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RCP0110_0_Hangar Talk 2/15/10 5:01 PM Page 9
By Ron Whitney
Have you ever witnessed an event so Aeroscout students during the combat
extraordinary, so surprising, and so in- When the refueler skills phase of flight training. In those
credible that you just had to sit back and
removed the nozzle JP-4
days it was not uncommon to be saddled
ask yourself, “Did I really just see that?” with three students, a 1.5-hour syllabus
Have you ever been present when a nor- fuel spewed all over the per student, per day. It did not take a
mal, routine flight operation went bad, great many months of this routine to
nearly tragically bad? Have you ever had
place. The fueler’s first
reach what we affectionately called “IP
the opportunity to discover a side of a
move was to point the
Burnout”. When the leadership discov-
coworker that you really did not expect ered an IP who had reached “that point”
to? Well, I have.
nozzle up, toward the
the reward was to be transferred to the
The subject of this Pilot Profile piece
aircraft exhaust ports,
night platoon, Bat Flight. Flying and in-
is a man I met many years ago while we structing flight students at night were what
were Instructor Pilots at Ft. Rucker. And
throwing a wall of now
we termed “a break”. A maximum of two
his name is Paul Richtmyer. My first im-
ignited fuel over the top
students, 1.0-hour syllabus, and shorter
pressions of Paul were fairly unremark- work day, not at all bad once you had got-
able. Quiet, conservative, knowledgeable,
of the aircraft and down
ten into the reverse schedule. Once you
team player, occasional jokester, are all
the other side, where
got into the routine, it was a good job.
words or phrases I would use to describe Enough of an introduction let me get on
him. We first met while instructing Paul was sitting. The with the real story.
fueler’s next action
was to bring the nozzle
downward and to his
right, which resulted in
fully dowsing the student
and lighting him on fire.
www.ROTORCRAFTPRO.com • February 2010 9
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