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 55499 times)

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Offline The Gues-|-

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #50 on: September 20, 2011, 23:46:10 »
Proven?  ???

Could you post "proof", please?


In the opposite, the higher-speed an aviation unit gets, the more it departs from the "army guy on board, good to go" mantra.  Dedicated "green platoon" training for aviators is the "proven" way to go - proven by 160th SOAR(A), being adopted by some Tac Hel units already in Canada, and quite reasonable to think that such training would be a clear part of the MHLH Squadron operational training regime.  Folks who would dismiss Level-C CAC/R2I training, thinking that having a cbt arms guy/gal on board is a better solution are not looking at things from the aviation self-proficiency point of view. 

To be clear about CH147D DGs...it was decided mutually between CAS and CLS prior to the deployment of the first crews into theatre that door gunners would be provided from the Army as a means of both providing expertise door gunnery skills To be clear about CH147D DGs...it was decided mutually between CAS and CLS prior to the deployment of the first crews into theatre that door gunners would be provided from the Army as a means of both providing expertise door gunnery skills (and even the DGs needed to learn about on-aircraft effects on gunnery) and secondly to reinforce Air-Land integration as a mutual activity.  There was not the slightest hint of "the door gunner will be a tactical beacon to the 'ground un-aware' aircrew should the aircraft be force down" in any of the discussion between CAS and CLS.  Frankly, the opposite was almost true as it was questioned whether the DGs should in fact undergo CAC training, as being downed with aircrew only would place a combat arms soldier in the situation of operating without mutual support that he might otherwise expect when working within a section or higher within a ground force element.

Lastly, there has been no definitive policy as to the final FE-LM manning concept because both trades are still in enough flux that it would be imprudent to do so.  Anecdotal stories, whether from the far past or more recent times, may provide context within which future decisions will be taken but do not, in and of themselves, prescriptively make a case one way or the other.  I have had LMs in the past who were incredibly professional and through their own initiative spent a lot of time learning much about the CH147, qualitatively more capable than a number of FEs I was crewed with, so much so that those LMs were signed off by the SAMEO to conduct A/B checks on the aircraft, and before one says that couldn't happen in today's environment, P-03 and EITEMS would support such a qualification if the proper training was provided, in much the same way as the C-17 and C-130J LMs do so.

Ironically, I think the most valuable takeaway in the thread so far is that more folks should be prepared to do Level-C CAC/R2I training before they take to the skies overseas.  I can definitively say that had we more time during the initial deployment of the CH147D capability, this would have occurred without question.


Regards
G2G

Isn't the "proof" of my statement demonstrated by the performance in training and in theatre?  Why fix something if it 'aint broke? 

 Perhaps, I could be slightly bias towards integrating door gunners over LM and there would be no reason to think otherwise.  It seems clear what a door gunner would have to qualify Aircrew side in order to be an effective gunner/LM (IE existing LM requisites which you have stated.)  But, how does aircrew/LM train to be that guy... the "good to go mantra" ?  Or is that mentality and capability not required?

"Reinforce Air-Land integration" through ground element training or actual in flight integration and take what you've learned back to your unit type thing?  Which is valuable to Army/Air Force integration thus being broader than aviation self-proficiency point of view.  All the more reason for permanent door gunning.  Interesting nonetheless



We aint making goddamn cornflakes here!

aesop081

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #51 on: September 21, 2011, 00:41:56 »
  Or is that mentality and capability not required?



Is that mentality somehow limited to Army types ?

Offline Inverted

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #52 on: September 21, 2011, 08:30:27 »
It almost sounds like the discussion of crewing the back of the Chinook has to go back to first principles; what effect do we want the crew in the back to achieve?  Once that is decided then the crewing becomes pretty obvious.

From my perspective in the front the effect boils down to four key points:

1) The crew must be able to direct the aircraft, and provide the word picture to the front of what is going on, when trying to squeeze the aircraft into a confined area, with 10 foot rotor clearance, at night, with minimum illum.  Unless all the crew members can do this they are dead-weight to me up front.

2) Must be able to defend the aircraft with whatever weapons systems are on board, if there is more than one type of weapon they must all be capable of operating it.

3) Must be able to load/unload, rig and/or hook a load, in as short a time as possible.

4) They must be able to conduct adequate maintenance and servicing while in flight or away from the Sqn.  What constitutes this level of maintenance? I would say the highest level would be capable of pulling chip-detectors, determining whether it's real or fuzz and carrying on from there.

How do we accomplish this?

As I said in my first post, I think this can best be done through a mix of FE's and LM's.  Again, I think we should be looking at a 3 man back seat crew, if this is 2 LM/1 FE or 1 LM/2 FE is immaterial, provided they can all achieve points 1 - 3 above. 

Point 4 is going to be the domain of the FE's, but that doesn't absolve them from being just as proficient as LM's with the other 3 points. And it doesn't mean that LM's can not participate in point 4, there is no reason (at least no problem that can't be solved) a LM can not receive the same training and have the same understanding of aircraft systems as a pilot.

And to reiterate what others have said, if you are flying as crew then you are aircrew and subject to the same training requirements as everyone else, CAC/R2I, RUET, Av Med...etc.  So no, now that we are out of the Afghan theatre, you can't just toss an Army guy in and call him a DG. 

