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PLANE TALK


I recall someone tipped over a fully-charged nitrogen bottle. The top broke off and it bacame a rocket. Luckily for us, it flew along the floor and out of the open hangar doors.


by the experienced supervisors and behind them the manufacturers’ technical representatives. This support cost money, something we did not have to think about at a junior rank level in the RCAF. It soon became apparent that accurate troubleshooting (and repair at the least cost) was one of the marks of a good technician. The multiple double checks and signatures of the RCAF was gone and it was you and a licensed AME only. Once you were licensed it was you alone. We had shift teams that gave you some backup. Anyway, I adapted quickly, liked to work and was backed by a thorough grounding in systems training from the RCAF so I learned and could stay employed. One of the first unfortunate screw-


ups I saw was during pilot training on the B727. We saw a wheel wobbling on takeoff. A tech had forgotten a bearing so he packed his tools and asked, “Why wait around to be fired?” Away he went. Never saw him again. Another mess up turned out to be a lesson in human behavior. I recall a new hire who was always running from wheel well to tool crib. I thought to myself, what a worker! The guy was a hard person to like as he thought he knew everything. Because I had first aid training in the RCAF, as a secondary war task I was elected first aid attendant. Several people came to me one evening shift


22 DOMmagazine.com | mar 2018


with hydraulic-caused hand injuries, luckily not too serious. I found he was instructing apprentices to crack open hydraulic lines under pressure. I stopped that practice of course. Then one day the fellow did not report for work. I found out that he was fired from the company because he would sleep in the wheel well and then run and hide in the tool crib. So much for being a hard worker. I had memorable flight in a Bristol


170. Oil from the Hercules engine dripping directly down on the wheels and brakes could cause a problem, so we covered the tires and brakes at night. One day we forgot to do this and I had an interesting ride into Edmonton’s City Center Airport. I was lying on the floor looking down at the earth though the glass panels in the cargo door. I was stunned when we ran out of runway and ended up on the grass. Later, I asked our pilots why are we on the grass. The answer was oil on the brakes. We cleaned that up and then flew onto Yellowknife. Here is another one of my Bristol 170 stories. We had an aircraft at the Edmonton City Center Airport ready to go on a northern contract. We did an engine run and found a mag drop. We changed one row of plugs and tried again with no luck, still a mag drop. After much fussing around our big boss arrived, the DOM, and said we had no idea how to run a Hercules engine. He climbed into


the cockpit and ran it to full power. I believe he thought he could burn carbon off the plugs or something. He had not noticed a small aircraft behind ours and which began to roll over from the prop wash. He then left us to it. I said I am going to check the mag switches for correct wiring. I soon found they were crossed over. So, we corrected that and did another run and change the correct row of plugs. The next run was satisfactory, no mag drop. The next day the aircraft left for the north and we began repairing the small aircraft. While working out of Yellowknife,


North West Territories, I had some fun times and experienced a few interesting events as well. Crew living quarters were rather simple and because my wife accompanied me we stayed in a local motel. During our stay an unfortunate accident occurred when our neighbor set his room on fire and died. The fire was due to smoking.


The pilots were great fun to work with and they let me do a lot of the simple flying tasks. I recall once an old wartime Polish air force veteran pilot asked me to fly while he slept. He told me to wake him when we reached a certain point on the map. So, I took over the controls. The day was mostly blue skies with some small, puffy, white clouds. At first, I flew around them and then thought I could just go through them


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