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Fri, 2 Feb 2007                                                                                                                                                          SUBJECT: TOM MASON


I would also like to see or hear from him.  I always enjoyed flying with him.  He was, by the way, one of the FEs on the CH-3 (21st SOS) that got hit by a 37MM over the trail.  I was in another CH-3 in the formation and saw the round hit.  As I was looking over the hole from relatively close up, Tom was grinning at me through the hole from inside the hit helo. (JERRY KIBBY)


Thu, 1 Feb 2007                                                                                                                                                     SUBJECT: EOD SUPPORT

Some of those things we did on our off days at NKP with the third bird was village medical runs with the Flight Surg, AND demolition runs with USAF EOD teams. This being the first war with no free drop zones, the guys had to bring their bombs home with them and some dropped off (??) on the way.   One day when I took a crew out to a village in Thailand, the EOD guys found a 500 # one with the fuse gone.  When the translator asked the Village Chief, he motioned me into his hut, pulled the detonator out from under his bed, bowed and handed it to me.  I nearly sh--, but luckily a EOD Sgt was right behind me.  I gently handed it to him and got the hell out of there.  Still don't know how he got it off without blowing up the Ville!  Made me want to go back and take alert! (JOE BALLINGER)



Wed, 31 Jan 2007                                                                                                                                              SUBJECT: SIKORSKY S-67 


On the rotorhead web site you have a some unusual aircraft.  This MAY qualify.  It is a Blackhawk by Sikorski.  Not the H-60.  S-67.  The second picture is misnamed.  It was designed to be a gunship.  It had CH-3 engines, transmission, etc.  I got to sit in one in Incirlik, Turkey when they were returning the S-67 to Europe with a stop at Incirlik after showing the thing to the Shah of Iran.  It was some where between '74 and '77.  Once the pilots found out I had flown the H-3, they apologized that they had to leave so soon and didn't have time to let me fly it.  It sure was a neat looking machine.  The speed control levers were down on the console instead of overhead like on the H-3, but it was very much like the H-3 otherwise.  (JERRY KIBBY)



Tue, 30 Jan 2007                                                                                                                          SUBJECT: SIKORSKY S-67 FOLLOW-UP


Jerry.....not only an unusual bird...but what a unique experience you had getting to see this beauty up close like that. As you probably already know this bird crashed at the Sept. 1974 Farnborough Air Show, killing both Sikorsky test pilots, Kurt Cannon and Stu Graig. These were most likely the guys that gave you the tour of the bird. This was the only prototype of the bird.


I've got two 8 x 10 bw photo's of this bird that I got from Sikorsky in 72 (I think), if anyone is interested, I'll shoot them a copy. This bird also was involved in a lot of different test programs, like the tail rotor "fan" concept as can be seen in this photo.  (JIM BURNS)


Thu, 11 Jan 2007                                                                                                                                                         SUBJECT: PAVE LOW

Sadly, Chuck is correct about the regrettable collapsing of a national capability that won't ever (I know that's a long time) be satisfactorily or successfully replaced, IMHO.  He's right on in all he writes but one detail.  Subtract some years from his 2012 estimate.  On the latest completed mod of significance (and actually there's yet another being developed with significant implication), the Pave Low can be flown hands off to a touchdown, which is a boon to landing in IFR conditions.    Shades of our 1972 vintage approach and hover coupler that fairly well sucked in both modes.  The shakiest aspect of that profile was the hover mode, when if the Doppler went into memory while hovering for some 10-15 seconds, the floor would drop out and the collective bottom, as the Doppler then commanded a full down to the AFCS system  And at full down collective, it was near autorotation.  We quickly adjusted our programmed hover altitude for those approaches from 150-200' up to 300', then dial down.  Plus, we didn't have a seat FE at the time, and we lacked any night vision lighting in the cockpit (other than 1st or 2nd gen NVGs, so the two pilots were hard pressed to monitor for two little red flags on a darkened instrument at the bottom of a dark instrument panel while doing that flying thing they did so well. (TOM GREEN)

Mon, 8 Jan 2007 SUBJECT:                                                                                                                                               C-123 RECOVERY

