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CH 147 Backenders (FE/LM) Debate

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


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aesop081

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HeavyHooker said:
The point is to have a soldier that can advise the a/c which COA to follow on the ground in the event of us having to land outside the wire.

That may be the intent, to somebody, but it is rather nonsense. There is training in the AF, specifically for aircrews, for what to do should you find yourself on the ground "outside the wire"........combat arms guy not required.


Without any technical background, this is a tough nut to crack.

CC-130J...............Take a look at what they are teaching the LMs to do. Not that tough a nut to crack.

I know that most pilots are perfectly capable but there still is not that intimate technical background

I've got allot of hours listening to junior FOs being grilled by ACs about systems, how things work, what does what and how, in excruciating detail. I'm pretty confident that they have a serious in-depth technical background of the birds they fly. Depending on the aircraft you fly, the FE know less than the rest of the crew, hence why i am not always quick to say "the FE knows best".



 

HeavyHooker

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That may be the intent, to somebody, but it is rather nonsense. There is training in the AF, specifically for aircrews, for what to do should you find yourself on the ground "outside the wire"........combat arms guy not required.

Not sure how you can call this non-sense.  If you think that BSERE, ASERE (which way too many waivers were granted and most aircrew did not even have prior to deployment) and CAC - although very good courses - stack up against actual tours on the ground by Cbt Arms troops, than yes, you will have an argument here.  As a former Cbt Arms soldier, I can tell you that there is no comparison at all and a couple weeks in the bush and some stress positions do not make up for actual ground tours on top of being a soldier be their primary job for years.  No way, no how.  I think you would also get some rather heated arguments from the ground pounders out there as well.  If your argument were taken one level further, why have Mission Specs when you can give any aircrew a course on it?

Depending on the aircraft you fly, the FE know less than the rest of the crew, hence why i am not always quick to say "the FE knows best".

Tell me of an aircraft where the LM knows more than the FE.  This is getting more heated than I wanted when I started this board but I have a hard time believing that - technically speaking - the LM is on an equal footing with the pilots and FE's which is what this entire post is about (CH 147 Backenders).  On every airframe I have flown on, I have had pilots come to me and ask technical questions because they just did not know the answers.  There are definitely situations where pilots will know more than FE's in certain systems but to say that the FE knows less than pilots wrt to systems knowledge is plain BS.  Its just that easy.

 
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aesop081

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HeavyHooker said:
which way too many waivers were granted and most aircrew did not even have prior to deployment)

Unrelated issue. The training exists and it is available. That members are deploying without is a leadership failiure.


stack up against actual tours on the ground by Cbt Arms troops,

Only one part of the equation. Having tours on the ground an expert does not make.


As a former Cbt Arms soldier,

As a former combat arms soldier myself i can tell you that i was never trained for situations introduced in ASERE or CAC.  With the exception of those PPCLI guys that teach (or have) at CFSSAT, you would be hard pressed to find a combat arms guy in line units that knows what SAFEs are, knows and understands recovery procedures and has been trained in R2I. Given that, your combat arms crew guy offers precious little insights beyond likely being in better shape and highly likely, a much better shot. If an experience combat arms guy was so critical to the survival of the crew, all our tactical fleets would have them, TACHEL or otherwise.


why have Mission Specs when you can give any aircrew a course on it?

The role of Msn Specialist was never to be a member of the crew that would know what to do when they hit the ground.

As for LM vs FE on the CH-147, i have no vested interest how it turns out so i will withdraw from that portion.

 

The Gues-|-

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CDN Aviator said:
Unrelated issue. The training exists and it is available. That members are deploying without is a leadership failiure.

Other than the afternoon nav ex, gas hut, PWT 1-3 and basic SERE, I am curious to know what this other training is you speak of.

Only one part of the equation. Having tours on the ground an expert does not make.


As a former combat arms soldier myself i can tell you that i was never trained for situations introduced in ASERE or CAC.  With the exception of those PPCLI guys that teach (or have) at CFSSAT, you would be hard pressed to find a combat arms guy in line units that knows what SAFEs are, knows and understands recovery procedures and has been trained in R2I. Given that, your combat arms crew guy offers precious little insights beyond likely being in better shape and highly likely, a much better shot. If an experience combat arms guy was so critical to the survival of the crew, all our tactical fleets would have them, TACHEL or otherwise.


You are ex Combat Arms and saying this!? I am surprised and somewhat disappointed.  All tactical fleets should employ Combat Arms soldiers for over seas operations.  Why? they are more comfortable on the ground. They have sufficient training and experience and they know why they are there.  In the unfortunate event we went to ground it's the ground guys show.  I wouldn't want it any other way and the impression I received while in theatre was nothing but positive and clear as to why Combat Arms soldiers were employed as part of the crew.  Which can't be said for the LM/FE mix.  LM's just did what the FE's and door gunners were already capable of doing.  The LM/FE caused a lot of friction between the 2 trades but at the end of the day the job got done LM or no LM.  Solution? 2 FE's 1 door gunner for unslung loads, 2 FE's 2 gunners for slung loads.

CDN Aviator said:
The role of Msn Specialist was never to be a member of the crew that would know what to do when they hit the ground.

