Windmill Taxi Start at Danang August 5
It was the last leg of the day--a pax run from Danang
to Tan son
. As I was starting the #4
, the starter button
didn't pop out at 70% like it was supposed to. So I pulled it out
at 72% to make sure that the starter disengaged.
(If the starter remained engaged until the
engine reached full speed it would probably fly apart--don't want
So we shut the other engines down, deplaned our pax, and
the engineer spent about an hour removing the starter shaft. We
buttoned everything up, cranked the 3 good engines and taxied
out for a windmill taxi start
Using those 3 good engines I accelerated down the runway to
100 knots then
crammed on the brakes (fortunately Danang
a nice long runway
). The 100-knot airflow got the prop of
engine turning enough for the engine to sustain itself--sort of an air
start on the runway. I taxied back
in, picked up our pax
with all four engines
running, got a crew duty day extension and leaped off for TSN.
Piece of cake.
I wonder what the pax thought of all
this--it was probably
not a confidence-builder.
Buddy Start at Song Be August 15
To get checked out as an aircraft
commander I needed short field landings. This day I couldn't
schedule any, so I
rode along with a 50th
crew as an Auxiliary Crew
Member. That meant no stick time, but there are always things to
We flew a
bladder bird to Song Be
30,000 lb of JP4
helicopters flying out of there.
When we got overhead Song Be there was a solid overcast and no
instrument approaches available, so we returned to Bien
to wait it out.
After a rain storm the weather at Song Be improved, but its 3400'
was now too wet to land at this heavy weight. So we
offloaded 15,000 lbs of JP4 at Bien Hoa then pressed on to
Be. After some diligent searching we found a hole in the Song
Be's overcast, then made a normal "firm" landing.
We offloaded the JP4 and
cranked up, but the starter button for the #4 engine didn't
pop out (just like a week earlier at Danang). So the engineer
the starter out
while the rest of the crew sampled army
Song Be's runway is too short for a windmill taxi start, so we waited
until another C-130 landed and requested a
We pulled up behind him on the runway with about 5'
tail-to-nose clearance. He set his power to max on all four
engines and his propwash caused us to rock and roll.
It took three attempts to get our #4 prop turning fast enough for the
engine to sustain itself, then it
two minutes to accelerate to normal speed.
Note to self: 5' tail-to-nose
clearance is too much. If
need a buddy start to work on the first try, pull in tight so the nose of your
the tail of the other airplane.