Close air support

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by ysacres, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. ysacres

    ysacres Well-Known Member

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    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 4396
    (8/16/02 12:46:27 am)
    Reply
    close air support
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    A thread on Brand X got me to thinking about the Ach-47's. Truly the granddaddy of close air support for rotary wing aircraft
    electron.atomic.net/~whitef//



    They were filled with ammo and could hover over 1 spot for 45 minutes firing everything and just shooting the crap out of everything in site.

    Limited to 45 minutes because of the fuel. Those early ones used a lot of jp4 to do anything

    Edited by: warpig883 at: 8/16/02 1:48:15 am


    kdub01
    *TFF Senior Staff*
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    (8/16/02 6:10:53 pm)
    Reply Re: close air support
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    Don't recall hearing of them in a combat situation, Pig -

    Were they successful in VN, Panama, Carribian, Desert Storm, or where?
    "Keep Off The Ridgeline"

    LIKTOSHOOT
    *TFF Senior Staff*
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    (8/16/02 6:18:32 pm)
    Reply Re: close air support
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    VN Kdub...LTS

    warpig883
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    (8/16/02 10:30:42 pm)
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    Re: close air support
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    VN, only built 4 from CH-47A's 3 were destroyed in combat. One found its way to Ft. Eustis Va. as a trainer at the US Army Aviaiton Logistics School. It was there when I was and was quite famous. We were always pointing it out to FNGs. Somewhere I have some pics of it. There was not much left.

    Over the last few years it has been rescued and restored (non flying) and is now on display. Let me know if you want to see pics of it. The name of it is Easy Money.

    There is a following for these among VN vets and rotory wing aviation buffs. All Hookers (CH-47 mechs) know the stories and history of these. They really are quite famous among the Army Aviation crowd.

    The amount of firepower they put down while hovering directly over a target for a long period of time was legendary.


    nighthawksh
    V.I.P. Member
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    (8/17/02 8:32:10 pm)
    Reply Re: close air support
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    Rode a few CH-47s, mostly from Ton Son Nhut to Can Tho and/or Danang. Was like setting inside a washing machine if the rotor timing was off a bit (that's what the fly-boys told me was wrong, but I never nderstood why every one I rode was like that.) But they did feel more secure to me than a Huey.
    Never rode on a gunship, of course. Not in my MOS.
    Stan H ,, nighthawk

    "Those willing to give up freedom in exchange for security will soon discover they have neither"

    warpig883
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    (8/17/02 10:49:19 pm)
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    Re: close air support
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    Actually the Rotoar tuming can't be off. No way No how. If it was it would not fly.

    What was off was the track and balance fo the rotor blades that made for a rough ride. That and the early -47's had skinny metal rotor blades instead of FRBs (fiberglass rotor blades)

    I used to track and balance -47s. The traking was done with reflective tape on the ends of the blades and in level flight witht the rotor speed at 320rpm you would shine a strobe light at the end of the rotor circle and you could see the reflective tape. The tape had different symbols for each blade and you could tell if one was tracking higher or lower than the others and once on the ground adjust accordinly. Before this system was developed this was done on the ground by putting different colors of grease pencil on the ends of the blades and then lightly touching them with a long stick thing WHEN THEY WERE TURNING to see where the blades were tracking.

    Balance was done with accelerometers bolted into specific places in the aft and forward pylons and a little machine that could tell you what point on the clock the vibration was. Then you have to look at a chart and determine what blade needed more or less weight on it.

    I spent many hours flying in -47s doing this and loved it.


    nighthawksh
    V.I.P. Member
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    (8/18/02 11:13:15 am)
    Reply Re: close air support
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    Thanks, WP,,and now I know "the rest of the story",,lol

    all I knew at the time was the '47s seemed (to this soldier) that the machine was shaking a lot.....
    Stan H ,, nighthawk

    "Those willing to give up freedom in exchange for security will soon discover they have neither"

    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
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    (8/18/02 11:58:35 am)
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    Re: close air support
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    Well they were shakers anyway under the best of conditions

    The new ones are SSSSSSSMMMOOOOTTTTTTHHHHHHHH. You can fall asleep in them


    Tank commanderA24
    Member
    Posts: 43
    (8/22/02 1:19:26 pm)
    Reply Re: close air support
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    I was in the Hospital at Ft Stewart with a sh*thook crewcheif and the thing that stood out in my mind was that if the hydraulics weren't leeking you had to set it down and run like hell because you were out of fluid. Saw them in action never got a ride. Well I'm still in so maybe there's a chance.

