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Shucks and flashlights.

An instructor pilot was scheduled for three flights in one day in a T-34C. Upon completion of the first flight, the aircraft landed at home field as planned and was refueled. During the preflight inspection of the Turbo-Mentor for the next sortie, the instructor discovered fluid on the cowling. He asked maintenance to check for a possible leak. A mechanic looked over the engine area and stated there was no problem and the aircraft was ready for launch.

The pilot took off and flew the next flight to another air base. Upon landing, the pilot was advised to call his home air station regarding a possible problem. He did and was told the mechanic who had checked out the fluid on the cowling was missing his flashlight and that the instructor needed to examine the engine area for the missing item.

The pilot looked inside the engine compartment for the flashlight but was unable to locate it. The mechanic recommended the pilot check again and pay special attention to the area above the engine. The pilot returned to the aircraft and this time found the flashlight. It had become jammed against the overhead of the engine section. It was removed and the pilot continued with a safe flight.

Grampaw Pettibone says:

Anyone familiar with Louis L'Amour western novels knows the phrase "light a shuck," which refers to the husk around Indian corn that frontier folks lit to help them find their way home after dark. They kept pretty good track of those shucks, so vital were they to their well being. Flashlights are the shucks of today and no less important.

Bravo Zulu to the mech who owned up to missing his flashlight, albeit belatedly. As to the pilot's preflight inspection, he lucked out. Had the missing item jarred loose it could have raised holy you-know-what with the power plant. Bet that pilot has elevated his preflight focus of the engine area, and that's a plus.

Gramps thanks LCdr. John E. Valentine, USCG, Safety Officer of Training Squadron 2, for contributing this story.

Gramps from Yesteryear

Knock, Knock. Who's There?

Ever hear of an intentional midair collision? Two pilots took off in F4U Corsairs for instrument training with one pilot assigned as student, the other as instructor. The instructor in the chase plane later stated he did not have time to brief the student thoroughly because he was rushing to get out on schedule. Neither pilot had occasion to use his radio while on deck, and one of the items not covered in the briefing was radio failure. In the air, the pilots shifted to channel four but did not check their radios immediately due to the volume of traffic on that frequency.

When the instructor did call for a radio check, he received no answer. He then flew alongside his companion F4U only to discover that his student was already under the hood.

By this time, the student was climbing out of the field area on a heading which would take him over the Atlantic Ocean and directly into the aerial gunnery range where other planes were preparing to commence firing runs. The instructor pulled ahead of the student and attempted to lay down enough slipstream to get him to come out from under the hood.

When this didn't work, he decided it would be best to fly up and tap the student's wing tip. After several unsuccessful attempts at hitting the wing tip, the instructor finally came up under the student's right wing and tapped what he thought was a light blow. The student immediately came out from under the hood and both planes returned to base.

Both aircraft required minor repairs.

Grampaw Pettibone says:

Just about the time I think I've heard all the reasons for busting up airplanes, along comes something new.
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Title Annotation:Grampaw Pettibone
Publication:Naval Aviation News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Previous Article:Corrections to Jul-Aug 03.
Next Article:H-1 development continues.

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