Poll

Considering this thread, please indicate your preference wrt CH 147 crew:

Sr/Jr FE.  The status quo currently and how the job was performed in Afghanistan from 08-11.  Also the US Army system.
FE/LM.  The system formerly used by Canada.  Still used by the UK and abandoned by the US Army after trials years ago
Sr FE/Tech crewman (AVN).  Although TCs have gotten a bad rap on the CC 17, there is feasibility to this system.
None of the above.  If using this option, please indicate your solution below.

Author Topic: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate  (Read 55553 times)

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Offline HeavyHooker

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CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« on: August 14, 2011, 15:33:50 »
Does anybody out here have anything more solid on whether or not the backender situation for the Foxtrots has been squared away?  Obviously both FEs and LMs are fighting to get their men on the new birds and some bitterness has snuck into this debate.  It really breaks down to whether we want to stick with what has worked for us in Afghanistan with a Sr/Jr FE team in the back with one DG or revert to the old system (with our old Charlies) of having a FE/LM team.

The Americans swear by their system (2 FEs) and the Brits swear by theirs (FE/LM).  I know that most pilots favour the 2 FE system we have been flying so far but that may just be being familiar with it.  2 x LM were deployed on Roto 11 with the CH 147 guys but not 100% sure what conclusions were drawn from that experiment if any.

My take is that the 2 FE system gives you more maintenance and systems knowledge to backstop the front enders and it also brings Tac Hel experience to a new Sqn to which I doubt any remains in the LM trade.  FEs are qualified Transportation Dangerous Goods (Air) but are not experts in the field.  Bringing on the LM trade would bring that wider range of skill sets although it would drastically increase the FEs workload.  The LMs would bring a significantly expanded Dang Goods background as well as being much more familiar with the req'd pw that goes along with TDG. 

As far as W&B, it is not really an issue with the 147 under most regimes.  Imagine picking up a board with equal force from both ends (as opposed to picking up only from a pendulum in the centre like a normal helo).  Now that you have it suspended from two points, imagine hanging a mass from the bottom or adding weight to the centre of the beam.  Not going to put you out of C of G all that much is it?

Now that I have laid out my thoughts (not sure how clearly my W&B example plays out though) I would love to hear other point of view on the validity of both systems and which you favour and why.  I have tried to lay out the pros for both while leaving politics and empires behind but I know that plays into all replies so lets try to remain gentlemanly throughout!

aesop081

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2011, 15:39:11 »
(not sure how clearly my W&B example plays out though)

I'm not sure what you are trying to say ?

That it would be better with FE/LW as it relates to W&B ?

Better with FE/FE as it relates to WB ?

Either way i don't know why you even bring it up in your post as it is a non-issue either way, and wouldn't be regardless of aircraft type.

Offline HeavyHooker

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2011, 16:00:10 »
The reason that I brought it up is because I have heard the argument in favour of the FE/LM system is that the LM would do the W&B and Dang Goods and all associated PW with that.  I am in favour of the 2 FE system wrt to W&B because there just is not much to do for W&B so the extra pre-flighter would be more of an asset.  Also, with the CH 147 having the unique characteristics that it has with two rotors, W&B is pretty much a non-issue for most regimes.  You have to work to get the Chinook out of CofG is what I was getting at and just trying to form a mental picture for anybody not familiar.

And for the record, I am in favour of the 2 x FE system.  The Americans have been flying it for almost 50 years and have a very solid grasp of it.  All of our guys have trained in the US under that system so it makes sense to keep it if you ask me.

Offline Ditch

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2011, 16:16:48 »
W&B is not a LM-only skill.  I know that is not what you are implying - it's just the idea that only LM's can do it.

 FE's do it quite well on machines bigger and more complicated (WRT CoG) than the current LM-crewed fleet.

I personally feel that FE's have more to offer to a crew than any other NCM crew member.  They can be the jack of all trades and still offer a highly proficient technical background.  As a front-ender, I rely on a FE 100%.

Now if the discussion is whether having LM's onboard will put a 'Hook out of its CoG - that is another discussion.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

aesop081

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2011, 16:29:03 »
Zoomie has good points but, in the end, this FE vs LM issue is "inside the box" thinking. Either may very well be the best solution but i think we may be limiting ourselves.

Perhaps an "aircrewman" MOS with a core training package followed by speciality training for whatever airframe the member is posted to fly ?

Offline HeavyHooker

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2011, 16:52:37 »
Aviator, I like the way you are leaning.  The aircrewman idea has merit and IMHO, with the next gen fixed-wing aircraft not requiring either FE or LM (or NAV for that matter), I believe that this is what the FE trade is trying to accomplish and I am sure that the LMs out there would love to branch out into as well.  It would allow them to do more than "elementary" tasks (fuelling, marshalling, etc) as the P series handcuffs them to as it stands now.  A hybrid trade is an excellent idea as it would allow "aircrewman" to decrease their numbers as a whole.  I would think that the number of working bodies would be similar AF wide but the Sr Leadership could be trimmed significantly by merging the two trades. 