My first trip to Lima 36 in ‘68 there was a C-123 that had bit the dust and was lying off to the side of the gravel runway.  I don’t think that it was in any shape to move on its own.  It mysteriously disappeared.  I don’t believe that there is a CH-53 ever built that could lift a C-123 at that altitude.  There was also a CH-3 that was lying over the hill off the end of the runway.  Looks like they salvaged all the parts they could and left the shell for Mother Nature to take care of. (KELLY DAY)


Mon, 8 Jan 2007 SUBJECT:                                                                                                                                               C-123 RECOVERY

I never heard of it but am skeptical it was a CH-53.  Maybe a CH-54, Skycrane which would have much better power avail.  Jim, did that hover OGE >10K in a formation of many when we went IFR up North with everybody trying to hover, hoping for seperation in the soup and a hole down.


Mon, 8 Jan 2007 SUBJECT:                                                                                                                                               C-123 RECOVERY


H-53 guys,

Anyone know anything about this? (I found this on the Internet) 

Once, a C-123K ran off the end of a dirt runway and down an embankment. A CH-53C with slings under each the wingroots of the cargo plane, lifted it out of jungle and back on the runway, engines and all. I personally hovered at 8,000 feet MSL, with no ground effect looking for a hole in the cloud cover. (JIM MOORE)



Sat, 6 Jan 2007                                                                                                                                                   SUBJECT: PILOT UPGRADE

In 1968, ARRS came out with a special deal to upgrade 43 guys to H-3's, but we had to volunteer for worldwide assignments.  If we had been to Nam, they would TRY to send us elsewhere, Korea, Philippines, England, Africa. They got eight suckers & Al Heeter, Don Almanzar, and Joe Ballinger were the first three sent to Sheppard for upgrade? in Jan 69. There were a lot of ex-fixed wing in the class we joined.  In the back of my mind, Jerry Carlile was one of them. When we graduated some of the class went to H-53 upgrade and then to Nam.  The rest of us to Eglin for Combat Crew Training in H-3's for Nam.  As it worked out Al went to England, Don to Okinawa, and I went to Clark!  I had heard that some of the 53 guys went to Special Ops, which would be about the right time to place Carlile at NKP!  (JOE BALLINGER)



Wed, 3 Jan 2007                                                                                                                                             SUBJECT: AIRCRAFT STATUS

As to In-Commission rates, I agree with the rest of the guys.  It was a constant fight of the Dets against HQ's.  But I'll say this some of us learned that you had to bite the bullet! Especially in combat.  At NKP we had somewhere around 75% for the H-43's, But we had some very high priority, AND guys shipping us parts from stateside units airmail. When I reported 43% for the H-3's, HQ's nearly went thru the roof, but it got results fast. What the hell were they going to do "Fire me and send me to Nam".  But In-Commission wasn't just parts.  At Webb in 68, when I got called out to help rig a 43, it got my attention fast.  A Det Co rigging a chopper because I was the only one who knew how?? When I called WARRC and grounded the Det, they didnt think I had the authority. After telling them that it didn't matter, I had the responsiblity and wasn't flying til I got some experienced maintenance men, I got two the next day.  (JOE BALLINGER)


Wed, 3 Jan 2007                                                                                                                                                SUBJECT: H-43 RECOVERY

When I was the Det. CC at Thule Greenland in the late 60's one of our H-43's had a fuel control problem as we were returning from a remote village across the ice cap.  They had to make a forced landing, and damaged the landing gear.  We landed, picked them all up, but left the bird on the cap.  A few weeks later just prior to the dark season and after a lot of work by the troops in some really bad conditions I picked up the downed bird with another H-43 and dropped it off on the deck of a Coast Guard ice breaker in the bay just off the cap. (JOHN FLOURNOY)


Tue, 02 Jan 2007                                                                                                                                                                SUBJECT: HUEYS

Just an update.  The H-1 det at Rucker is actually under the 58 SOW at Kirtland (AFSOF school house) and it's the 6th SOS here who works, and flys with other nations using and training in some of their host's own MDS acft, a couple of which they lease for local Hurlburt use/currency.  The 16 SOS flys the "H" model gunship, the 4th flys the newer "U" model gunboat.  Otherwise, as you say, the Space Command is the biggest H-1 user with some great assignments in the Northern tier.


