Tuesday, January 27, 2009
My graduation from Aircraft Electrician School Chanute AFB January 29, 1969
I am the Airman kneeling on the right. In front of a TF-102
Tag Photo to enlarge
January 28th, 2009 will mark the 40th anniversary of my graduation from United States Air Force Aircraft Electrician Technical School at the great old Air Force Base at Chanute, Rantoul, Illinois.
On this day all 9 Airmen in the photo graduated from the course. We got to choose our favorite instructors to pose with us on the left is T/Sgt English and the right S/Sgt Addis. We now were full fledged 3 level Aircraft electricians.
To graduate we had to take a practical test in troubleshooting on an actual aircraft. That aircraft was an old B-66 in one of the hangars. To this day I remember my test.. The work order stated that the “Nose Gear Taxi light was inop” So armed with my tech Order Wiring Diagram for the B-66 I began my troubleshooting, completely beside myself and worrying the whole time I would be the only airman to flunk the test. But fortune smiled upon me that day and I found after many minutes of reading and tracing the wiring diagrams, taking voltage readings, going from cockpit to nose gear a few items, I finally found the problem… A POPPED CIRCUIT BREAKER BEARING THE NOMENCLATURE… TAXI LIGHT. I was so proud of myself! I now was a full fledged Aircraft Electrician.. Well not really.. A few months of training on the C-124 and a test for the Journeyman 5 level then I was an Aircraft Electrician, a job I truly liked.
I remember shortly after this picture was taken we went back to the barracks and found our assignments on our bunks, almost everybody that graduated with me got the base they requested but I didn’t! I had put in for McGuire AFB, N.J. or Dover , AFB Del. Close to home bases but I got sent to my first base at Kelly AFB, Texas and began my career working on C-124’s. It was a great assignment. From there it was, McGuire, Finally, Then Vietnam at Bien Hoa, Cam Ranh Bay and Can Tho,. After serving in Vietnam they usually said you got your choice of bases, I put in for all the Air Force bases in Florida I could find. And got assigned to Loring AFB in Northern Maine. Oh well it was fun anyway. Working on F-106 fighters in the 83rd FIS. A little strange at first because all I ever worked on was recip aircraft.. C-124, C-118’s at Kelly, C-7a’s in Vietnam, C-131, T-29’s at McGuire along with the C-141A’s my first jet. And then the F-106. The six was a big change. Anyway I really enjoyed my time working in the USAF.
Monday, January 26, 2009
THE FLIGHT RADIO OFFICER OPERATOR SITTING BEHIND THE CO-PILOT ON RIGHT ON PAN AM BOEING 314
In today’s blog let’s take a look at one of the most important crew positions in a long haul flight, the long gone, very rarely looked at, Radio Operator. On most airlines the pecking order of command on long haul over the water type operations fell in this order of command.
2. First Officer
4. Radio officer
5. Flight engineer
As is the tradition the Captain (Flight Officer Type) is in complete charge of the airplane and crew during the flight. He makes all the command decisions, and all crew members obey his orders. Now actually all decisions are usually based upon recommendations from other pertinent crew members.
The Flight Radio Officer would conduct the majority of the communications between the plane and ground via CW (Morse Code) with a key or via voice communications over HF Frequencies or later VHF. The Radio Officer was responsible for the tuning and proper operation of all the airborne radio equipment.
A lot of the over land communications was done by the pilot, but on occasion the Radio Officer took over and did the communications between airport towers, usually limited to periods immediately prior to and during takeoffs and landings. All tower operations were conducted by radio telephone, seldom over distances over 20 miles. As stated the pilot usually did this communicating so that the necessary information and instructions can be changed without any delay aboard the aircraft.
During the flight, messages are exchanged with ground stations. When these stations are specifically for two way communications with other planes, during the early years 30’s thru the 50’s CW was employed for the longer distances and was handled by the Flight Radio Officer.
Why the Radio Officer was so important on a flight falls in this direction. All the position reports, weather, messages from the pilot were handled by the Radio Officer. All weather, bearings, POR reports that came from the navigator were handled by the Radio Officer. The Radio Officer in turn transmitted all reports or messages to other planes, Communication stations, weather reports to ocean stations, received and coordinated with Direction Finding stations the position of the aircraft.