That is perfect world scenario I am thinking and the politics and kingdoms involved in it as well as merging schools and training standards would be only the tip of that iceberg that would prevent it from happening. 

Aviator, were you intending a merge of the trades idea or more of a "train an FE in a LMs job" and vice-versa?

aesop081

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2011, 17:30:47 »


Aviator, were you intending a merge of the trades idea or more of a "train an FE in a LMs job" and vice-versa?

I think it would be worth exploring the "FE/LM/AES Op/AC OP flying positions" worlds and see where we can gain as an Air Force. Amalgamations have traditionally (it seems) done poorly so it does give me a moment of pause.

There are, however, significant overlaps in knowledge and duties that may make looking at a combined "aircrewman" MOS worthwhile. What i mean by that is :

- Centralized MOS with an initial training course in core knowledge and skills
- Upon graduation of this course, members are assigned to specific airframes for training ( a guy going to C-17 will train for the job an NCM does on that aircraft, a guy assigned to a CP-140 will either do wet sensors, dry sensors or the FE jobs, etc...)

- Member can be reassigned in his/her career to gain broader experience
- Once member reaches a certain rank ( say WO) member can be moved around as a "flying supervisor" of sorts between fleets managing the various specialties within the new MOS.


Even if we are not willing / doesn't make sense to go that far, why not created a "Helicopter crewman" MOS that combines FE and LM skills as it relates to helicopter operations ?

This is just a quick jot down of a quick idea. I know it sounds an awful lot like some failed attempts at amalgamation but i think it at least warrants a long, well thought out, detailed look. What i am saying is that we should not limit ourselves to FE/FE or FE/LM..........
« Last Edit: August 14, 2011, 17:39:51 by CDN Aviator »

Offline Ditch

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2011, 18:34:22 »
Concur 100% with the above comments.

I think that the biggest disconnect within the aircrew MOSID's right now is the link between LM and Traffic Tech.  Cut that link, rename the trade - make it ubiquitous to every platform with specific MOSID substructure for each fleet (much like the current MOS set up within the Pilot trade).  The FE/LM/AESOP mafia is extremely strong and old-school.  It will take time and a CAS with firm resolve to make substantive changes.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline Infanteer

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2011, 18:47:26 »
Even if we are not willing / doesn't make sense to go that far, why not created a "Helicopter crewman" MOS that combines FE and LM skills as it relates to helicopter operations ?

Sounds like an Army Air Corps trade to me.... :stirpot:
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

aesop081

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2011, 18:52:06 »
Sounds like an Army Air Corps trade to me.... :stirpot:

But why ?

The CF employs helicopters in roles other than Tac Hel and the need for NCM aircrew extends well beyond the army's influence.

 :P

Offline GAP

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2011, 19:25:02 »
Sounds like an Army Air Corps trade to me.... :stirpot:

Well, if you want it done right...... ;D


 :whiteflag:
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aesop081

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2011, 19:29:36 »
Well, if you want it done right...... ;D


 :whiteflag:

Indeed, this Army aviator did it "right" ..........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT0uc5m9bFk

 >:D

Offline GAP

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2011, 19:34:35 »
Indeed, this Army aviator did it "right" ..........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT0uc5m9bFk

 >:D

And at treetop level too!!
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe

Offline Ditch

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2011, 20:03:46 »
And at treetop level too!!
Which is pretty high for TacHel - our Air Force aviators do it just clear of the skids.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

aesop081

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2011, 20:07:10 »
Any aviator can be the one to "do it right"

That Army aviator crashed it............

Offline GAP

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2011, 20:58:09 »
Any aviator can be the one to "do it right"

That Army aviator crashed it............

Yeah, well....even they have their learning deficits..... ;D

ps....betcha next time he doesn't!!
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe

Offline HeavyHooker

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2011, 08:33:20 »
So back to the initial post, does anybody have anything solid on whether LMs will be on the new 147s?  Any input as to whether that battle is still being fought or has it been won for one system or the other?

I concur that there is a better way if you can get the "unions" for each respective trade to back down and give a little but in the mean time, something has to be decided for the initial standup of the Sqn next APS.

HH

Offline benny88

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2011, 08:50:00 »
    I think the idea of some sort of amalgamation has merit. And I also agree that the link between traffic tech and LM is pretty tenuous. But what of the link between AVN/AVS tech and FE? Can we train all NCM aircrew to the FE standard without them having that tech trg and experience?
The people trying to make this world worse, are not taking a day off.