That's not to say I wouldn't want some Cbt Arms experience to tap into.  Which is one of the reasons why I think separating LM from Traffic tech (at least on the Chinook) would be a good idea.  I think over time we would attract Cbt Arms guys/gals to the community, bringing their experience with them; we would also attract other trades which would bring other skill sets and experience.

Cheers  :cdn:

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #53 on: September 21, 2011, 09:48:36 »
Isn't the "proof" of my statement demonstrated by the performance in training and in theatre?  Why fix something if it 'aint broke? 

No.

That we were fortunate that 202 went down very close to own troops and 205 reasonably so does not constitute proof that things were done optimally.  In the future, waivers for Level C CAC training clearly should be the rare exception.  Aviators who have operated far more austerely than the situations the crews of 202 and 205 found themselves in have reiterated the importance of aviation/air-specific training that, while containing many elements of combat arms characteristics (Shoot, Move, Communicate), is optimized specifically for all surviving members of a crew to conduct egress drills and action appropriate to the situation. Some organizations even have gone as far as to establish a "green platoon" within their organization to instill the necessary skills within any aircrew member who sets foot in an aircraft.

We can do his by adopting the same approach proposed by Inverted, a functional analysis of what skills and capabilities are required after a forced landing in a combat theatre.  Absolutely EVERY member of the crew must be prepared to help self and others survive, and while skills that combat arms, and indeed combat support and combat service support soldiers require are useful, those skills are only valuable when each and every member of the crew are so trained.  Imagine the status quo capabilities if the door gunner(s) was(were) killed prior to the aircraft's forced landing? Not the time to be wondering "what would Cpl Bloggins have told/showed us what to do?"

I cannot imagine a unit Commader allowing his or her aviators to be so dependent on the skills of specific individuals of a particular trade/MOSID within the crews.


Regards
G2G

*edited for spelling/grammar and to add a related link*
« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 14:19:32 by Good2Golf »

Offline beenthere

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #54 on: September 26, 2011, 12:18:25 »
The door gunner and other such stuff is applicable to operations in areas where conflict is the reason for you're being there. A policy for crewing in conflict zones should and no doubt will evolve.

However in the absence of conflict and training for it, the role of the aircraft will be a whole lot different than what it's been for the past couple of years.You have to consider that when you go "outside the wire" in Petawawa it may very well be to a major aircraft accident site in the high arctic during the winter.  That's where the success or failure of the mission will depend on a whole different set of skills and knowledge along with a large measure of good luck. Even deploying aircraft to other places within Canada in the summer has the potential to end up with an aircraft sitting in a farm field awaiting the delivery of a part to get it back in the air.

I recall when a CH-135 had to be slung out of some place in Quebec because of a transmission failure. The failure turned out to be a transmission oil pressure indicator that had malfunctioned. That could have been very embarrassing to the crew of most other aircraft that have at least one crew member (FE) who's supposed to be at the very least a troubleshooter. The crew and even the unit that the helicopter belonged to took the whole issue as just another one of "those things that happen". Through their lack of whatever they actually put the helicopter in danger of being destroyed if the helicopter that was slinging it had to drop it.

If a unit was to deploy 6 helicopters to some place 2500 miles from base with crews that were all trained up for combat but short on aircraft knowledge I would take a guess that 2 of them would arrive at their destination on time.

Take a break during this short interval of peace to hone up on aircraft knowledge. I'm sure that it's going to be very useful and it may even save someone's life.




« Last Edit: September 26, 2011, 12:22:51 by beenthere »
But not lately. If I could do it all over again I would  change one thing.

Offline HeavyHooker

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Re: CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate
« Reply #55 on: October 20, 2011, 14:44:08 »
beenthere, I have a few issues with the argument you are trying to sell here.  Your mock scenarios are distorted and pedantic.  Lets try to stick to actual anecdotes.  Not fun little made up stories.

Quote
If a unit was to deploy 6 helicopters to some place 2500 miles from base with crews that were all trained up for combat but short on aircraft knowledge I would take a guess that 2 of them would arrive at their destination on time.
This is a little bit ridiculous but I will play your silly game here.  The fact that you think that 4 of 6 aircraft could not complete a cross country is a major slap in the face of those imaginary pilots and FE's.  So you would have at least 6 FE's and an even dozen pilots, not to mention the associated techs that would no doubt be attached to an exercise/deployment of this size.  Lets forget about the techs for the time being (sorry guys, just for arguments sake!) and remove them from this equation.  The combined knowledge of 12 pilots and 6 (possibly 12) Flight Engineers would indeed have a much higher success rate than the one that you are dreaming up.  At least today it would.  I can not speak of what the state of the union was when you were a CH 147 FE back in the day.

Quote
Take a break during this short interval of peace to hone up on aircraft knowledge. I'm sure that it's going to be very useful and it may even save someone's life.
If you think for one instant that we did not have the required systems knowledge just because we stood behind guns in Afghanistan, then you are sadly mistaken.  Especially since we had two FE's on each machine.

Quote
However in the absence of conflict and training for it, the role of the aircraft will be a whole lot different than what it's been for the past couple of years
IMHO, we should never stop training for conflict.  Ever.  We had a much steeper learning curve in deploying the air wing to Afghanistan than we should have.  Will the peace time missions be different?  Of course.  Aid to the civil power missions (ice storms, floods, etc) will be different from conflict and war-fighting scenarios but the fact of our profession is that we train for war, which is the most adverse situation that we could find our selves in.  This may be a seperate discussion however so I will not delve deeper into training scenarios.

HH