DC-4 RADIO STATION ON BOARD
The Aircraft Required Equipment: This will vary with the Airline.
1. The aircraft shall be equipped with at least one each of the following units:
2. Aircraft communications transmitter, A1, A2, A3 emission, medium-frequency and high-frequency, with external loading unit.
3. Aircraft communications receiver covering bands approximately 200 kc/s to 18 mc/s.
4. Aircraft VHF communications transceiver.
5.Automatic direction-finder with manual rotation control.
6. Marker beacon receiver.
7. Jack boxes, microphones, headphones, range filter, appropriate power supplies.
During a flight the Captain would approve each message before transmission by the Radio Officer.
When flying on domestic airways, the pilot usually originates position reports. At other times, the reports could also originate from the Navigator, who is actually setting the course.
On all long haul flight s the Radio Officer was required to:
1. Attend briefing and preflight discussion.
2. Collect necessary codes (if applicable,) papers, and equipment.
3. Preflight test of radio equipment
4. Establish communication with control station.
5. Carry out communication procedure for departure if needed and requested by Pilot
6. Maintain watch on control frequency.
7. Send periodical position reports to operations via CW.
8. Make all necessary airways VOICE contacts.
9. Obtain loop bearings and fixes, plot fixes.
10. Obtain weather reports, decode and pass to pilot.
11. Home on "broadcast" station or determine overhead or close abeams.
12. Listen in to pilot using radio approach and landing aids.
13. Complete a radio log.
RADIO OFFICERS LOG AND REPORT SHEETS
At the conclusion of a flight the Radio Officer is expected to sign the planes log book and to record all information regarding malfunctioning of the radio equipment. Also he is responsible for making any minor repairs on his radio equipment.
All Radio Officers lived by this General Rule:
NEVER ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT OF ANYTHING UNLESS YOU ARE CERTAIN YOU HAVE IT CORRECTLY. ALWAYS USE YOUR BEST JUDGEMENT.
Flight Radio Officer’s fell under the CAA Manual CAM 33. In 1956 the following was required of a Radio Officer to have and operate with a Commercial Radio Operators License. And be able to use and understand
Aircraft radio installations.
(a) Communications equipment. HF and MF communications transmitters and receivers; VHF communications units.
(b) Radio navigation equipment. Range receiver and filter, ADF and MDF; marker beacon receiver; omni-range receiver; ILS receivers and indicator; LORAN; radio altimeter.
(c) Other equipment. Intercom; audio control boxes; isolation amplifier; life raft radio; aircraft antennas; radio control panels; flux gate compass.
(iv) Aircraft electrical system. Student should be familiar with the basic primary electrical system of one of the long-range aircraft Constellation, DC-4, DC-6, or Boeing 377), including at least the following items:
(a) Generators. Principles of operation; method of mounting and driving; rated output; connection to main bus; carbon-pile voltage regulators; differential-voltage reverse- current relays; field circuit breakers; equalizers; field switches; procedure in event of generator failure.
(b) Batteries. Location; ampere-hour capacity; connection in system; utilization of outside power on ground.
(c) General. Type of wiring (single or two-wire) in electrical system; use of a. c. on aircraft; means of obtaining a. c.; fuses, precaution in changing fuses; circuit breakers; bonding and shielding.
(v) Ground radio aids.
(a) Communications. Agencies furnishing ground-to-air communications in United States; outside United States.
(b) Radio range stations. Four-course aural; VOR; VAR; MOR.
(c) Radio beacons. Class "H" facilities; marine radio beacons; fan marker beacons; "Z" marker beacons; bone-shaped marker beacons..
(d) Other radio aids to navigation. Ground D/F; broadcast stations; ocean station vessels (OSV's); Consol.
(vi) Radio navigation.
(a) Aircraft D/F procedures. Relative bearings; magnetic bearings; true bearings; homing; abeams; orientation; distance-off; overheads.
(b) Errors and corrections in radio direction finding. Coastline effect; terrain error; night effect; Mercator correction; turning and banking errors; quadrantal error.
(c) Radio navigation charts. Description of charts used in long-range operations; plotting radio bearings.
(d) Radio letdowns. Range; QDM; ILS; GCA.
(e) LORAN. Basic theory; operation aboard aircraft.
(vii) Operating procedures.
