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CJ Martin

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About CJ Martin

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    Tomcat Tech

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  1. The APG-71 antenna was slightly larger in diameter than the AWG-9, and it required the antenna to be fully in the "stow" position before fully opening the radome. Stow meant the antenna was centered side to side and pointing all the way down (same on AWG-9 btw). Normally the antenna would stow automatically when the system was shut down, but some failure modes would prevent that. SOP was to crack the radome slightly and double check the antenna was stowed. If not, someone with chicken arms could usually reach up and pull it into stow. Even the AWG-9 antenna could get caught on the radome if not stowed, but there was zero margin for error with the APG-71. I do remember seeing a antenna get caught and torn up when someone forget to double check the antenna position, locked the radome hydraulic valve in the nose wheel well open with a stubby screwdriver, and then used the emergency hydraulic hand pump in the front cockpit to pump up the radome. He was working solo for some reason and didn't hear the crunch. I was across the deck and ran over to stop him when I saw what was happening, way too late. Big mess, shredded the planier array. Can't remember if he went to mast over that, probably. Sister squadron, (102), not my jet. BTW, those gray antennas on the array were for the APX-76 IFF interrogator, not part of the AWG-9. -CJ
  2. And that is why I have tinnitus 24/7 in both ears, and "significant" (according to the VA audiologist I saw) high frequency hearing loss. The noise isn't too bad in that picture, both engines are at idle. It will get louder... What I used to hate was being the outboard final checker and have one of those damn Prowlers roll up behind you on Cat 4. Those things would rattle the fillings right out of your teeth when they'd go into tension. 😳 Great write up GW, brings back some old memories.
  3. Depending on when you are model, the canopy frame on SD 202 was the lighter gloss grey. This was from at least 1988 to the early 90s. I don't remember the story behind that or why it was mismatched for so long. I have a picture somewhere that shows it pretty clearly, if I can find it I'll scan and post it.
  4. The Marines are deep into this, A-D Hornets have recently been integrated into the same process stood up for the Supers. The company we are working with is the Boston Consulting Group (BSG). I wouldn't say they are running things, but their advice carries a lot of weight.
  5. Egads, this thread is starting to sound a lot like my day job. I've been working Hornet Readiness since last fall, almost 12 years after I went over to the unmanned world. As usual GW has the definitions correct. One thing you guys may not have heard about is that the Navy has brought in a high powered outside consulting company specifically to work Super Hornet Readiness issues. These are the guys working with major airlines on their dispatch rates. They are young and smart but are still learning the ins and outs of NAVAIR. It will be easy for the old timers or just jaded forum types to shoot this plan full of holes, but I will say this...these guys have the ears of very senior Leadership, and they are attacking the entire enterprise. Depots, O-Level, spare parts (buying, repairing, stocking and shipping), training and the engineering stuff I'm directly involved in. Real measurable change is coming, hopefully we can move the needle enough before things swing back the other way. We have already expanded our efforts to the entire A-G fleet, and the other platforms are spinning up their own efforts based on what we've been doing with the Supers. The down side is that all this leaves very little time for modeling 😕
  6. I can't recall ever seeing them deployed on deck while I was in my Fleet squadron (VF-33) in the mid-80s. I did see them out while at Pax in the late 80s, that was during the testing that led to them being deactivated. We did some wild stuff to the test bird, an Alpha...they wanted to move the CG as far aft as possible. We removed pretty much the entire AWG-9 radar, antenna, transmitter, power supplies, receiver, RMO, syncronizer...all of it. They even put lead weights back where the ALE39 buckets went. Then they went out and flew high speed low level flights and melted a lot of the paint off. The bird looked like a damn elephant, the paint heated up and then sagged after landing. That was SD202 in the tactical paint scheme. Wish I had pics of that.
  7. My pants just got tight...this looks awesome!
  8. Yeah something odd is going on with station 3. Also the daily and weekly doors seem to be missing from the nacelles? Can't wait to see the first builds.
  9. 1. When I joined the Navy (back in 1984!) I had a pretty clear idea what I wanted to do (Aviation Electronics Technician) and that's what I signed up for. I had a couple of years of community college including some electronics courses (telcom major) so that gave me an advantage once I got to "A" school. I asked for Tomcats and East coast and got both. After finishing F-14 FRAMP (Fleet Readiness Aviation Maintenance Personnel) school at VF-101, I reported to VF-33 in April '85. This was well before the movie "TOPGUN" came out. As soon as I got my orders, I found a 1/72 kit of a VF-33 Tomcat that I built in the barracks. That was the "Batmobile" scheme and that bird hit the ramp while landing on the America while I was in FRAMP. It came back to the squadron after rework in early '88 shortly before I transferred, but had been repainted into the low vis scheme. Mostly I built 1/700 WW2 ships while in the barracks, easier to build and display in the limited space I had. These days I mostly build 1/48 WW2 aircraft, though lately the tank bug has bitten me. Currently working on the Bronco M24 Chaffee (Early version). Last kit