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CJ Martin

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Posts posted by CJ Martin

  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.



  2. 8 hours ago, 11bee said:

    Great explanation.   That “final checker” is inches away from the engine exhausts.    No way I’d want that job.   I’ll take my cold, wet (and quiet) foxhole anytime!  


    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. 19 hours ago, 11bee said:

    Interesting approach.   Given that the Marines are probably the worse off out of all the services on aircraft readiness rates, they may want to follow along closely.


    Who's the contractor running this program?   I work with a good number of major C&E outfits (nothing to do with military projects), one of those guys mentioned something similar but didn't provide any details. 


    Regards - A Jaded Forum Type


    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. 15 hours ago, Janissary said:

    GW, Collin, CJ (and others whom I may have missed); 


    First of all, remembering myself as a teenager fascinated with US naval aviation (and not growing up in the U.S.), it still feels surreal to be hanging out with folks like you who were a part of the real thing, right in the middle of the action. My parents still have the Betamax tapes of CNN news from the first gulf war where I would sit in front of the TV for hours and record anything that had to with the air campaign. The first time I touched a Tomcat was in 2007 in San Diego on USS Midway. It was electric. I was overwhelmed with emotions. My knees shook. I kissed the damn thing - no kidding. You probably find all that weird, but I guess when you're fascinated with something in your formative years with next to zero access to it, this happens. Anyway...


    Two things I am curious about:


    (1) When you were in the Navy, did you know that the Tomcat was a legend and it would amass this amount of interest from the general public? If you knew that, did it also impress you that way when you were enlisted, or was it just a piece of loud machinery that was your 'job'? What kind of a connection did you have with the Tomcat? Did you build plastic models of it at all? Did you take pictures of the jets for your own reference 'just in case'?


    (2) Besides these modeling-related pages and the facebook pages I've seen for various squadrons for current and former service members to connect, what other active communities (online or not) are there where naval aviation, the aircrafts, your day to day work etc. are a central topic of interest?  Basically, what other podiums are there where the audience is interested in the details of your life as a service member in the Navy. I guess I am trying to figure out if modeling communities like ARC are significant in 'keeping the memories alive'.  


    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. 

  8. 32 minutes ago, Craig Baldwin said:


    Holy Crap, that guy near the aft end  during the launch. WOW!!!


    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.

  9. 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.



  10. 16 hours ago, GW8345 said:

    A few notes.


    The Bravo's and Delta's were restricted from going into burner on the cat for two reasons, they would burn through the JBD and would out run the shuttle halfway down the cat stroke. (and personally, I'd rather they didn't go into burner, got tired of getting me arse fried by Alpha's when they went to burner)


    The spoilers were primary flight controls and both sides would pop up when the wings were initially spread and the flap/slats were dropped. This was done as the bird was taxing up to the cat before it was put in kneel, after that, with the bird in kneel, only one wing would pop at a time during stick wipe out checks.


    Also, when the bird was in tension and doing the stick wipe out, the nozzles would be closed.


    During the wipe out the final checker would be looking for; launch bar in shuttle properly, spoilers pop, stabs rotate, rudders move in unison , nozzles puckered, no leaks, nothing has fallen off, thumbs up and hang on to the padeye.


    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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. The A+/B also swapped out the ARC-159 radios for the ARC-182's. Side story, CVW-1 was the test CAG for the ARC-182s and as such the Tomcats and E-2Cs were field modified to equip these radios and the KY-58 cypto. This was in the mid-80s, all our birds had 182s when I checked int VF-33 in early 85. We had a mix of jets and every block had separate wiring diagrams, really just blueprints. Troubleshooting comm wiring gripes sucked. Fortunately the 182 itself was a good radio.



  14. She was my home for nearly a year of my life. Aside from six weeks aboard the Roosevelt during shakedown (yeah I'm old), all my sea time was aboard America. The air conditioning only worked worth a damn when we were above the arctic circle, the freshwater was constantly fouled with JP-5 which lead to all sorts of weird skin rashes, and the showers ran somewhere between "live steam" to nothing to "ice cold" completely randomly (and often all three within a five minute period). But she took us to combat and got us all home safely. Better to go down like this than to the scrappers torch. RIP

  15. On 6/29/2018 at 10:09 PM, 11bee said:

    One thing I really liked about your sims was the fidelity of the weapons and avionics.  I still think you guys might have pushed the OPSEC boundaries a bit further than you should have 🙂 but it was all good.  


    We were very careful about this because of my previous work on the Hornet program. I needed two public sources for anything we put in the game. Jane's Information Group was a huge help. I had bookshelves full of the stuff they sent, plus I could email or even call and ask specific questions. Boeing was putting out all kinds of PR back then and we used that stuff for the cockpit layout (I was able to order a near full size poster of the F/A-18E cockpit from the Boeing store for example), to reverse engineer displays and all kinds of other things. There were a lot of similarities between the Hornet and Eagle avionics systems so work that we did for the F-15 was pretty easy to adapt. There was a fair amount of smoke and mirrors going on too. You'd be pretty surprised if you saw how simple the radar model really was. It was very basic, but damn effective. We had great programmers and artists.



  16. 11bee, my former co-worker from the Baltimore EA office, Matt "Wags"Wagner is the Executive Producer for this latest game. Wags built the majority of the missions in Jane's F/A-18 and was my right hand man. He's a great guy and very talented, and it's cool to see him continue to push the state of the art.

  17. On 5/16/2018 at 6:00 PM, shion said:

    At least, it is consistent.

    Overdone panel lines, overdone GPS dome and overdone fences.


    Having spent a fair amount of my youth standing  / working on (and in one unfortunate incident, falling from) the real thing, I have to agree. Those panel lines are pretty big. It will be interesting to see how this looks with some primer/paint.

  18. I am 99% sure the above pic labeled "NF-14D 161865 " is actually F-14A 159455. Spent many hours on this jet and the two "D minus" aircraft while on active duty at Pax. The D minus jets are the pair with Delta avionics and TF-30's. All three are on display on base, with SD 202/159455 in front of hanger 115, SD 220/161623 at the Museum, and SD 221/162595 in front of the Aviation Physiology building.

  19. I was East coast (CVW-1/VF-33) in the mid 80s and yeah, cranial designs were very much an individual thing. The only thing we had to do was have some minimum area of white reflective tape. That amount escapes me. Also most cranials from that era would have a 2"x2" or so square of black velcro on the front, this was supposed to allow you to stick your strobe light on your head in the event you went into the water. Our squadron PRs made black velcro stars so we had stars instead of squares. I might have my old fleet back shells somewhere, if I can find them this weekend I'll try to post some pics.

  20. 17 hours ago, 11bee said:

    CJ - I remember you, you were a legend in the flight sim world.    Made the best sims bar none.    Longbow2 was my favorite.    Sad day when Janes closed down.    



    Yikes! Well thanks for the kind words, hard to believe those glory days were 20ish years ago now. It was a cool gig, the money and benefits were great, but the hours and stress level sucked. The Jane's Combat Simulation brand was doomed as soon as Paul Grace retired - he set that deal up and was a constant champion for flight sims within corporate EA. That and the rise of shooters, games that were capable of generating huge initial sales with lower cost of goods (no big manuals, fancy key cards and other cool little babbles) for the same investment...it was a no brainer for EA to exit that niche when they did. We had a great crew in Baltimore and losing that was the worst part.


    And speaking of DCS, the Executive Producer Matt Wagner used to work for me - we hired him from a three letter government agency to be an associate designer after we shipped F-15. He built pretty much all the campaign missions in F/A-18 and did a host of other stuff. He's done well for himself since those days and we are still in touch.

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