    TCA24


    Armor Rules
    "Perhaps today is a good day to die!" Mr Worf.

    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
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    (8/22/02 4:01:46 pm)
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    Re: close air support
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    Tankcommander, that was true with the a b and c models they were bad. The D model has over 300 less leak points and better fitting lines and components so much of the leaking problem is taken care of.

    They had a fill spout inside so the crew could add fluid while flying. When our unit retired our our B model Chinooks and flew them to Boeing in the late 80's to be retrofitted into D models there were a couple that made the trip with many
    cases of hyd oil in the back. Crewchief was dumping it in all the time.

    It was the last flight for the old girls and they were really showing their age. They were all mid 1960 models and had had combat damage in VN.

    Most in Army Aviation could not believe that the Army still had any B model -47's in the 1980's. They had long been replaced by C's and Super C's. I believe ours were the last ones.


    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3659
    (9/2/02 11:03:33 am)
    Reply Re: close air support
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    I missed this one, Pig.

    You ACTUALLY were TRAINED to take a stick and touch the ends of the spinning rotors?

    Outside of the fact it's good to see such "high tech" methods being used to support our combat troops,

    Who in the hell thought THAT one up?

    "Specialist, take this furring strip and stick it up next to those rotors after I fire this baby up."

    "Yyyyyyes Sir."
    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 4570
    (9/2/02 11:19:44 am)
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    Re: close air support
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    That is historicaly the way it has always been done Polish. The electronic track and balancer has been around for years but when they are broke down you go back to the old way.



    There was not any training for it. You just got your stick and grabbed the newest private and told him to go to it.

    It was not so bad, the rotor blades on a -47 are way up in the air and there is no danger of getting hit.

    Basically a furring strip with a couple legs nailed on at 90deg angles. Run 100mph tape between the two legs. Get your grease pencils and paint the ends of the blades different colors and touch them with the tape part of your stick once it is fired up.

    I have used this method to stop the vibrations in more than one ceiling fan. Get those blades tracking on the same path and she will smooth right out


    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3661
    (9/3/02 10:44:46 pm)
    Reply Re: close air support
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    Huh...I got two fans that wobble myself....




    But I can see it now...

    WISH-TV News, Indianapolis

    "One Thumbed Polak found dead hung from a spinning ceiling fan, completely wrapped with duct tape with pieces of furring strip stuck in every body orifice. Investigation continues. Film at 11."
    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    kdub01
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 1015
    (9/3/02 10:55:46 pm)
    Reply Re: close air support
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    I gotta' see the tape - I gotta' see the tape!
    "Keep Off The Ridgeline"

    LIKTOSHOOT
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 6023
    (9/7/02 10:14:20 am)
    Reply Re: YO PIG!!!
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    I was watching a History Channel blurb on the events on 9-11 and after. Low and behold some footage from the Osama hill tops and a good view of a twin rotor, standing off about 200 feet on top of a hilltop, just smoking a bunker away. It could have been even lower, but it was pouring in some serious stuff, all coming from one side of the chopper. Appeared to be twin-mini`s, maybe the FA grenade and something else. All coming from the side door area, as it was parallel to the hill, not straight on. Very tough. Could it have been reborn again?? I was shocked to see it. LTS

    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 4633
    (9/7/02 10:22:33 am)
    Reply
    Re: YO PIG!!!
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    The MH-47E's are armed heavily


    It very well could have been a CH-47D
  2. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    This is an old post. That method of adjusting the rotor blades on a Hook is the "flag and pole" method. Sometimes the strobe blade tracking method (sort of like an automotive timeing light) didn't work, so we often used the flag and pole method to track the blades. It is a little nerve wracking to be one of the two guys holding the pole while those 600 pound rotor blades are churning, Think we used red, blue and green tabs on the ends of the blades.

    I thought the flag and pole method much more accurate than the Strobex method, because you could measure the blade tracking with the flag, while you guessed the track at a distance of about 25 feet with the Strobex.

    Depending on where you were and what unit you were with, the CH-47 was used in a number of roles. Lots of guys think the Chinook was used only for supply and troop transport. The 159th of the 101st Airborne flew everything from flame-drop missions to troop insertions in hot LZs. I understand that some of the units down south flew resupply missions excluseively, so it depends where you were. My unit lost 3 ships and 13 crewmen during my tour. We flew the Baby 'C's.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  3. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    I then take it that the hook blades had trim tabs on them near the ends, like our Cobra blades, that you adjusted up or down until you had all the blades flying in the same plane? I was always amazed watching this procedure! :confused:

    I was present in '72 when the hook from the 362nd "Fly United" hook slung a blade on the aft pylon at about 2,500 ft.. It was loaded full with troops fresh in from the field that were headed to Vung Tau for some much needed R & R. All souls on board were lost. I never liked hooks after that. :(
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  4. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    Hi Snakedriver. No, the blades didn't have trim tabs - they were adjusted with 'pitch change links' at the rotor head. Each rotor head (forward and aft) had three blades, and when a rotorblade had to be changed, the blades had to be tracked so that all three were on the same 'plane-path'.