(a) Preflight inspection and radio check. Action in the event of radio failure.
(b) Communications facilities provided and nature of service given to aircraft.
(c) Position reporting, calling, acknowledgment, departure and arrival radio procedure.
(d) Suitable frequencies for DAY and NIGHT long-distance flights, changing radio guard.
(e) ICAO air-to-ground radio procedures-routine and emergency-radiotelegraph and radiotelephone.
(f) Conditions justifying transmission of distress, urgency, and safety signals; procedure during distress traffic; radio communications during ditchings and forced landings; cancellation of aircraft distress and emergency traffic; use of liferaft radio.
(g) ICAO "Q" Code,1 abbreviations and complementary code.
1 "Q" Signals:
QAB through QAZ, QBA, QBC, (used with QMI, QFT, QBJ, QMZ, and QTH). QBF, QBG, QBH, QBI, QBS, QBV, QBX, QCB, QCE, QDL, QDM, QDR, QDT, QDX, QFE, QFG, QFH, QFM, QFS, QGE, QGJ, QGQ, QGZ, QHH, QID, QLH, QMH, QMZ, QNI, QNT, QRD, QUG, QUO, QUR, QUS, QUU, QUV, QUX.
(h) Communications in air traffic control; air traffic control standards and procedures; oceanic air traffic control (OATC); communication in GCA work.
(i) Meteorological broadcasts; codes.
(j) Time signals.
(k) Search and Rescue procedure; ocean station vessels (OSV's).
Flight Training consisted of:
) Flight training. A minimum of 25 hours of flight training will be required on a multiengine aircraft incorporating a built-in flight radio operator station. This training may be conducted on flights which are engaged in other than training operations, including scheduled air carrier or other operations where passengers or cargo are carried for hire. All flight training, however, must be given under the direct supervision of a certificated flight radio operator.
Approximately 50 percent of the flight training should be devoted to practical radio navigation. The remainder should be allotted to CW and VOICE communications.
A nice job, when flying was interesting!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tiger DC-4 on the Ramp.
This is the amazing story of a DC-4 that ditched in the Pacific Ocean. The Aircraft was owned and operated by Flying Tiger Inc. What is interesting in this story is how the complex fuel management system on board the DC-4 basically caused the accident.
I've always liked Flying Tiger, actually flew on one of their big DC-8-62's From McChord AFB Washington to South Vietnam over the blue Pacific.
Anyway here is the story. I used the actual investigation from the CAB report and info from a story about the crash published in Saga Magazine and also segemsnts taken from a C-54/DC-4 operating manual to explain the complex system.
DITCHED IN THE PACIFIC
THE DITCHING OF FLYING TIGER
SEPTEMBER 24, 1955
The crew of Flying Tiger Flight 7413-23 9 (Tiger 433) met in flight operations at Travis Air Force Base California early in the morning on September 24, 1955. The flight was a cargo flight loaded with 15,330 lbs. of cargo, (jet engines) destined for Tokyo, Japan.
The aircraft was a Douglas DC-4, serial number 10410, owned and operated by Flying Tiger Line inc. The aircraft was manufactured on September 23, 1940, and had a total of 25,590. The aircraft was equipped with Pratt And Whitney R-2000-7N2 with Hamilton Standard model 23850 propellers. Flying Tiger owned the aircraft on January 14, 1955.
No. 1 1,300 hours
No. 2 1,300 hours
No. 3 1,300 hours
No. 4 800 hours
The total time of the engines varied between 6,037 and 11,428 hours.
The crew consisted of Captain A. J. Machado, First Officer W.F. Gin, Co-pilot R. C. Hightower, and Navigators R.C. Olsen and D. Ventresca.
The trip departed Travis at 0958 and arrived at Honolulu at 2211. The aircraft was refueled, at Honolulu to 3,016 gallons for the flight to Wake Island the next scheduled refueling stop. There was no off loading in Honolulu.
Weights @ Honolulu
G/W@T/O..72,993 Actual T/O weight at Honolulu.
The aircraft departed Honolulu @ 0013, September 24, 1955. On an IFR flight plan to Wake Island Airport. The filed route was Green 9, Rhumbline track, to maintain 8,000 feet.
