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Circa 1979

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation August 1979 "...History - Page 22 and 23 - Naval Aviation News - August 1979..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1979/aug79.pdf [10OCT2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation February 1979 "...PCS For A P-3 - Page 34 to 35 - Naval Aviation News - February 1979..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1979/feb79.pdf [10OCT2004]

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Circa 1978

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July 1978 "...History - Awards - Page 4, 5 and 31 - Naval Aviation News - July 1978..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1978/jul78.pdf [09OCT2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "22JUN78--First day-night bounce and with new crew. Did some runs on some ships off the coast and dropped some smoke markers for submarine marking. 05JUL78 0600 pre-flight for nav-trip to NS Roosevelt Roads, PR . Had problems with the original a/c and a second airplane caused the trip to be cancelled. 06JUL78 1500 take-off for Rosey Roads. What was supposed to be a 3 day trip has been shortened to one long day. We ran into heavy thunderstorm activity on the way back and had to detour an hour. But still got caught by the storm and took a couple of lightning hits. Very minor. 23JUL78 Took ASW 2 flight and on way to Key West we took a direct lightning hit on the nose and the bolt split and went down both sides of the a/c. After landing, we found about 25 pinholes in the fuselage. 20JUL78 Found out today I'm going to VP-5. It's a P3-C squadron. 28JUL78 Depart VP-30 on leave and transfer orders..." From the personal diary of Dennis L. Sheets, USN, Retired sheets@almatel.net

Circa 1976

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation December 1976 "...CNO Safety Awards - Page 5 - Naval Aviation News - December 1976..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1976/dec76.pdf [07OCT2004]

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Circa 1975

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November 1975 "...Safety Record - Page 25 - Naval Aviation News - November 1975..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1975/nov75.pdf [04OCT2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I was in the very last class to go through the pipeline in 1975 in NAS Patuxent River, Maryland before VP-30 finally closed down and finished moving to NAS Jacksonville, Florida. I was a Bravo SS#3. In early August, I was also on the last training flight to land there and end an era. And it was my introduction to Naval Aviation Humor! As the aircraft was taxiing in from our training flight, we had to cross the main drag near the base gas station to get to the hangar. It was around 1600 on a friday afternoon and traffic was stopped by the flashing lights giving us the right of way. I was a young pup and my instructor, AW1 Steve Ellsworth, told me I should watch out a window on the starboard side. As we crossed the road, the PPC directed the Flight Engineer to E-Handle an engine. They made a big show of concern, looking at the engine and re-starting it before taxiing on to the hangar. The sand crabs were lined up beyond sight by the time we cleared the roadway. I enjoyed the disruption we caused, and enjoyed being there for what was a great story for awhile. The PPC was J.C. Wells. I saw him again in the late 80's at water survival in NAS Jacksonville, Florida. It has been long enough that the story can be told!..." Contributed by Timothy M Walker AW1(AW/NAC) USN Retired tmwalker@bellsouth.net [18DEC97]

Circa 1974

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November 1974 "...Awards - Page 3 - Naval Aviation News - November 1974..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1974/nov74.pdf [01OCT2004]

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Circa 1973

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation August 1973 "...Squadron Insignia - Naval Aviation News - August 1973..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1973/aug73.pdf [29SEP2004]

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Circa 1972

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation June 1972 "...On Patrol - Page 18 - Naval Aviation News - June 1972..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1972/jun72.pdf [27SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...'A Piece of Cake' by LT C. A. Harrison, VP-30 - Adapted from 'A No Brainer,' by CAPTAIN D. P. Orlando - August 1972 Combat Crew - Naval Safety Publication Approach - January 1973 The Naval Aviation Safety Review - Pages 14 through 16..." [13APR2003]

The navigation system will continuously display aircraft position and provide information to guide the aircraft to a predetermined position."

SOUNDS like manufacturer's promotion literature, or maybe the aircraft overview course at the replacement squadron. Most navigators of long-range aircraft are going to hear that statement, smile knowingly, then continue with their more realistic approach to navigating their aircraft.

Nevertheless, this statement was paraphrased from the NATOPS manual of an advanced design, long-range aircraft, and more and more often, as systems operating experience and component reliability increase, the nav system does function as advertised . . . and with a surprising degree of accuracy.