    The pole and flag method was better (in my opinion) because you could measure the tip path closer than by using the Strobex. Only worked as a mechanic a month or so before I went on flight status, but we changed a bunch of blades. Heavey rascals - 600 pounds each. Took a whole maintenance team to do it (about 8-10 guys).

    We recovered bunches of slicks, medevacs and snakes in I Corps.
  5. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    You mean like this???

    Attached Files:

  6. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    Yup, just like that. Had fun recovering slicks. Used to drop the sling clevis ( about 50 pound steel ring that attached to our hook) thru the 'green-house' window as a calling card for the Huey mechanics. Our CO had so many complaints about it he ordered us to quit doing that on purpose. Of course we 'tried' to drop the clevis off to one side, but dang, it must have been magnetic.....

    Always nervous recovering snakes. You guys had lots more firepower than us, and if they got you guys, we were sitting ducks on those recoverys with just our two M-60s. If it was REAL hot, we had a third 'stinger' M-60 on the ramp. The snake drivers were often surprised as to our speed - when we flew flame drop missions with snake escorts we had to slow down so they could keep up.

    We flew with C Company, 159th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion attached to the 101st Airborne Divison out of Phu Bai. That was 1970-1971. Who were you with, Snakedriver?
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  7. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    I was with F/79th ARA attached to the 1st Cav. We were known as Blue Max. In your day, they were designated as 2/20th Artillery. The 101st had a group of ARA Cobras that were called 4/77th ARA - Griffins as I recall.

    Believe me I know about the speed of hooks when they want to go. One day we were escorting one delivering some supplies to the troops when a big bunch of bad guys opened up on him. He punched off the load and was gone in a flash. CH-54 Cranes were remarkably fast too.

    Here's one that I rode in on. They recovery team rigged it as well as possible but the straps broke when the hook got to altitude and it fell into the river from about 4,500 ft.

    blumax12.jpg

    blumax38.jpg

    .........and here is some of the 1st Cav. hooks evacuating a little village up on the Song Be River during the NVA attacks at Easter in 1972. It was pure panic and chaos!

    blumax37.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  8. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    That 1st Cav Hook looks to be an A Model with the aft pylon being pointed in the rear. The B and C models had the aft pylon squared off. Our hooks were the 'Baby C' Model. They were built as Super Cs with T-55L11 engines, but they proved to have too much torque for the gear boxes, so they were down-graded with the T-55L7 Lycombing engines. Still cranked out 1,500 shaft horsepower from each engine, and our military max speed was 165 knots. The A models went to 125 knots.

    Went back on active duty attached to an NG Hook unit in the early 80s and we had A models. That was about the time that the 'Modernization Program' kicked in, and they ended up sending all those ships back to Boeing Vertol for rebuild into D Models. They rolled them out the back door as all new D Models - even had new tail numbers. My old C Model (#6815857) is now an A model, too.

    You ever fly an OH-58? The civilian designatiuon is the 'Bell Jet Ranger'. Our APU was about the size of the engine on those things. I flew on a site recon mission on one in the left seat. Pressed my knee against the inside of the fuselage, and felt it flex. No thanks - I love my Hooks. Hueys were fun to crew, but still too cramped.

    I liked those early snakes that you flew. Really sharp aircraft. Deadly. I can tell you that as a former crewman, when we flew hot missions, it was sure nice to look out the ramp and see a pair of snakes escorting us. You guys earned a bunch of respect from us. Thanks!!
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  9. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    H-13, H-19, H34 ... How quickly things changed.

    Only the Beaver and Otter were still service in VN.

    Pops
  10. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    armedandsafe - I crewed H-34s stateside in 1972 with the 'Guard. Noisy beasts. Flying in the cabin was like riding in a box, only the exhaust stack was right by the door. I crewed that monster because I crewed CH-47s on active duty in Nam, and most of the rest of the NG guys were either dodging the draft or MUCH too old to fly. (My First Sergeant had been a B-17 pilot in WW2). Friend of mine, fresh from the 1st Cav, crewed one of the Hueys, while I drew the H-34 that was as old as I was.