Tue, 2 Jan 2007                                                                                                                                           SUBJECT: FIRE SUPPRESSION

When we moved the wing to Hill all the tree huggers around there were worried about the HH-43 fire fighting training screwing up their clean air.  They were already having problems with a big copper mine just north of Salt Lake City.  I was at Scott at the time and ARRS sent me down to Chanute to the AF fire fighting school with a TDY H-43 to figure out how to fight a smokeless fire.  After a lot of tries they finally came up with a water spray system about 15 inches above the fire pit.  They would put the fuel in the pit, turn on the water spray, light the fire and sure enough the fire would burn clean with no smoke.  We had to use extra wind socks for good wind direction for the Pedro without smoke from the fire, but it worked.  The AF then spent a ton on $$$ installing the pit at Hill and shortly after we got it going they did away with the fire suppression mission.  Go figure.




Sat, 23 Dec 2006                                                                                                                                                                  SUBJECT: LOST


As for the lost story, feel free to use it.  You might want to cut into it the fact that we'd gone down to F.E.Warren to deliver a peanut light bulb.  A high priority supply mission.  It's beside the point that it didn't take up much room in the aircraft, as you can imagine, so with all that space coming back, we, as luck would have it, were able to fill that puppy up with brand new Flight Line Parkas, Parka Pants, and Mukluks.  Enough for our entire Detachment of 42 people or so, to get a brand new set.  Did I mention I was also the supply officer?  Seems there was this budget money left over from the prior fiscal year, that had to be spent prior to 60 days past the end of the year or it would be lost forever, and there were these available parkas....the rest, as they say, is history.


On our outbrief for the return trip, the Base Ops weather says to us.  "There's no real significant weather, except for a cloud layer about 40 miles north of here, and it only lasts about 20 miles or so.  Then it's severe clear.  Bottoms are about 2,000 AGL...should'nt be any problem for you guys."  I asked, "what are the tops?"  He replied, " 24,000 feet".  "Ok, we'll go underneath, then, I replied."


As we planned the mission, we went through all the dead reckoning exercises we were intimately familiar with, etc., etc.  What we didn't account for is the fact that while military weather personnel are 90+% accurate over 6 to 12 months, that average drops to about 75% from 3 to 6 months.  When you get under 3 months, the accuracy in forecasting drops to about 50% or so, and monthly, they hit about 30%-40% accuracy.  From day to day, they haven't got a clue!!!!  And this guy wasn't even having a very good day apparently!


Well about 40 miles north of Warren, there it was, just as predicted.  Nice little cloud bank, lots of clearance problem.  The further we progressed (remember, it wasn't supposed to be but about 20 miles wide), the lower the ceilings got, and the worse the visibility got.  We finally found ourselves with no ceiling, less than 1/4 mile visibility, and literally picking our way along at about 30knots, about 100 feet AGL, winding through canyons and draws just trying to maintain VFR, because of that aforementioned "Oil Burner" route we knew to be in the airspace just above us.  As we checked our 3 year old topographic charts, we realized we were flying along at approximately 4,600 ft. MSL, in an area the maps showed to have the highest terrain elevation to be about 5,400 feet MSL.  As I said, our airspeed had dropped dramatically, we were fighting approximately a 25 knot right quartering headwind on a route that took about 1 hour 45 minutes to fly at cruising speed, in an aircraft that held about 2 hours 20 minutes of fuel, with reserve.  But, we had our parkas!!


You can check your maps on this one.  On the straight line from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Rapid City, SD, you pass almost directly over the small town of Harrison, Nebraska.  So, what does the senior flight examiner, and one of the unit instructor pilots (me) do when confronted with a situation like this.  Shoot, we followed our training.  Jim Bizzell, the FE, and my co-pilot that day, says, "Well, we're far enough into this, that we should be breaking out the North side any minute.  The map shows that West of Harrison, there's a railroad track that parallels the East/West highway about 40 meters South of the highway.  East of Harrison, the railroad track widens the gap to approximately 1/4 mile south of the highway.  We'll look for the railroad track in relation to the highway, and can then know whether all this weaving and turning has gotten us East or West of our course line, 'cause we don't have enough gas to keep fooling around like this.  It'll be really bad if we run this sucker out of gas!  We just don't want to do anything to get our names in the paper!"


