Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vietnam -- Aircraft Repair Specialist

Unlike the Cobra crew cheifs, generally, aircraft repair specialists worked in stable environments where the only affect incoming rounds had on your work was that of having to run to the bunkers.

Of course, where I was at, you were worrying about what affect those 122mm rockets would have on your life.

Normally, though, not the case.

Furthermore, depending upon the level or support your unit provided, you may be on an aircraft carrier or repair ship that never heard or was a single hostile round.

Our hanger before

 Our hanger after

In terms of technical and maintenance support, our Transporation Corps detachment assigned to B Battery, 4th Battalion, 77th Field Artillery (AFA), provided both first and second echelon maintenance.
These are the levels performed by the aviation unit and the technical manuals were number TM-55-1520-221-20 for the Cobra. at this level. It is this level of support that would put you into our kind of maintenance misery.

The Field maintenance category consisted of third and fourth echelon maintenance. 

This is level 30 and 40 is closer to what I was doing with A Company 5th Transporation Battalion. Our technical manuals were TM-55-1520-221-34 for the Cobra. 

Level 40 was out on a ship five miles out from China Beach. Technical manuals were TM-55-1520-221-40 for the Cobra.

Your toolbox included combo wrenches from 3/8 to 1 inch, a mirror, socket wrenches from 3/8 to 1 inch, a socket wrench or rachet, various sized socket extensions, one extension that had a flexible extension, wire cutters, a roll of #30 safety wire, a safety wire pliers and electrical tape. You may also have a flash light, ballpeen hammer, an impact hammer and a regular hammer.

The regular hammer was used on yourself to tighten up the lose screws you had thinking being a helicopter mechanic was going to be a walk in the park.

Terms used included cherrylock rivet guns -- never use this as a weapon, it doesn't work  on the enemy, castle lock nuts, Z fasteners, and torque wrenches. 

One of those torque wrenches was 6 foot long and was used on the mast to torque down the nut on the main rotor blade. the measurement was in foot pounds.

Conditional flight terms included: Red X -- no fly, Circled Red X -- conditional flying restrictions, diagonal -- must be fixed before the next flight and dashed -- can fly but a known issue. should help those of you who are not in the field of aircraft mechanics to gain a better understanding of what you have to know to be an Army Aviation Mechanic.

1 comment:

Jimfavreur said...

My father was also a Aircraft repair specialist though to my knowledge he was never in a combat situation. I don't know why but I thought that there would be more tools involved than socket wrenches and all the rest when working on an aircraft. Though if there was one tool I wouldn't want to be without than I suppose it would be a socket wrenches .