    We had about 5-6 pristine H-13s that the Army Guard gave to the Air Force for gunnery practice. What a waste. Even had one Otter in that unit. The only modern aircraft we had were 1 or 2 UH-1Hs.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  11. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    Had an H-19 evac ship come into Etain from Africa for service. Crew chief's seat was removed so I could get at the electronic cables. Bottom of the seat had 3 little holes in it, but none in the top of the seat. I pulled the cushion out and sure enough, there were three little holes in it, also. I cut the cushion open, removed the bullets which hadn't reach the chief and gave them to him.

    He grinned at me and said, "I thought it felt a little lumpy." :D

    Pops
  12. michael t

    michael t New Member

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    I lost my bird dog to a C-47 crew It had been downed and they lifted out BUT they didn't put spoilers on the wings She started flying and they dropped her . They were nice and put the remains in the back and flew that to junk yard and then dumped it.
    You and your fancy equipment .We had a coat hanger wire on cowl (front sight) and a grease pencil mark on windshield for rear sight This how we fired our rockets to mark target . Of course when rockets (4) were gone we flew in and tossed smoke out the window. Shot 45's m-1 carbines what ever we had out the windows .
    Those were the days Young foolish and bullet proof.
  13. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    Michael t - sorry about the loss of your bird dog. The 'Hook crew likely didn't rig it for recovery - that was usually done by the Black Hats - Pathfinders. They were usually very good about rigging downed aircraft for recovery, but maybe they were not quite up-to-speed on rigging fixed wing aircraft. If it were my mission, the first things I'd have looked for were spoilers on the wings and a drouge-'shoot.

    We recovered many Cobras and Hueys. Most of the Hueys were Medivac ships shot down by our North Vietnamese friends (True Heros, each and every one, I'm sure....) I can't remember ever recovering a fixed-wing. Maybe 6 or so Cobras and 20 Hueys in a year's time.

    The main problem we had on recovery was that we had to pick up and get out as quickley as possible. The bad guys who shot down the first ship was waiting for us, too. A badly rigged slingload was an open invitation to us getting our own ship filled with holes. Then a CH-54 Flying Crane would have to recover our ship.
  14. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    Michael t, here's what I wrote about the little FAC drivers in a short story I wrote:

    "FAC’s (Forward Air Controller) were small propeller-driven planes, which had a single pilot acting as a controller to direct the various tactical aircraft that would arrive overhead from every direction ready to drop their bombs.

    These FAC’s performed an invaluable service for all involved, and helped to keep the busy skies from becoming more dangerous than they already were. Part of the FAC’s job was to prioritize and mark the targets for the attacking planes with small white phosphorous (Willie Pete) rockets carried in rocket pods under their wings. They buzzed around the battlefield at very low altitudes spotting targets and marking them at a frantic pace. It never ceased to amaze me how they would cheerfully dive in on active anti-aircraft gun positions with only a pair of Willie-Pete’s to offer. They were either very brave or completely crazy, I never really decided which. Many of these little planes became easy targets for the NVA gunners and were shot down on a frequent basis."

    Amazing job you guys did!

    While I was on my tour Army Security Agency (ASA) lost one of their fancy U-21 (Beech KingAir) loaded with all their "Top Secret" crypto gear and radios down in III Corp and it crash landed out in the woods intact. Everybody was REALLY upset about that thing laying out in the woods inviting the enemy to come and capture it.

    They put a big ground security team on it chop-chop and we were put on it with 3-Cobras for a 24-hour top-cap. Our orders were to destroy everything if it looked like the enemy was going to capture the thing.

    They finally got it rigged and got a CH-54 to come and get it out. It was all very tense until it was recovered and they had it back in Saigon under control.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  15. michael t

    michael t New Member

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    Now they weren't their Called Radio Research during the 3 months I was unlucky enough to be assigned to them. Could get a CM:eek: for saying Army Security Agency.
  16. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    In mid 1966 we lost a Charlie gun ship in Lao's ( misprint, we were not in Laos at that time and date :cool: ). Engine fuel control shot out so it landed soft in a small clearing. Because of the Location it was deemed too risky to recover { we did pull the crew out, unharmed ), so a quick command decision and a pair of our Falcon Platoon's Charlie Models made gun runs until nothing was left that could be identified as to origin. just a burning heap where once a almost new UH-1C helicopter sat. It was really kind of sad.:(
  17. xm774u

    xm774u Former Guest

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    wow guys i was going to post about the gulf 1990 i was in ill shut up and say thanks
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