I know we did this once, back in the day, and got away with it…

I got a call from my squadron’s operations office asking if I would mind terribly going to Fort Worth, Texas, for an airshow over the weekend. Our patrol wing gets a few requests a year for these events. This would be my first. The guys told me it was as good a deal as you can get: a weekend out of town with your crew showing off the Lockheed P-3C Orion and preaching the virtues of naval aviation. Back at the hotel, you could talk flying with pilots of the other display aircraft and enjoy the open bar.

Full article, HERE in Air and Space Mag.

We didn’t get the open bar, and were stuck in the barracks at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM. If I remember correctly, it was in May and HOT!!! No air cart, and a dirty operational airplane just back off deployment, so much like the bird in the article. That I remember, it was only the Navy Weapons guys that stopped by, and maybe a couple of other folks. Mostly it was sitting on the main mount, watching the people walk by.

But we did back out and go fly Sunday afternoon (and pissed off the Air Force ramp rats, because they wouldn’t get us a tow tractor, and we backed out, then dropped the ladder and picked me up with the engine still turning).

And yes, there IS a trick to backing up an airplane.  You don’t just put on the brakes to stop. You take the props out of reverse and into forward range and use them WITH the brake to stop the backward motion. 🙂


Hehehe… — 11 Comments

  1. LOL. Yup, doing a static display without power or an AC cart sucks balls. The best you could do was open up all the hatches and hope for a cross breeze. And we can all attest to the ingenuity of some people when it came to zapping airplanes. The Canadians were especially good at hiding them.

  2. I saw DC-9s backing up under their own power at DFW in the `90s. Seemed like a bad idea to me, especially the risk of bending metal if the ramp-rat misjudged clearances.

  3. Ray- Oh yeah… But we got them a few times too! 😀

    CM- Yep, that potential does exist, which is why it’s seldom done anymore. We never bent one, nor do I know of any C-130 guys/girls that did.

    Randy- “Fun” times… LOL

    • The Herky Boys have an advantage. We drop the ramp to where it’s parallel to the ground. The loadmaster lies on the ramp on his/her belly and verbally directs the backing. Meanwhile, there is a crew member on each side of the flight deck double-checking wingtip clearance.

  4. While stationed at Clark AFB (69-70)we had some Aussies with us for a while, they put their stickers all over anything they could get their hands on. The AF was real particular about us remaining properly dressed, no matter how hot it got so we were real envious of the aussie maintainers working in only their shorts and boots. Fast forward to Keflavic NAS (73-74) working out of the navy airframe shop, I got the impression you guys would fly your P3’s when the AF would have grounded the birds. I was real Impressed with the Navy teamwork and “can do” spirit. I commented to a Navy officer one time that there seemed to be a closer relationship between Navy officers and enlisted that with the Air Force. He just looked at me and said: it not just the enlisted end of the boat that sinks.

  5. Regarding the observation that people walked past the P-3C reminded me of Fleet Week in Seattle. Took my young sons to the waterfront and the lines were long. There were no lines at the USS Pigeon submarine rescue ship so, why not, we went aboard. What a fantastic tour we received! The old Army slacker in me recognized the bored, wish we were somewhere else, attitude. Spent a few minutes chatting and they came alive. My sons bragged about their experience to their friends for days afterwards.

  6. Kirtland was my first assignment. However, I see no words about it in the A&S article. (First Para in blue letters did not appear. Or, I might be blind.)

  7. My first Navy squadron was VR-7 Det A at Tachikawa, Japan, an Air Force base. Our parent command was an Air Force wing and on-time departures were a YUGE deal. So much so that our skipper personally monitored most gate departures. On one flight the AC was so paranoid that when the AF couldn’t provide the tug he insisted that we use reverse thrust to back out of the spot, against the FE’s advice. Sure enough we burned up a jug on #3 and were 2 hours late after the jug change and taxi to high power runup.

  8. Tsgt- Yeah, it’s a WHOLE different mentality! We work(ed) together, then and now.

    WSF- OH yeah, now if you’d had a pretty girl along, LOL

    Sam- That story took place in Fort Worth, not at Kirtland.

    Flugel- Ouch! But it wasn’t for lack of trying…

    • Yes, but, Here; “We didn’t get the open bar, and were stuck in the barracks at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM.” WHERE did that come from.