The "piece of cake" flight is becoming the rule rather than the exception, especially where routine point-to-point navigation is concerned. Now, couple the "piece of cake" flight with the average good navigator (who has, say a year or more and maybe 800 hours with his aircraft) and let a special situation develop. The navigator, admit it or not, is beginning to get bored by routine navigation. This navigator knows about complacency. He works hard at crew coordination, and his navigation procedures are flawless; but the routine point-to-point just doesn't hold the challenge that it once did. He remembers back in nav school where they gave him a bubble-pipe, let him monitor mag heading, indicated airspeed, and pressure altitude, let him take a LORAN A fix every 2 hours (for confidence!), and he navigated. Boy, did he navigate. Six hours from Point A to Point B, or roundrobin from Point A back to Point A hitting most of the alphabet along the way. That was a challenge, and it was hectic. If he dropped his dividers, he always got stabbed and usually missed the next two AIREPS.

The replacement training squadron showed him how an inertial system worked, showed him how easy it was to DR with a continuous doppler DA and GS, showed him that there were (amazingly enough) compass cards which indicated TH and airspeed indicators which read directly in TAS. He ran scared for awhile, but he believed the systems and soon learned to operate them. He remembered all those nav school DR and celestial instructors who admonished him to back up those systems... and he did.

Then he began to realize the reliability of the systems, began to fly "piece of cake" flights. Experience crept in, and he began to relax. At first, the change was welcome. He'll never forget the first flight on which he had time to eat a flight lunch, or the next flight when he found time to go back and get his own coffee and put the right amount of sugar in it. He was working now like a professional navigator, very calmly and efficiently, but most importantly, very confidently. He began to bet beers on his ETAs. Then boredom crept in on the heels of a string of "piece of cake" flights, and so any flight characterized by excellent navigation procedures, few unplanned heading changes, and on-the-money arrival, became just another "piece of cake."

Then he cleaned out his closet and found some old nav school handouts. Local apparent noon? Celestial land fall? Parallax in altitude? CONSOL?

Familiar terms all, but no one had need of these techniques in navigating his aircraft. But he was curious. If they worked in any aircraft, they should work in his aircraft, and here was a chance to try something new.

At first he was cautious. He still used LORAN and TACAN as primary navaids for verifying his systems. He wasn't going to sacrifice navigation of the aircraft to his new game. But wasn't it fun to maintain course control on the GC from Rota to Shad using only Polaris and, of course, on those day translants, it was no problem to maintain speed control with the sun always ahead of or behind the aircraft. And, by golly, by cranking out a CEX on each of his increasingly frequent celestial observations, he found that the old inertial platform really did line up on true north and was usually damnably accurate in doing so.

By now, he was shunning TACAN and LORAN fixes, using them only to cross-check the celestial observations which he was using to verify his systems. Knowing, however, that practicing these seldom used techniques might cause him to make an error, he only practiced them for short periods of time, only on the "piece of cake" flights, and always with radio navaids for a cross-check. This ensured that the job of flying the aircraft always received first priority.

Then he started to spread out to other techniques. He reintroduced himself to the Air Almanac and won a beer from the copilot by accurately predicting the time and position of morning civil twilight during a red-eye special to Rota. Then on the way home from that trip, he forecast sunset (and was amazed when it occurred when he thought it would). He even began to use the Air Almanac Sky Diagrams. The Sky Diagrams received his special attention, and as he learned to locate and shoot the brighter planets and stars, the flight engineer began to wonder why there were fewer requests to dim the overhead rotating beacon during celestial shots.

Even the plane commander began to notice. AIREPS were ready for his scrutiny 5 minutes before ETA. The TACAN read within just miles of the TCA entry points at ETA. When the navigator checked in with an OSV (ocean station vessel), he told the OSV where he (the Nav) was and just requested radar verification. The plane commander also noticed that the radar landfall had been within 1 mile of DR position on the last trip to the Azores. It had been Nav who reminded the copilot to turn on the TACAN and set the numbers for Halifax when they had passed south of Nova Scotia on the GC returning home from the Azores.

Then one day, it was no longer a game. Just as there are "piece of cake" transits, there are transits when - nothing goes right. And this was going to be a doozie! The doppler had tested good on deck, but the memory light never extinguished after takeoff. The fuzes were all good, and even the flight tech's left-foot troubleshooting failed to establish a doppler lockon. But the inertial position looked good, and a quick CEX proved that the 16 old platform had sure enough found true north again.

