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SA.330 Puma roof console

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SA.330 Puma roof console

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Old 7th Oct 2018, 16:30
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SA.330 Puma roof console

Hi All,

Just wondering if anyone can help me with this request.
Within the roof console are two gauges. I think one is a voltage gauge but I'm not 100% certain hence the question. I'm after the details for the gauges for the period of late 70's into the 80's.
I can only assume that these are a standard fit for the Puma be it French, British etc etc.
I don't have a photo, again hence the question, to show as I'd probably be able to solve it myself.

Many thanks in advance.

Regards
Nigel
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Old 7th Oct 2018, 18:39
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Old 7th Oct 2018, 23:55
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Many thanks for the photo, answers my question perfectly.

Regards
Nigel
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Old 8th Oct 2018, 22:23
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Its been a while, but if I recall: LH gauge for DC system, RH gauge for AC.
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Old 9th Oct 2018, 01:27
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Correct, the left has a straight line following the "V" to indicate DC, the other has a sinusoidal arc to indicate AC.
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Old 9th Oct 2018, 02:02
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
Correct, the left has a straight line following the "V" to indicate DC, the other has a sinusoidal arc to indicate AC.

Without detracting from the correctness of that, a quick look at the voltage numbers should be a much easier clue
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Old 9th Oct 2018, 02:15
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What's the AC for? Is it so you can plug in a kettle and a microwave to warm up those inflight meals?
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Old 9th Oct 2018, 11:18
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Originally Posted by krypton_john View Post
What's the AC for? Is it so you can plug in a kettle and a microwave to warm up those inflight meals?
Krypton, As far as RAF HC1s were concerned, not much chance for in flight catering at 140 kts and 50 feet agl...

The glass windscreen heaters were AC (earlier aircraft we flew had unheated, plastic windscreens). Attitude and stability system gyro power was another important one.
The RAF Pumas didn't have the more common engine driven, starter/DC generators. Instead it had separate AC generators driven from the main rotor gearbox. The advantage of that is you don't instantly lose a generator if an engine stops.

However, the disadvantage was that both alternators would instantly drop off line if the rotor rpm (Nr) was allowed to "droop" too low (initially 220 rpm; 265 +/- 7 being the normally governed Nr). This was a factor in a fatal accident in Belize in 1976. The aircraft lost an engine lifting from a jungle helipad at night. The remaining engine couldn't maintain rotor rpm, the alternators dropped off line, which would have resulted in loss of aircraft attitude stability. The aircraft drifted back over the helipad, crashed into the jungle and burned out, killing all on board. The system was subsequently modified to allow 2 seconds at 240 Nr to allow for a transient droop. I can't say if this was a real advantage, thankfully the Puma engines proved to be totally reliable in my ten years or so flying them.

There were two transformer/rectifier units (TRUs) which converted 26V AC to 24V DC for most other services. They were situated in the "broom cupboard" behind the pilot's seat.
I did once experience a TRU overheat/fire, which was quite interesting for a while because of the fumes coming from it. We were flying at low level (would have been much more serious had we been IMC) and were able to quickly land in a field in Wales; whereupon I was briefly mistaken for the English rugby captain by the farmer and his family! I still remember the subsequent looks of disappointment on their faces....

Edit: The photo posted above is obviously a French machine, probably military. The RAF HC1s didn't have quite the same layout..and words in English!
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 01:46
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a quick look at the voltage numbers should be a much easier clue
An indication John of my previous life where DC voltages could be in the thousands and AC voltages barely two figures, or vise versa, one had to be careful.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 11:43
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SHY - my 3000 hrs on puma included a hyd fail at night ( which led to a restrictor being fitted in the line to the nose jack, as the jack on my aircraft split when I put the gear down), an engine failure at night and half a T/R blade flying off in Belize. Apart from that, I found it a very reliable aircraft!
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 12:29
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Originally Posted by oldbeefer View Post
SHY - my 3000 hrs on puma included a hyd fail at night ( which led to a restrictor being fitted in the line to the nose jack, as the jack on my aircraft split when I put the gear down), an engine failure at night and half a T/R blade flying off in Belize. Apart from that, I found it a very reliable aircraft!
Bloomin' Jonah! I remember those incidents - was your nose jack the one that motored forward of the normal position? I do recall you ending up in a swamp after the T/R blade problem.