finished was the Tamiya M4A3E8 (WW2 version, great kit). Anyways I had a knack for troubleshooting which was good because most of our gripes were wiring related. And make no mistake, all aircraft, Tomcats included are living things. They have distinct personalities and moods. Tomcats generally wanted to fly, fly fly. The longer they sat on the deck the crankier they'd get. I had my favorites and I had some that were just a cast iron biatch to work on. Hard to describe and maybe it sounds silly, but I believe it. 2. I belong to a few veteran groups on Facebook, most have to do with naval aviation. It's been interesting reconnecting with people I hadn't heard from in decades. For now that is enough. My day job keep me plenty busy though pages like this are nice for a quick break. It's not all fun and games though, pretty much anyone that has worked on the roof is now dealing with various service connected health issues. Hearing loss is a given, as is tinnitus. I took a bad fall off the wing of a Tomcat and ended up in Portsmouth Naval hospital. About half of my current team are former maintainers and pretty much all of us either have a VA rating or are in the process of getting one. That said, I'd do it all again in a second. Best job I've ever had. Worst living conditions and lowest pay though. Typical military BS that is common to all services. To be honest I wasn't the greatest sailor (in terms of military bearing) during my junior enlisted days. My ability to fix broken jets got me out off some otherwise hot water, lol. Later on it all clicked and I was much more squared away on shore duty. I got married during that time and had no desire to go back to sea so I got out after my shore tour. Fortunately that was at Pax River and I've pretty much been here ever since, first as a support contractor and now as a Navy civilian. Yeah there was a little side trip in the entertainment software business but when that ran it's course I came back to Pax. It's been a interesting ride, and I'm about to return to my roots in the tail hook world after 12 years of unmanned stuff.
  10. The guys in the red jerseys are the Ordies, pretty sure that is what GW was. They are arming the jet. The ones in the white are the final checkers, one on each side. That's pretty standard even today seems like. This is why I have hearing loss and constant tinnitus, lol. As loud as the Tomcat was, I think the EA-6B was worse on the cat. Something about that airframe/engine combination, at MIL thrust it would rattle your fillings right out of your teeth.
  11. Yesterday my family buried ABHAA Joseph Min Naglak. He was 21. He was also my cousin. Joseph was killed in the line of duty last week while working the flight deck of CVN-77. I learned of the mishap while at work (NAVAIR/Pax River) and the name didn't register immediately. Neither did the picture of a smiling young sailor in his whites. Joseph was clearly of Asian decent, and I am not. Over the weekend another cousin informed me that he was in fact our cousin. He had been adopted from Korea when he was a year old. My mother confirmed, her father (my grandfather) and Joseph's great grandmother were brother/sister. Sadly I never met him. I've been part of naval aviation one way or another all my adult life, first as an active duty sailor, now as a Navy civilian. Three decades (so far). We talk about the NAVAIR family, this week for me it was doubly true. Here's the obit, which includes a US Navy pic of his final departure from the boat last week. There are other pictures on the Navy site - the crew lined up several deep in the hanger deck and all the way up to the flight deck and the rear of the C-2...that was a worthy sendoff. BZ Bush crew. https://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2018/09/services_set_for_navy_sailor_from_nj_killed_in_acc.html
  12. As usual GW does a better job explaining this stuff. It's been 30 odd years since I last worked the roof, and between the passage of time and a Tomcat related injury, my memory is not what it once was. 😉 I'll add one small thing - the above sequence is 100% correct for the B/D...when final checking the A, if everything in GWs post happened correctly, that was one thumb up to the shooter. Once the shooter saw that (from both final checkers, one on each side of the jet) he would signal the pilot to stage up to Zone 5 (full burner). As this happened the engine nozzles would open up. Once both engines reached zone 5, the final checkers would give a second thumbs up to the shooter. Once the shooter touched the deck it was time for the final checkers to grab a padeye and hunker down for the jet wash. Yeah it got a little warm. 😛 As an aside, it's pretty exciting the first time you are final checking and the bird has an afterburner blowout, haha. In VF-33 we had a bird that was so prone to that she was known as "chitty-chitty bang-bang". That bird started and ended the longest continuous sortie completion rate in the Tomcat community. We went 895 sorties before chitty-chitty bang-bang ended the streak on Cat 3 of the late great USS America. Funny how well I remember that silliness.
  13. Yeah good video and that shows what I was trying to describe. One thing about the Bravo/Deltas...they don't need to go to burner to get off the deck. Saves gas, but less impressive. Particularly at night.
  14. Yes a full control wipe out occurred on the cat once the bird was hooked up and run up to MIL thrust. Note however the spoilers on both wings do not come up at the same time. If memory serves the ones on the port wing come up ad go down, then the starboard wing. Best to find a video as all the control surfaces are moving and maybe not the way you expect or when you expect them. Bonus points for having the inboard spoilers down while the rest are up because "someone" forgot to push in the circuit breaker...be sure to have your troubleshooters preforming the "suspend" hand signal (arms / flashlights crossed)...lol
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