Ok, good plan.  Only one hitch.  When we crossed the highway at the appropriate vector angle to the nose of the aircraft, THERE WAS NO RAILROAD TO BE FOUND ANYWHERE!  Remember that 25 knot right quartering crosswind?  Remember what flying in a crab was like?


Here's the end of a long story, and obviously one I never forgot.  About 20 miles East of Harrison, NE, that highway takes a 90 degree turn to the South, toward Scottsbluff.  That weaving and turning through all the canyons, and the "keeping your head out of the cockpit trying to stay visual" stuff had us way East of the course line, but with the crabbing trim, our nose vector was almost identical to what it would have been had we been heading Northeast, and crossing an East/West highway.  That's when we turned around, went back to the highway, and landed next to it in the pasture, and began to bite the bullet, declare and Inadvertant IFR Emergency, and ask for vectors to Scottsbluff, because by that time we didn't have enough gas to get home.


With full acknowledgement and gratitude to Chief Rickey, that's when he saw the car, and flagged it down to get directions.  Turns out, we were only about 20 miles or so from Scottsbluff, where, glory be, they had avgas!  We followed the highway (True, original IFR)to Scottsbluff, gassed up, re-plotted the course, and struck out for Ellsworth.  About 10 miles North of Scottsbluff, we broke out into clear blue and 22, and spent the rest of the trip trying to figure out how to live it down.  I still stay in contact with a couple of the guys from that unit, and haven't lived it down yet.  It was 10 years before "Lonesome Dove" told a story about two guys traversing the northern plains, but if I had known then that story, I'd have wanted to say, "By God Woodrow, it's a bad start we've gotten off on..." (TUCK KEMPER)



Fri, 22 Dec 2006                                                                                                                                              SUBJECT: LOST IN THE FOG


While stationed at Suffolk County AFB, LI, NY in early 1961, I was part of a H-43B crew that was task to make a cross country lobster run......scratch lobster run....make flight, by the base commander, to Loring AFB. Weather was predicted to be scattered clouds after we crossed the Long Island Sound and headed on North. Every thing was going as predicted and since we had climbed to around 8,000 feet to cross the sound, we continued on inland at that altitude for a while. However we soon realized the scattered clouds had became a solid overcast and we were on top of it. We continued on for some time until we finally spotted a hole in the clouds, which we took full advantage of and descended down below the cloud layer. We chugged along for a bit and came to the conclusion that none of us knew where in the hell we were at. We spotted a gas station along a rural road and landed in the field behind it and I went inside to get a road map and ask for directions. With some guidance from the station owner and our road map we again took off heading for Loring AFB and flew into the next town, circled the town water tower and confirmed our location....then followed the road map the rest of the way into Loring. The next day we headed back, flying down the Hudson, (scenic route) cabin loaded with crates of Maine lobster, for the CO's weekend cook out, and had an uneventful trip back to SCAFB.  (JIM BURNS)


Fri, 15 Dec 2006                                                                                                                                                   SUBJECT: H-43 TAILPIPE

I seem to recall in my days at ATC Headquarters, 67 - 70, we processed an ECP for an H-43 IR Suppression Kit.  If my memory serves me right, the ECP would have resulted in some tail pipe changes to reduce the IR Signature.  I think it may have included a shorter pipe with the outlet on top but my memory is not clear enough on the subject to be sure.  Maybe the ECP was approved finally and a TCTO kit proofing was done and someone saw it but it never made it to the field due to phasing out of 43's as combat rescue vehicles.  I do recall with certainty that the IR Suppression changes for the H-1 family included an exhaust pipe that was turned up and coated with some ceramic material to induce cooling of the air. (DON LARSEN)