I only reached 2,500 hours but had an early lucky escape after a partial main (metal) blade failure during my OCU course. The rear spar had broken through completely and the main spar about 1/3 of the way out from the root was all but completely broken as well. The engineers showed me the cracked section of the blade afterwards - only about a third of the metal main spar remained intact. I was told that a few more seconds airborne and it would probably have snapped.

I also had a hydraulic failure in Belize. As we lifted off (the same helipad where the 33 Puma crashed and burned) and the landing gear was coming up, we heard a very loud grinding noise from somewhere "up top" behind me. I thought it was the MGB breaking up but it was actually "only" the No.1 hydraulic pump cavitating. I immediately put the gear back down, flew the smallest circuit ever and landed. All the No.1 hydraulic fluid had gone, including the supposed "reserve" for the manual landing gear system. The "down" hydraulic pipe to the nose gear had burst so the manual system wouldn't have worked anyway. Just as well I got the gear down when I did, we only had bare transit fuel to Punta Gorda, there would have been no time to mess about with the sand bag plan. The pipe was one of a bad batch that was known about and should have been changed years earlier. Happy days!

But I never had an engine malfunction (practiced thousands though).
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 14:11
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( which led to a restrictor being fitted in the line to the nose jack, as the jack on my aircraft split when I put the gear down),
I had one of those at Thetford but being a steely with instant reactions I sussed what the problem was, pulled the emergency hydraulics handle thereby isolating the undercarriage hydraulics. (It had happened before to someone else so I knew what to do).
They then asked me to fly it back like that but as I wasn't sure how reliable the shut off valve was I declined.

should have been changed years earlier.
A few years later on a different aircraft, an S76A. Caution Panel comes up with N02 HYD Press. On the 76 that is the prime side with U/C etc. I lower the gear but it only half extends. I continue to Aberdeen and shoot an ILS but see nothing at 200 ft. so go to my diversion at Kinloss.
Emergency lowering with hydraulic fluid all over their brand new dispersal but all are safe.

The quill drive on No2 hyd had failed so I was flying on one hydraulic system. The pump was lifed 'on condition' and it had failed at about 1.900 hrs.
The S76 will not fly without hydraulics and the pump I was flying on had 2,300hrs.

After that it was 1,500hrs life

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 10th Oct 2018 at 14:26.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 17:49
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At some stage the Puma maintenance manuals regarding the tail rotor control cables were changed from "lifed" to "on condition". Unfortunately, the manuals weren't changed to include a check on the condition of said cables...

One of our aircraft (230 Sqn) suffered a tail rotor drive shaft failure caused by a loose intermediate gearbox (Hameln, Germany, early 1980s). That was caused by the gearbox attachment bolts not having enough thread cut on them so the torque checks just tightened the nuts at the shank end of their threads, rather than securing the gearbox!

During the investigations for that (fleet check) a significant number of Pumas were found to have badly frayed tail rotor cables as they ran over a pulley and nylon guides at the lower end of the tail pylon. It was then I began asking questions about the consequences of a broken tail rotor control cable. No-one seemed to be able to answer, or too interested in finding out. After some investigation I realised that if this occurred, the tail rotor pitch would run away to either full positive, or full negative pitch because there was nothing to oppose it, i.e. to centralise the servo valve.