The dispatchers informed the crew that the weather they would encounter along the route consisted of a low pressure trough that they would cross at the 165 degrees of west longitude. There were no fronts to be crossed enroute. Scattered cumulus clouds would prevail on most of the route with tops extending to 12,000 feet.
The take off from Honolulu was uneventful. First Officer Warren Fong Gin who had 7.603 total flying hours with only 360 in the DC-4 seated on the left made the takeoff.
Captain Anthony J. Machado, was seated in the right seat, Captain Machado a very experienced pilot held ratings in DC-3/4/6 and C-46 aircraft he had a total of 13,450 hours of which 8,895 were in the DC-4. Co-pilot Robert Carl Hightower who had a total of 1,328 hours with only 20 of those hours in the DC-4 was seated on the jump seat between the pilots. The aircraft took off with all main tanks full of fuel, (total of 1,942 in the mains). The fuel management was set up so that the four main tanks supplied fuel to their respective engines. Also at takeoff the two outboard aux tanks were full (412 gallons each) and the two inboard aux tanks contained 130 gallons each. The inboard tanks had a capacity of 362 gallons each.
In cockpit behind the three pilots were the navigators Dominic Ventesca and Richard Carl Olsen. Olsen was Chief Navigator and Radio Officer for Flying Tiger line. The navigators were responsible for giving the Captain Machado while flying the route to Honolulu Tiger 433’s navigators gave hourly position reports to Honolulu ATC, the reports consisted of current Position, fuel remaining, ETA next Position and a weather report.
About one hour 0115 into the flight Captain Machado retired to a crew bunk to rest. Co-pilot Hightower took his seat which left first Officer Gin in charge.
The Control Pedestal on the DC-4, Showing Fuel selector levers.
The cruise control plan established by the crew required that when the main tanks were down to 400 gallons, Gin was too put No. 1 and No.2 engines on No. 2 auxiliary tank and engines 3 and 4 on No. 3 auxiliary tank with the crossfeed control positioned to each pair of engines. This required that when the fuel in the inboard aux tanks (no. 2@3 ) was down to around 20 gallons in each tank, the fuel selectors were positioned to the outboard aux tanks (no 1@4).
When Captain Machado returned to the flight deck after about five hours of rest this was the position the fuel selectors were in. He immediately took the left hand seat. First Officer Gin moved over the right seat relieving Hightower. At this time according to the crew there were 40 gallons in No. 1 aux tank supplying No. 1 and 2 engines, and 100 gallons in No. 4 aux tank supplying No. 3 and 4 engines. No. 2 and 3 aux tanks were empty because First Officer Gin had positioned selectors to transfer the remaining fuel) 20 gallons each) in the inboard aux tanks after switching from the outboard aux tanks.
At 0630 Tiger 433 was transferred to Wake Island ARTC for the remainder of the flight.
Approximately ten minutes after Captain Machado (0633) returned to the flight deck, No. 1 engine sputtered and quit, its fuel pressure dropped to zero. The captain immediately moved the No. 2 and 3 fuel selectors from off to full forward position, the other aux selectors were already in the full forward position. MISTAKENLY THINKING THIS IS THE POSITION FOR THE MAIN TANKS. He also shut off the crossfeeds. Then the No. 3 engine sputtered and quit and its fuel pressure dropped to zero. Captain Machado realized his error and immediately pulled all four selectors to the center or main tank position and moved the four mixture controls to the auto rich position.
During the emergency No. 2 engine also quit and its fuel pressure gauge read zero. Each fuel selector was checked for main tank position, they were found to be so positioned with crossfeeds off and main boost pumps on. The Captain then moved the crossfeed controls to the “All engines to Crossfeed” position which resulted in the fuel pressure of No. 4 engine fluctuating. Quickly the crossfeed valves were then shut off and No. 4 engine became stabilized. At this time the No. 1, 2 and 3 props continued to windmill with their respective selectors on the main tanks, main boost pumps and crossfeeds off. Captain Machado held them in this condition for a time period he thought would be sufficient for restarting the engines. Unfortunately the engines did not restart and their fuel pressures remained at Zero. Captain Machado had no alternative but to feather the No. 1, 2 and 3 props, and put the No. 4 engine at full power.
Three minutes later at 0633 Tiger 433 reported to Wake ARTC they were declaring an emergency, they advised Wake that they had lost three engines and were unable to return to Honolulu.