There are Mission Specialists on Chinooks?  wasn't that a NAV position on the Kiowas and/or Griffons? Slight difference from door gunners.  Regardless if it was their responsibility or in their job profile to know what to do when they hit the ground, I'd feel a bit more comfortable with someone who knows what to do on the ground in hairy situations.

It makes more sense to train a Combat Arms soldier in a couple Aircrew skills than train Aircrew in ground tactics.  This has been proven.  When it comes to Chinooks, throw out the LM option, FE's and door gunners live on.  ;D


*edited by mod to fix quotations*
 
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aesop081

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The Gues-|- said:
They have sufficient training and experience and they know why they are there.

And no one else does ? Only slightly pretentious. Doesn't take a genuis to know you're on the ground because the aircraft stopped flying  ;D

In the unfortunate event we went to ground it's the ground guys show.

Far from it. When aircrews hit the ground, it becomes JPRCCs show. At the crash, it is the crew commander's show.


I'd feel a bit more comfortable with someone who knows what to do on the ground in hairy situations.

Your personal comfort level does not translate into a requirement. I know what to do on the ground in "hairy" situations (background notwithstanding) and am comfortable enough that was training was provided ( BSERE,ASERE, CAC, weapons, foreign weapons, never ending briefings.......  ) was enough to get me from the crash site to the HH-60 or MV-22 and whatever happens in between.

When it comes to Chinooks, throw out the LM option, FE's and door gunners live on.  ;D

That last part belongs on a badge.......
 

HeavyHooker

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Far from it. When aircrews hit the ground, it becomes JPRCCs show. At the crash, it is the crew commander's show.

I know of one, and only one, aircraft comd that said he would ask for "advice from the DG in the event of a crash".  ALL OTHERS - without fail - said in every crew brief the conditions under which we would land outside the wire and immediately following that the DG would direct the defence of the aircraft while the AC and FE secured the kit that needed to be secured.  It was then the SME's show.  This was the unofficial SOP.

Your personal comfort level does not translate into a requirement. I know what to do on the ground in "hairy" situations (background notwithstanding) and am comfortable enough that was training was provided ( BSERE,ASERE, CAC, weapons, foreign weapons, never ending briefings.......  ) was enough to get me from the crash site to the HH-60 or MV-22 and whatever happens in between.

No, not a requirement but lets bring common sense back for a second here.  The fact that you think you know what to do on the ground in "hairy situations" because of the above few courses and briefings - of all things - is quite scary.  I don't know any infanteers or engineers, tankers or artymen who would say that they are comfortable in the ground in "Hairy Situations" so the fact that you do is only slightly pretentious, if I may borrow that phrase.  >:D ;D
 
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aesop081

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HeavyHooker said:
if I may borrow that phrase.  >:D ;D

Damn....i knew i should have gone for that copyright !!!!  ;D

I have faith in the training i received, the skills i have and the head on my shoulders. We did not need a combat arms guy in Libya to "take over" if case we crashed in bad guy country. We did not have that need because we were properly trained and the CSAR was ready to do what it is supposed to do when s**t hits the fan.

I'm happy to agree to disagree here and say that i wish i was up flying rather than on here talking about it.
 

The Gues-|-

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CDN Aviator said:
And no one else does ? Only slightly pretentious. Doesn't take a genuis to know you're on the ground because the aircraft stopped flying  ;D
Right.


CDN Aviator said:
Far from it. When aircrews hit the ground, it becomes JPRCCs show. At the crash, it is the crew commander's show.


I was specifically talking about "at the crash".  I still disagree.  During our pre-flight briefs there were discrepancies between pilots on who would take charge if we went to ground. AC or Gunner?


CDN Aviator said:
Your personal comfort level does not translate into a requirement. I know what to do on the ground in "hairy" situations (background notwithstanding) and am comfortable enough that was training was provided ( BSERE,ASERE, CAC, weapons, foreign weapons, never ending briefings.......  ) was enough to get me from the crash site to the HH-60 or MV-22 and whatever happens in between.

That training provided would be more than enough for anyone in order to make it from a crash site to an HH-60 or MV-22, LAV, whatever.  Provided you were just FOB hopping relatively in close proximity to FOBS, Coalition Forces and KAF.  In Afghanistan, with the amount of resources (mostly American) allocated for significant events should only cause modest worry.  It wouldn't be close to enough training if you were going to an isolated FOB or potential hot LZ's and had to extract.  Not to mention where future conflicts will be that include Canadian Chinooks without the luxury of our American counterparts.


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The Gues-|-

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HeavyHooker said:
No, not a requirement but lets bring common sense back for a second here.  The fact that you think you know what to do on the ground in "hairy situations" because of the above few courses and briefings - of all things - is quite scary.  I don't know any infanteers or engineers, tankers or artymen who would say that they are comfortable in the ground in "Hairy Situations" so the fact that you do is only slightly pretentious, if I may borrow that phrase.  >:D ;D



disregard^
 

Good2Golf

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The Gues-|- said:
...It makes more sense to train a Combat Arms soldier in a couple Aircrew skills than train Aircrew in ground tactics.  This has been proven.

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 (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



 

The Gues-|-

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Good2Golf said:
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



 

Inverted

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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:
 

Good2Golf

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The Gues-|- said:
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*
 

beenthere

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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.




 

HeavyHooker

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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.

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.

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.

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
 
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