Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Gunship - Red-Hot Barrel

RMAF Alouette III Gunship - Sgt(U) Peter Nunis (firing post demonstration)

Question: What causes the Alouette III Gunship's barrel to become red-hot while firing?
Answer:   Non-stop continuous firing of the canon for several minutes.
Question: How to avoid red-hot barrel?
Answer:  Fire 5 to 7 burst per minute.
Question: How to detect red-hot barrel while firing?
Answer: Air gunner will notice a red glowing at the front part of the barrel.
Question: How to cool the red-hot barrel?
Answer: By using an outside air or wind flow of the gunship which has a cooler outside air temperature (OAT) compared to ground temperature.

For in altitude flying condition:
  1. Stop firing immediately and informed the pilot.
  2. Switches the canon to safety.
  3. Do not touch the hot barrel.
  4. Remove the ammo link from the canon.
  5. Open the canon bridge block as to allow vast gushing air flow circulation.
  6. Remove the empty shell bag.
  7. Swing the canon at its maximum to the right pointing the barrel in the forward position flight path.
  8. Fly the gunship in this canon position for several minutes as the gushing airflow that passes through the front of the barrel right into barrel end tip that eventually will cool down the barrel.
  9. Informed pilot when you are ready for the next 'firing order'.
This barrel cooling technique was best applied to any gunship during heavy air to ground firing. The other technique was 'Airborne Barrel Change' which was considered hazardous to the crew and gunship.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Aircrew Flying Experience

Trapped above the clouds

Date logged: April 15, 1979. 
Time: Early morning take-off.  
Itinerary: Butterworth to Kroh.
ETA: 40 minutes.
Aircraft Type: Alouette III-FM1319
Callsign: C45A.
Role: Aircraft Ferry. 
A/C Captain: Lt.(U) T.Malik
Aircrew navigator: Self. 

On that early morning the weather was cool and breezy with slight mist and the air was aromatic fresh as I could feel it, and minutes ago the control tower had declared VMC(Visual Meteorological Conditions). We waited for the weather to clear at least a little while more. I was a "C" Cat. crewman then...well as usual after  carrying out the pre-flight check on the Alouette III then the aircraft was ready. Running or governing the engine at 33,500 rpm the aircraft was cleared for take-off buy the control tower. After 10 minute out, there's low cloud ahead, mind you this mini-car has no radar, and without auto-pilot but had only manual control. To proceed or not and my Captain's decision was to proceed on flying above cloud and I acknowledged. It was beautiful to be above the blanketed-cloud and looks like another platform to heaven. The altimeter indicated 2000 feet above ground. With the port sliding half opened we could feel the fresh air rushing into the aircraft cabin  and it was cooler and fresh but much better than on ground...I swallowed the air. Then closed the sliding door and my navigation continued. The map showed and indicated we are 5 minutes out to abeam  Gunung Pulai, Baling and still no sign of land sighted due to clouds. Damned it!...we are trapped above the cloud and with no reference points and the navigation were made impossible. A little scary with sweats but stayed cool and finally decided to descend the aircraft...suddenly and with God's help... a hole was spotted among the blanketed cloud and it was about to close the ground below ....we gave no chance, dived and submerged into it immediately....still in the cloud, for about 5 seconds...and finally able to viewed the ground terrain  at 300 feet indicated with Gunung Pulai on our 10 o'clock...phew! what a sigh. It was the passage hole among the cloud that saved us that day from uncertainty mishap and we finally proceed safely with low level flying to Kroh now Pengkalan Hulu. Log Closed.
Thanks God for the good day!

Own debrief:
  1. Not to fly above cloud in case of Alouette III helicopter.
  2. Maintain good navigation.
  3. Maintain pilot and aircrew cooperation.
  4. Follow SOP (Standard Operating Procedures).