in. So, Colerne are detailed to supply an outer wing for the aircraft from the last aircraft we received for service (longest recovery from the rob). Duly done, with many hours of overtime, we were pleased to send the wing to our mates at Lyneham on a "queen Mary"? Imagine our dismay when we were informed that it had been written off in a collision with a cement mixer lorry on the roundabout in Lyneham village. I can find no reference to the event on the web, so cannot substantiate my memory. I do know that my proposed deployment from Colerne to Lyneham, to fit the replacement outer wing, was cancelled for some strange reason.

I'm damn sure that Albert has provided many similar incidents during its long time in RAF service. I bet Gopher01 has a few worthy tales, particularly from Thorney Island days. And how about AA62, was the teckie side supportive at Fairford, or did similar disasters happen? I'm damn sure that 70 at Akrotiri must have had some "interesting" times (from personal experience). I shared a room in singly accommodation with two blokes off 70 who didn't realise they had two different aircraft (Whistling tit and Albert) go figure, as they say!

Smudge
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 07:38
  #4131 (permalink)  
 
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Smudge,
as I recall the externals were in constant use from the very first.
The fuel gauges were very unreliable and the capacitance test equipment non existent at that time. So we had three fuel states. Full mains, full mains and auxs and everything plus externals. All wing tanks had to be overwing checked as full. As I have mentioned before the visiting USAF Herc chaps gave us priceless info at the beer calls they attended at Fairford.
Yes we had tech hiccups mainly due to the RAF tradition of only type training a very few of the 'techies'. The rest had to use their basic trade skills and get the not very good manuals out for fault finding. Naturally this took time so even a minor snag could take ages to fix.
As Dean says most of us were under the impression that MOD were warned about non use of FSII and for the usual reasons chose not to add it to RAF fuel. Again in a previous thread I have mentioned our pre FSII water in the fuel freezing over northern Canada.
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 07:39
  #4132 (permalink)  
 
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To all Tankrats

My abiding memory reference corrosion was 'Dutch Barn structures' which the lads from Marshalls were trying to grind out too.

Eugh, what a job, thank God I was engines.
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 08:16
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"Fuel tank corrosion and contamination by microorganisms has been reported many times over the past fifteen years."

That takes us back to 1960 at least !!
With Aviation Gasoline certainly identified on the Hunting Percival Pembroke back in the 50's.
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 08:58
  #4134 (permalink)  
 
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I have been sent the above pic by a friend. He does not know from whence it came so if I am infringing the owner's copyright or sensibilities I will of course remove it. He thinks it is an ATC summer camp at Thorney Island. It is of special interest to me as XV 186 was the first 'K' I flew in on the OCU on Feb 19 1968.
The Captain was John S.
I am sure smudge will have something to say about the props !
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 10:23
  #4135 (permalink)  
 
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Re: kilwhang's #4120

Regarding the "water in fuel" ex-Nassau (yep, I had to rough it there too - although I did manage to fit in a Belize night stop! ). This place was renowned for its lack of fuel hygiene. On a couple of occasions, the underground refuelling pits were under at least 1 foot of water after a heavy 'shower' - I believe there may be several photo albums containing pics of us lads with overalls/growbags jauntily hoisted above knee level while we carried out our herkwork. Refuelling was suspended until the tide went out.

With reference to the FSII hand pumping - there was in existence a trial of a 'local' mod produced at Lyneham whereby a length of refuelling hose was to be fitted between the bowser hose and the aircraft; this extra length of hose was fitted with an adapter (American spelling) for connecting the hand pump hose directly to the refuel line. The number of pump strokes was calculated according to the flow rate of the refuel bowser (can't remember how many strokes per whatsit - my grey matter has gone u/s). I've no recollection of it ever being used in anger.
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 11:04
  #4136 (permalink)  
 
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Re: Smudge's post #4130:

The story of the 'blown' wing tank, IIRC, was an incident on A-line when all the holes in the cheese became aligned.

Fortunately (for me!), I had just taken part in the oft-derided (by - shall I say, non-ground crew?) shift change ceremony. The 'frame in question was XV177. Having just taken over the oncoming engine trade shift, one of the first items on my sheet was to send a chap to refuel the aforesaid aircraft for an evening sortie. Somebody other than my engine person had already commenced the refuelling procedure: before my man could get to the aircraft, he heard a dull whooomf! noise, followed by the sight of several people running around in 'emergency mode'.

The train of events was triggered by several people failing to carry out the correct procedures when (a) completing the tank task, i.e. removing the vent bungs, and (b) before carrying out a refuel, where the 'book' procedure clearly states that vents were to be checked 'clear'. The resulting mayhem required the attendance of the station fire chappies for an area washdown, plus the procurement and installation of a new/serviceable outer wing assembly which, as smudge has indicated, was not an exactly straightforward operation, as they didn't have one in stock in the station stores . Cue the Lyneham roundabout incident!

No names, no pack drill here, but there were several other factors involved, regarding certain authorisation issues/scope of engineering and servicing activities on base, etc. by at least one of the participants.
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 11:37
  #4137 (permalink)  
 
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Null,

Thanks for that info. Being at Colerne at the time, I was relating the event from the "grapevine" point of view, so interesting to note that most of it was correct.

Smudge
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Old 7th Feb 2016, 20:56
  #4138 (permalink)  
 
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XV186 Picture

It is a Summer Camp photo, it is 384 Mansfield Squadron. Taken some time in the week including the 6th August 1970.
We, actually had a two hour flight in the aircraft on the 6th.
I was part of the Squadron from 1969 to 1972. I'm in the back row towards the right side.
I think, that it was taken by one of the Base photographers.

The Toilet Tester.
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Old 8th Feb 2016, 09:41
  #4139 (permalink)  
 
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TT,
excellent thank you. I hoped someone viewing this thread would have a connection to the picture. Have you seen this pic before and do you know who 'owns' it now ?

Last edited by ancientaviator62; 8th Feb 2016 at 09:41. Reason: spelling
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Old 9th Feb 2016, 11:23
  #4140 (permalink)  
 
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XV186.

AA62.

Thanks for your reply.
I have seen the picture before. I have actually, got a copy of it. It is a matt finish picture, rather than a glossy version. That would fit the age of the picture. But, I don't know where, I got the copy I have from.
I have no idea, who owns the original though.

Best wishes.

The Toilet Tester.
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