With the loss of three engines the aircraft began to descend. It was descending at airspeed of 135-140 knots. Engines No. 1 and No. 2 were unfeathered and separate attempts were made by the Captain to restart the, both attempts failed. The crew had no option but to refeather the engines and try to start No. 3 engine.
During the descent the captain ordered the men into their life vests. On the flight deck Captain Machado and First Officer Gin and Co-pilot Hightower standing between them were struggling to get an engine started.
During this rapid descent Navigator Ventresca went into in the cargo compartment and was trying to unlash and release the bulky cargo. Olsen was seated at the radio sending SOS and mayday reports to Wake, at a thousand feet above the ocean he clamped down his key so that a continues signal would be sent Olsen then took a position behind Gin’s seat and braced himself for the impact. Ventresca reported he was at the back of the aircraft braced against a bulk head. Hightower went back and seated himself in the radio operators seat.
But in the attempt to start the engines the aircraft struck the water in a slightly nose high attitude.
Finally around 500 feet Captain Machado took the controls and banked the aircraft so as to follow the rough swells that he could see on the dark ocean and brought the aircraft down.
The impact was at first not to bad but then a hard crashing jolt hit the aircraft. Captain Machado hit his head on the instrument panel and was knocked out. The cold sea water rushing into the aircraft woke the Captain. On the second impact the cargo broke loose and moving rapidly forward trapped First Officer Gin and Hightower, who was sitting in the radio operator’s seat. After the aircraft came to a stop Navigator Olsen opened the astrodome and Captain Machado desperately attempted to help the two trapped crew men from their seats. In a struggle the four men left the aircraft through the astrodome. The men floated in the sea looking at the aircraft rising and falling in the swells. Realizing the Ventresca was in the cargo compartment Captain Machado made his way back to the stabilizer and on the fuselage above the cargo door tried to open it but could would not open. He called to Ventresca to open the door from the inside, but Ventresca said he could not see and wanted to know which way to go. Unfortunately the men on the outside could not open the crew door and Navigator Ventresca who was still in the cargo compartment was trapped and sank with the aircraft.
Three of the crew had on their life jackets, Captain Machado could not locate his jacket. The men went into the water as the aircraft sank. Captain Machado had no life jacket until First Officer Gin and Navigator Olsen both died in the water during the more than 30 hours they were awaiting rescue. Captain Machado and Co-pilot Hightower both survived this horrendous ordeal suffering from impact injuries and shark bites during their hours in the water.
The amazing story of their survival while floating the ocean among sharks and heavy weather for over 30 hours was written in an Article by Edward Perry Stafford entitled “The Tigers and the Sharks”.in the August 1964 issue.
Flying Tigers DC-4’s operated with a fuel system that included a 6 tank configuration and a 8 tank configuration which had different fuel selector positions. The Fuel selector positions on the 6 tank system were REAR-OFF; CENTER-AUXILIARY TANKS; FORWARD-MAIN TANKS. The DC-4 8 tank positions for the fuel selectors are: REAR-OFF;CENTER-MAIN TANKS; FORWARD-AUXILIARY TANKS.
According to records Captain Machado had piloted both types of the fuel selector DC-4 aircraft.
All pilot crewmembers were all checked out on these systems on the DC-4.
During the investigation flight tests were made on November 8. 1955 at the request of the Board and were observed by CAB personnel. The tests were conducted in a DC-4 equipped with the 8 tank system as installed on N90433. All possible reactions to the positioning of the control positions that Captain Machado listed in his report, including those before and those after he “Realized his mistake” in his first positioning of the fuel tank selectors.
Segments from the fuel operation system on a C-54/DC-4
The flight tests proved conclusively that if No. 1, 2, and 3 props had been allowed to windmill with fuel system and engine controls in the configurations described by Captain Machado, the engines would have restarted. The conditions described in the Captain’s report were: Ignition on; fuel selectors positioned on the main tanks for each respective engine; main tank boosts on; mixture auto rich; crossfeeds off.
While feathering the three propellers would slow the rate of descent the action definitely removed any possibility of restarting the engines while in that condition. The separate unfeathering of the propellers and the starting attempts probably consumed more time and altitude than the original feathering may have gained.