Offline HeavyHooker

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2011, 09:45:42 »
In my admittedly biased opinion, it is easier to train an FE to do a LMs job as we already have the familiarity with the TDG and W&B and in fact are already qualified.  In order to train a LM to be an FE, they would have to become 'A Level' technicians first, which would take a few years.  With the AVN/AVS trades being undermanned as it is, I can not see them being able to take on that task of training LMs.  I hate to be the one to point out problems without solutions, but we are just short of guys all around.

Would the feasibility of a Sr FE/Tech Crewman combination be worth looking at?  This is closer to the way the US Army run their CH 47 and UH 60 fleets.  A technician who wants to fly is made a Crew Chief (another name for Tech crewman if you ask me) and then works his way to become a Flt Eng (or Sr FE in this example).  This would free up more FEs for other fleets (also undermanned - and yes I am looking at you SAR/CS Sqns) and the maintenance background would still be there to backstop the front-enders when needed.

Thoughts?

Offline Scoobs

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2011, 20:47:24 »
Current standard crewing is x2 pilots, one FE, and one LM.

Also, be careful about FEs having the technical background that they used to.  Although I am somewhat sure that no FEs have come in straight from the street yet, there is no more requirement for them to come from one of the tech trades (primarily AVN, sometimes AVS).  Also, most authorizations (very different than quals) have been removed from Tac Hel FEs due to a lack of currency, i.e. they just weren't getting down on the floor to do 300 hrs or 600 hrs enough and thus currency became an issue.

I'm not even going to try to wade into the debate of which combo is best!  I know better than that!!  :)
Variety is the spice of life...

Offline HeavyHooker

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2011, 21:56:42 »
Scoobs, where did you hear about the current standard crew config?  I know that it was discussed that the LMs would be on the new CH 47s but I did not think that an official decision had been made yet.  And with the memo wrt the standup of the MHLH Sqn not having an LMs on listed, I thought that their union had lost the battle.  Has anything changed from that memo?  I am not totally in the loop as of right now (holidays!!!!) and am wondering if I have missed anything.

And as far as the current standard crewing, as of Roto 11 EOB last week, LMs were not flying in crew positions at all.  That I have verified as fact.  I am not sure where you got that figure.

One other thing is that the prerequisite for the FE trade for the COTP (only way available - direct entry was squashed) is to have a level A signature as an AVN Tech.  The one change that is coming, but not yet there, is that AVS Techs will be accepted on a trial basis to attempt to alleviate the strain on the undermanned AVN trade.  And as far as authorizations, all it takes is a trip through a 150/300/etc with your tech assessor to get re-qualified and SAMS authorization.

Offline Scoobs

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2011, 23:45:59 »
I'll re-check on the manning, i.e. about the LM question.

Good to know that the direct entry was quashed.  That will alleviate some of my concerns about future FEs lacking technical knowledge/experience.

As for authorizations for FEs, it used to be this way, but is not anymore (trust me, I was recently a SAMEO/SMM at a Tac Hel unit).  FEs are no longer coming down to inspections and a "top level" decision was made that all Tac Hel FEs would lose most of their authorizations.  My SAMS, as like others, were directed to remove the FE's authorizations.  This is simply reality as the FE trade is so short right now, the ability to come down to the floor vice being needed in the a/c was severely impacted.

I never mentioned anything about LMs operating in Afg as I have no personal knowledge of this.  I am not sure why you refer to this?
Variety is the spice of life...

Offline HeavyHooker

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2011, 12:28:31 »
Current standard crewing is x2 pilots, one FE, and one LM.

I thought that you were referring to Afghanistan crews with the above quote.  That is why I brought it up.  Sorry for any confusion.

The authorizations is odd and it seems to differ between units.  I know that one Sr FE/STA at one of the Tac Hel units is trying to bring back "Stables Days" like in the old days but I am not exactly sure how much backing he is getting from the brass because that would impact Flying Ops.  This would allow our FE Tech Assessors to maintain currencies as well as all A level TX'd quals that the guys hold (ie. 150, etc).  I definitely agree that FE's are not on the floor enough to maintain their currencies as it stands now but I still hold out hope now that Tac Hel's Afghan role is done that things may return to some semblance of normalcy. 

Or at least normal until the next big thing.....

Offline Ditch

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2011, 19:25:04 »
This would allow our FE Tech Assessors to maintain currencies as well as all A level TX'd quals that the guys hold (ie. 150, etc).
With the new changes to the FE MOSID - the return to the servicing/maintenance floor for Snr NCO FE's is almost guaranteed. 
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Offline HeavyHooker

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2011, 23:47:39 »
Good point Zoomie. 

The transition to AMSup will hopefully bridge some of the gap between FE and AVN.  There is some serious resistance to that in the upper echelon of the FE trade and the AVN trade as well.  FE's don't want to stop flying when they reach WO so Sr FE's are still fighting this.  For what its worth, I don't think it will take hold and stay, but thats just my $.02 so who knows...