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PLANE TALK


in the hotel. We always had to leave our contact information with central airline control. After receiving the message, I returned to the airport and unloaded the passengers. Unlike today, the passengers could simply walk from the aircraft to the terminal to relax while we inspected the engine. I found both feathers and an awful stench in the engine. The cooked bird stunk up the aircraft pneumatic system and the odor entered into the aircraft cabin via the air conditioning system. Once I determined there was no visible compressor or turbine damage, the fl ight engineer and I ran the engine and all was fi ne. Then we departed the aircraft to London, England — all in a night’s work.


One thing I noticed about


departing aircraft in minus 40 degrees was that the airport would fog in from the jet exhaust. I found this to be an interesting side eff ect of running jet engines in the extreme cold air. The passengers would look out of their windows while we were working. We saw concern in their faces as we did some things that were strange to them. The Boeing 707 start valves sometimes tends to freeze in cold weather. At times, to start the engine we would have to take the small cowling off the engine and tap the start valve with a hammer while the pilot actuated the engine start switch. The procedure worked but it’s no wonder that it caused passenger concern.


Cold has strange eff ects on airline life. One time we departed a 707 which had to return after dumping a full fuel load. The gear would not retract. On the aircraft is some truck leveling switches. We checked everything in the hangar, accomplished a gear swing and all worked well. Back out into the cold and another takeoff and another return. To make a long story short,


24 DOMmagazine.com | mar 2018


there was a drain hole in the micro switch and it was plugged by ice. So, water froze when outside the hangar and the switch malfunctioned, inside the hangar it melted and the switch functioned. Somehow, we sorted this out, cleaned or changed the switch and all was fi ne. The invention of proximity switches eliminated this problem on later aircraft. Some dangerous things happened


as well. I recall someone tipped over a fully-charged nitrogen bottle. The top broke off and it became a rocket. Luckily for us, it fl ew along the fl oor and out of the open hangar doors. Another incident was when a DC-8 caught fi re while fueling in Toronto. It was quite a fi re and the only things left were the engines, nose and tail. This really reminds one of the energy in a fully-fueled aircraft. I was involved in another damage-


to-vehicles incident due to an engine run. This time it was on a Boeing 747. We were doing a power check and had the aircraft close to an airport blast fence and about 30 meters back was the airport perimeter fence and then a car park. It was winter and you can probably guess what happened. We thought the ice sheets on the concrete before the blast fence were frozen solid to the concrete. Under high power, the blast lifted the ice and trashed a few cars. The company was not too pleased but paid for the damage on the cars. We learned another hard lesson about jet engine blasts on large engines.


CONCLUSION Hopefully I have entertained you a little with some of these stories and perhaps passed on few tips on hard- won lessons. Due to the length of this article the second part will deal with experiences while with Transport Canada.


Roger Beebe


is the president of Plane Talk Consulting (www. planetalkconsulting). Prior to establishing Plane Talk Consulting


in 2007, Beebe was employed as regional director, Civil Aviation, Prairie and Northern Region with Transport Canada. Beebe held other positions during his Transport Canada career, including acting director general of Western and Central Region; director, airworthiness; and chief, manufacturing and maintenance for Canada at headquarters in Ottawa, where he was responsible for all maintenance and manufacturing activities and AME licensing. He was involved in approving aircraft maintenance programs for the new aircraft being certifi ed in Canada. Beebe’s civil aviation experience


includes Wardair, based in Edmonton and Toronto and Air Canada, based at Toronto. His aircraft maintenance experience was on the B747, Lockheed L1011, DC-8 series, DC-9 series, Boeing 707 and 727 aircraft. He also worked on the Bristol freighter, DHC-6 twin Otter and the DHC-3 Otter and the Viscount. Beebe served more than six years in the Royal Canadian Air Force, four of those years were with 1 Wing Marville, France, and later at Lahr, Germany, maintaining the CF-104 Starfi ghter aircraft. He serviced many 1960s military aircraft from several allied air forces. Immediately prior to leaving the RCAF, Beebe maintained CF-5 and T33 aircraft for 434 Squadron based at Cold Lake, Alberta. During Beebe’s career, he was involved in many national and international activities relating to aviation. In addition to his technical duties, he was involved in all the activities associated with management and executive responsibilities.


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