It is evident that if the remaining fuel (20 gallons each) in Nos 2 and 3 aux tanks had not been transferred by First Officer Gin, the loss of power would not have occurred when it did even though Nos 2 and 3 fuel selectors were incorrectly positioned for an indefinite period after the loss of power on the three engines.
Segment from C-54/ DC-4 Operating manual
If the fuel transfer had not been made, the additional normal flight time would have allowed the captain to make a thorough survey of the fuel situation and then an unhurried routine switching of each main tank to its respective engine. According to six hourly radio reports from the flight prior to the emergency, fuel consumption had been a uniform 200 gallons per hour for the four engines. Each main tank contained 400 gallons at the time of Captain Machado's return to the flight deck, according to his statement, and this amount of fuel was sufficient for approximately eight hours of flight. The flight tests also showed that even though the fuel transfer was made and the three engines subsequently stopped. there was more than sufficient time from the altitude of 8,000 feet to restart the engines. The practice employed by the crew in allowing two engines to be operated on one auxiliary tank down to 20 gallons of fuel is considered poor operating practice.
By reason of the positive results obtained in the flight tests, the Board concludes that the captain's and copilot's recollection of events occurring after the loss of power, as described in their statements, was incorrect an to action and/or sequence. This absence of accurate recollection is understandable when consideration is given to the stress of the emergency and subsequent events after the ditching and before rescue.
On the basis of all available evidence the Board finds that:
The carrier, the aircraft, and the crew were currently certificated.
According to company records., the load was within specified limits and properly distributed.
Weather or navigation was not a factor in the accident.
There was sufficient fuel aboard the aircraft to reach the destination.
Loss of power was experienced in three engines because of the positioning of fuel selectors on empty or nearly empty tanks.
The failure to restart the three engines was due to incorrect technique or improper method of using fuel selectors end associated controls.
The Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the loss of power in three engines due to incorrect fuel system management and faulty restarting methods which resulted in the ditching of the aircraft.
BY THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD:
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
THE FLIGHT DECK ON A PAN AM B-314 FLYING BOATTHE NAVIGATOR STANDING AT THE LEFT
TAG PHOTO TO ENLARGE
THE LONG LOST FLIGHT NAVIGATOR
Can anyone remember the time when the navigation of a long haul airline flight depended upon the skill of a human ? A guy they called the navigator. A time when navigation was with pencil, map, sextant, sun and stars and not on some bland, black box run by electronics? A time when the navigator took over during a flight after leaving land ? Oh yes there were aids on land low frequency radio aids, lights, homing beacons, but remember when flying over water these aids did not help the crew they were quite useless.
The Professional Flight Navigator, like the professional Radio Operator, both crew members on over water airline flights have long been forgotten in civil aviation. The Navigator on board aircraft had there origins at sea where the need for accurate position was needed by ships travelling long distances on the ocean. With the advent of the airplane, airborne navigation was designed to help the flight crew know its position over the water. The technique was the same as the maritime methods, but the speed created more of problem. During the war years aerial navigation developed into a sophisticated science. Early aerial navigation methods grew into the development of radio navigation aids, and progressed into the sophisticated satellite navigation of today.
From the very beginning of airline flying, all over water flights carried a navigator. The navigator was an integral part of the flight crew . All large four engine transports used on the over water flights had a position for the navigator.
Remember the picture of the old Pan Am Boeing 314 Flying Boat and the view of the flight deck with the navigator standing at his chart table as if he was on board an ocean liner? The navigator on these boats had a well lit chart table below two large windows, out of which he could make certain navigational sights. He also had telescopic drift sight and a large panel to hold all his navigation instruments. On DC-4’s, DC-6’s, DC’7s and Connies etc. the navigator had his own flight station, although not as elaborate as the old Flying boat, but just as efficient.
PAN AM NAVIGATOR SHOOTING THE STARS
The navigator’s of that time period worked at their station on a small table affixed to the aircraft. At his station he had charts, an accurate time piece, (Chronograph) a weems plotter, a slide or circular flight computer, his air almanac, HQ 249 star tables, his sextant locked in a framed box, a pair of dividers, many pencils. On later flights he would have a LORAN set to work out lines of position.
What brought this subject to mind was an article I found in Flight International magazine from October 11, 1962. I t was sort of a sad story about how TWA was now relying upon A Bendix electronic Doppler navigation system to navigate their Boeing 707’s over the ocean. And the way of the Navigator was going into the books.