In the mid 1980s I gained access to civilian Super Puma manuals and discovered they had a tail rotor servo valve centreing device fitted, RAF ones didn't, despite it apparently being a simple bolt-on mod. I pushed a letter explaining this to the appropriate Puma upper management in the mid 80s. I moved away from rotary but returned in the 1990s and nothing had been done about it even then, nor was it done when I left the service a few years later. I have no idea if the HC2 has been modified in this respect and one crew I asked (including a QHI) didn't seem to know either.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 18:58
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I pushed a letter explaining this to the appropriate Puma upper management in the mid 80s.
They probably wouldn't do anything about it until there is a smoking hole after a tail rotor runaway.

When an extra machine arrived on the squadron at the end of 1972 it had a 'sting', a skid on the bottom of the pylon to give some protection to the tail rotor. None of it's predecessors had these fitted so we petitioned for them to be fitted to all the aircraft. This was refused and we were told that they would definitely not be retrofitted.

Thetford Range 1973(?) , XW219 holds the flare too long and it sinks with the result that the tail rotor hits the ground, then breaks up leading to an untidy crash and a couple of squaddies are injured.

Within a month all the aircraft had a skid.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 11th Oct 2018 at 17:30. Reason: I must be getting old or I had been flying too long.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 09:53
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FAREASTDRIVER - the reason you had heard about the emergency hyd lever was because it occurred to me to pull it when the nose jack split. That meant I could get the AP back on line for a hover refuel while the sandbags were filled and placed (there had been no sandbag plan until then). I think the incident happened in early '72.

SHY - yes, when the jack split the nose leg moved way forward of its normal position.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 15:06
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You are right. My dates are years out. For 1978 read 1972 and 1979(?) read 1973(?). I was pushing a Puma 330G around in 1978.

I will claim to be the instigator of plastic blades for the S330C fleet.

Up at Teeside I was introduced to the 330G with plastic blades. At that time the RAF were buying up every metal blade available to keep the fleet going. The performance difference was incredible and I was flying them at 7,400kgs instead of the 6.700kgs of the Air Force. I wrote a long letter to my boss, Wingco Harding, enthusing about the performance advantages. They then discovered that there was a set of plastic blades in boxes at Boscombe which were going to be trialled when convenient.

They were shipped up to Odiham to be flown and created such an impression that in no time the fleet was fitted with them.

when the jack split the nose leg moved way forward of its normal position.
In my case the nosewheel assembly was jammed against the forward bulkhead of the nosewheel bay so I didn't bother with sandbags.
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 20:35
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Ah, the introduction of plastic blades - I went to France on exchange in '79, and the FAF had plastic blades which I'd not flown before. I was a bit taken aback when after a fairly normal quickstop, the Nr decayed so quickly that the inverters tripped off. The response of those engines really was dire!
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 20:45
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Originally Posted by oldbeefer View Post
Ah, the introduction of plastic blades - I went to France on exchange in '79, and the FAF had plastic blades which I'd not flown before. I was a bit taken aback when after a fairly normal quickstop, the Nr decayed so quickly that the inverters tripped off. The response of those engines really was dire!
It was and it caught many out. I discovered the answer though. One Puma I flew in NI in 1991 had a red-line entry in the F700 for one of the engines because the Ngs were as much as 10% apart most of the time and the engineers couldn't get them any closer. The high engine never completely backed off, and it flew like a dream!
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 23:36
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Thetford Range 1973(?) , XW219 holds the flare too long and it sinks with the result that the tail rotor hits the ground, then breaks up leading to an untidy crash and a couple of squaddies are injured.

Within a month all the aircraft had a skid.
It didn't stop a certain Wing Commander snapping the front skid mounting off then trying to blame the ground crew for missing it on the turn round, and if I remember correctly then sending a landrover out to scour the airfield looking for the lack of a tell tale impact point, thus proving it wasn't him, but a previous crew. Same chap that climbed out of the Wessex he laid down on its side outside 72 Sqn, rumour control was that he used the co pilot as a step while extracting himself..
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Old 13th Oct 2018, 00:14
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The Wessex on its side...the sortie appropriately authorised as "pre Northern Ireland shakedown"...
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