Playing Musical Crews, May 28, 1971
At the beginning of my tour, max crew days were 12 hours. Later
in my tour that was bumped up to 14 hours
1 or 2
(short) fields like Quang
Tri, Dong Ha, Khe
, et al.
On the days that crews weren't scheduled to fly, we pulled 6-hour alert
at Tan Son Nhut. Usually this meant follow-up checks on
maintenance work such as engine runups and functional check
flights. This day we had been on alert at Det One since 12:30 PM,
and it was almost time for the next crew to arrive for the 6:30 PM
shift. That's when things got busy.
Maintenance had been working on one airplane all day while the flight
crew waited. It was finally
fixed and ready to start, but by then the flight crew was already 10
hours into their crew day. So the fresh 6:30 alert crew switched
places with them and took over the 644 mission. The broken-down
crew took over the alert
duty because crew day limits only applied to flying, not engine runups.
Earlier in the day another airplane broke down at Phan Rang
being repaired. By the time it was fixed, its flight crew was completely
out of crew day so they
and the airplane were stuck at Phan Rang. My
crew still had 8 hours available on our crew day so the fresh alert
crew flew us up to Phan Rang so we could bring the other airplane and
crew back to TSN.
we are now enroute to Phan Rang aboard the resurrected 644
mission. Full house. I'm siting on the galley floor to have
some light from the cargo compartment to write by. I'm glad I got
lots of sleep last night--it's gonna be a long night.
Non-Alert, June 7, 1971
was a long
night. We showed up for alert at 1830 expecting 6 hours of engine
runs and letter-writing. Instead we flew 13 hours, finishing at
The airplane had prop problems. The passengers remained on board
while the previous crew taxied out 3 times for engine runups!
Finally maintenance changed the prop valve housing.
we ran it up, the blade angle at flight idle was out of adjustment so
we spent an hour getting that fixed. Next we stopped at Quinhon
to drop off a maintenance team
to work on a broken airplane there. On to
Cam Ranh Bay to deliver our passengers then back to TSN again.
Back at TSN, Saigon Tea told us to take a load of passengers to Danang
, so we
waited a half hour then called back Saigon Tea. This time
they said to go on to Danang empty and pick up a
load for Cam Ranh Bay
reached Cam Ranh Bay about 12 hours
into our crew day so we were pretty tired and cranky by the time the
airplane was offloaded.
the forklift stalled behind the aircraft and it
had to be towed away before we could taxi out. Ah well.
It's one day closer to you.