On October 1, 1962, TWA flew its first two Atlantic Crossings without the use of a human navigator, relying instead on duplicate Bendix Doppler computers operated by the pilots. So began the demise of the human flight navigator. Just the day before these flights TWA furloughed 37 of its 55 navigators. Thus began a new era in trans Atlantic navigation. The Airline Navigators Association was strenuously contesting this new “Do it yourself Navigation”. Their argument was set upon the fact that Doppler Navigation might reduce ATC separations over the Atlantic.
TWA claimed they had been testing Doppler navigation on their 707’s for over two years, proving to themselves and the FAA that they can dispense with navigators without the loss of safety or track keeping accuracy.
The ANA argued that they had reports from military and civil research agencies and from its own members that the Mid Atlantic Shelf has magnetic anomalies, which interfere with compasses and radio propagation causing unchangeable navigation errors of significant magnitude.
TWA NAVIGATOR ON A CONNIE
It seems the demise for the navigators came when TWA pilots stated that they spend between 15 and 20 minutes plotting fixes with the Doppler and reporting position reports during the overseas flight and that they are no more occupied with navigation than during normal airway flying over Europe or United States.
The two innagural navigstorless flights made from New York to London and Paris, made landfall respectively ten miles and two miles off course after 1,750 or more miles over ocean. The London flight was four miles south of track with the Doppler according to a fix plotted by radar on the ocean station vessel Charlie.
The navigators livelihood was at stake at TWA. The Doppler was thoroughly tested and the most damaging thing to the navigators was the pilots report on the ease of Doppler Navigation. So began the demise of the Flight Navigator.
The final issue of the Flight Navigator’s on board aircraft of TWA was concluded with the Airline Navigators Association in 1964 agreeing to surrender their jobs at TWA in return for a up front cash payment plus three years of severance pay and health insurance.
So like the Navigator's who once flew the oceans for TWA, the airline itself was ended with it's final flight on December 1, 2001 with an MD-80 Aircraft (N948TW). The ceremonial last flight was Flight 220 from Kansas City, Missouri, to St. Louis, with CEO Captain William Compton at the controls. The final flight before TWA officially became part of American Airlines was completed between St. Louis and Las Vegas, Nevada, also on December 1, 2001. At 10:00 p.m. CST on that date, employees began removing all TWA signs and placards from airports around the country, replacing them with American Airlines signs. At midnight, all TWA flights officially became listed as American Airlines flights. Some aircraft carried hybrid American/TWA livery during the transition, with American's tricolor stripe on the fuselage and TWA titles on the tail and forward fuselage. Signage still bears the TWA logo in portions of Concourse D at Lambert St. Louis International Airport. On some MD-80 aircraft, the cabinets retain TWA logos.
How can I let the most famous airline navigator in the movies, the hard working Lenny Wilby from the movie “The High And The Mighty not be recognized?
As TOPAC Flight 420 passes the infamous Point Of No Return at 9,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean on a flight from Honolulu to San Fransico, the No. 1 engine throws a prop and the insuing fire cause the engine to break free from the mounting bolts and hangs partially off the wing causing an increase in drag. Anyway, with more than a 1,000 miles to go the engine breached the left wing's outboard fuel tank (#1) resulting in the loss of a critical 200 gallons of the less than 1,300 of fuel that remained from the original 3,050 gallon load which the DC-4 had taken on at Honolulu. That’s the scene.
Now Navigator Lenny Wilby at first believes the airliner has enough fuel to make land, but then finds an error in his calculations and realizes they will run out "11 minutes short" of the airport unless the winds change. His error was he used statute miles instead of nautical miles and came up a little short. Looks like they may have to ditch the bird in the ocean.
LENNY THE NAV STANDING BETWEEN THE PILOTS ON THE DC-4
As usually happens in movies of that time period the out come is good. And after more than six hours of terror, the airliner ultimately just makes it to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) but touches down with only two of its four engines still operating as Dan Roman (John Wayne The Hero of the Flight) had been forced to feather #4 when it also failed owing to fuel starvation shortly after passing the OM on its (ILS) approach to that field's Runway 28R
Great Movie, and Lenny did correct his error!