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Ground Runs

Old 1st Jan 2003, 00:00
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Ground Runs

For all four services. Back in the late eighties there was talk amongst the AAC aircrew that it might be advantageous to train certain Aircraft Technicians (I believe it was to be Artificers) to enable them to carry out rotor running ground runs. Was this ever considered further or even implemented? What happens in the other three services for FW and Rotary groundruns. Is it still an aircrew domain?
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 06:12
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Tiffies were certainly cleared for ground runs on the Scout, but it had to be 'tied down' - couldn't have the chaps getting ideas above their staion, could we?

Currently some of the Merlin groundcrew/engineers are cleared for APU and engine ground runs, but not sure if that includes rotors running.

You may also recall a couple of incidents with Gazelle - one in Canada, one (I believe) in Soest, when non-authorised starts were carried out by groundcrew - funny enough as a reminiscence, but quite alarming at the time!
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 11:37
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In my experience (up to 8 years ago), on RAF fixed wing it was the groundcrew who did all ground runs, for single, twin and four jet. The only time that aircrew were called upon was when there were insufficient tradesmen.
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 14:45
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RFFC is quite correct. Sumpies still do ground runs in her majesties finest, however head turning runs in the rotary world, unless I am greatly mistaken....bin away for 5 years now, are still drivers airframes job.

Know of a couple of Harrier ground crew who could log a few "flying" minutes over the course of their ground running lives Also know of a "split brain" who was qual'd to taxi a Gnat at Halton for the new recruits to practice their "wand waving" skills........quite a few years ago tho'

all spelling mistakes are "df" alcohol induced
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 15:31
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Was there any truth in the one about an RAF tech. who was doing taxi runs in a Lightning who 'accidently' got airborne and completed a circut of the airfield?
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 15:42
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Quite true, forgotten most of the details but it happened at 33MU RAF Lyneham in the early 60s. The guy flying it was the JENGO and he had to stay with it for the circuit as there wasn't even an ejector seat fitted...
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 16:48
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The actual Lightning (XM135) involved is now on display at the IWM Duxford. It was landed on the fourth attempt with only minor damage to its tailend - a magnificent feat of airmanship
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 18:13
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Lightning/Ground Run

My recollection is that it was the Sengo... engine runs on piano keys.. no canopy or seat, sitting on crate or somesuch with headset. Engines stuck in full AB... inadvertently airborne. Sengo had some 14 hrs total flying time courtesy of (then mandatory for Eng Officers) Chipmunk experience course. Eventually sorted, successful landing. Individual had some kind of delayed reaction years after event (nervous breakdown, form which he recovered).
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 18:32
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Two points there. I recollect that a reaction to flying the Lightning was not exclusive to engineers, it must have been quite a handfull. Having said that probably one of the best Lightning pilots was an engineer, his aircraft got superb air tests. More importantly I think engineering officers were much more effective and in tune with aviators when they had flying experience. As usual it is a factor which is impossible to measure and argue for but one knows it to be true.
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 18:42
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I dont know what happens nowadays in the light blue or pongo brigades, but here in sunny Somerset it is civvies who do a lot of the groundrunning,at least on the smaller helos.Makes you think though, would you want to fly something that a 10k pa spotty local had tested whilst suffering from a steaming hangover on New Years Day? (Apologies in advance to ex-service personnel who work in AMG,your standards are not in question as we all know that you can do the job just as well after a run ashore)
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 20:33
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I have to lift you on that one - could you elaborate on which aircraft types?
On the Junglie squadrons, anything engaged is done by squadron aircrew, or the station MTP, with certain maintainers cleared for single engine disengaged runs.
It is worthy of mention, that all of these guys have been working their backsides off (even more than usual) in the run up to and over leave, so well done to all involved!
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 21:30
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I certainly meant no offence to anyone in the Junglie world,as I understand it it is precisely because of their complexity that joe public isn't let lose on them as well as the fact that they have no negative disengage on the RH,which may entail a slightly embarrassing and unplanned sortie while groundrunning. My point was meant to highlight the differences in professionalism between service and non-service personnel (not including ex members) who as we all know can and invariably do come up with the necessary goods when the chips are down, despite the ballaches which we all have to deal with in this Brave New World.
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Old 1st Jan 2003, 21:59
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The unintentional Lightning pilot was Wg Cdr Taff Holden (OC 33 MU at Lyneham), as written in the book Drama in the Air by John Beattie, ISBN 0 86051 564 8 (1989). Took place 22 July 1966. He did indeed have 2 nervous breakdowns but had it sorted by the Quacks 4 years after the event.
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Old 2nd Jan 2003, 09:45
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At CWL in the early 90's, engineers used to taxy aircraft (Hunters) from their site next to the Sleaford road to the ORP and back again to enable Bengo's to simulate aircraft departing/returning from flights.
Used the c/s 'Static' if I recall, which was a bit strange as they moved!
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Old 2nd Jan 2003, 10:05
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So, if the re-heat was stuck on he must have done a massive vertical climb and some pretty fast circuts, and all on a fruit crate! What Balls! Did he recieve any awards such as a DFC?

Still an amazing story however you look at it!
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Old 2nd Jan 2003, 10:15
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No offence taken or air of outrage intended - I was just wondering who did let civvies lose on the rotary at VL.
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Old 2nd Jan 2003, 11:49
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Just for the record, Class 1 techs will do APU runs on Apache and I believe possibly certain groundcrew may be cleared also for wpn related stuff. All systems can be checked on the APU and only time aircrew required is for engine related ground runs.
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Old 2nd Jan 2003, 12:14
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Back to the lightning story, it was properly documented in an issue of 'Air Clues' about 5 years or so ago. So those of you with access can read the official version, worth a read.
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Old 2nd Jan 2003, 17:07
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I just hope the engineers get properly briefed.

I once walked out to a Blackhawk for an airtest. There was no-one at the aircraft, the ramp was deserted, but the APU was running!

We shut it down before doing our walkround checks.

The engineer "in charge" then came out and indignantly asked us why! He said the APU was safe to leave running as it said in the Flight Manual there was an automatic system to shut it down if there was a fault.

We agreed that the APU should shut down if there was an oil over-temp or pressure fail.

However! I asked him what he thought would happen if the APU caught fire. He was last seen slapping himself on the forehead.....
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Old 3rd Jan 2003, 20:35
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As I understand things at the moment in the Air Force, FW ground runs can all be carried out by engineers. The harriers are tied down if they need to be run with the nozzles rotated. There was an incident at Gutersloh when one of the tie-down points broke lose giving the engineer a bit of a fright.

In the rotary world, we have to rely on the aircrew for head turning ground runs - with the Wessex we can run the port engine only.

The only exception to this is the Chinook. The Sumpies can be cleared for bladeless head turning runs. The only time I have seen this done is after a spell in ASF as part of the post servicing functionals.

All engineering NCOs can be cleared to run APUs. Unlike Skycops experience with the Blackhawk, All RAF engineers cleared for running Engines or APUs are given full training, part of which would include to shut it down before vacating the aircraft.
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