Then without warning, the platform dumped - more amber advisories than he'd ever seen. OK. So he'd LORAN-igate and pick up his wind by carrying a NW plot and blowing in to his LORAN fixes. Besides, the North Atlantic wind forecasts are always in the ballpark, and mostly in the infield. Turn on the LORAN set no horizontal deflection on the scope. No CONSOL out here either, and the only OSV enroute was NOTAMed off station with a medical emergency.

Now, it's really no game, and he didn't smile when he flipped the pressure hull shutter and shoved the sextant periscope back out through the mount.

Now, most navigators precompute and shoot, but to do this, you have to predict the time of your shot, and that's awfully hard to do when you're below a broken stratiform layer - a black, thick one. So he went to spot shots and postcomputation, and it wasn't really too hard for an old bubble-pipe pro like him. But he wondered where he'd be if he had limited his celestial practice to squadron minimum requirements instead of playing his games on the "piece of cake" flights.

So much for range control, the sun would give him good speedlines until sunset. And he wouldn't miss the inertial TH either, because he could pick up mag compass deviation from a CEX on each shot. The old met brief would have to do for winds to hold his course.

Later in the flight, the sun shots were getting harder to come by as the sun went lower, and the layers between which they'd been flying started to merge ahead of the aircraft. Just about the time they were completely enveloped in clouds, they broke through on top, and there was the moon in their 5 o'clock position. It was not quite twilight yet, but, by golly, you could see the moon. No one ever shot the moon in his squadron. Said they couldn't get it to come out right. But he'd shot the moon during his games applied parallax in altitude, upper or lower limb corrections and he thought his results had been good. So the moon gave him his speedlines back.

As they continued toward the coast, he consulted his Sky Diagrams. Those bright stars and planets he'd circled during flight planning were starting to be visible and Aldebaran, Venus, and the Moon would give him an inside fix. He shot and plotted with a lot of misgivings and a shaky pencil. Then, based on the fix, ordered up an 8-degree heading change and made a 4-minute RETA for the TCA entry point. He should be within TACAN range now, and maybe within radar range. So he gave the copilot the TACAN numbers and watched while he spun them in and switched to REC. It seemed like the HSI bearing pointer would rotate CCW forever, but finally it stopped, pointing right at the feducial mark on the HSI. The copilot switched the TACAN to T/R and he and the Nav watched while the DME numbers tumbled endlessly. Probably a false bearing and a radial lockon since the DME wouldn't come in.

With ETA only 2 minutes away, Nav stumbled back to his table just in time to see the numbers on his own DME tumble in place like the cherries on a one-armed bandit. One minute later, after plotting his TACAN fix position, he smiled knowingly as he heard ATC advise the crew that they were in radar contact 2 miles west of their planned TCA entry point.

It had been quite a flight, but despite the poor systems, everything had gone pretty well. In fact, it had been a "piece of cake."

HistoryHISTORY: "...You may want to include FASRON 108 (NAS Brunswick, Maine) and other FASRONs from VP bases as historical VP sites. FASRONs were the forerunner of AMD/AIMDs, but they were seperate squardrons. I joined FASRON 108 in 1958 as an AA fresh from AT'A' school. In '59 or '60 FASRONs were disestablished and became the AMD of the NAS where they were. Our mission or operations did not change. We did have two R4D's, an SNB and a P2V-3 for our use and the Wing's use (FAW-3 I think). When we became AMD we also acquired the station UF and HUP. I flew as crewman/radioman in all of these. We also flew many after check (major) flights in squardron aircraft (P2V-5Fs and P2V-7s). A good portion of my time there was spent in Hangar Division installing the ASA-13 plotter service change to P2V's. When not doing that I was on the flight schedule. I left there as an AT2, in Dec. 1960. Unfortunately, I never got back to VP's until 1972 as an ATC when I became the P3C in-flight tech instructor in VP-30 at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. For some reason all my sea duty and much of the intervening shore duty had tail hooks attached (AD-5W's and RA5Cs)...I opted for retirement and went over to AIMD Pax for my final year, retiring in July '76...If I remember right, the Buno of the P2V-3 we had in FASRON 108 was 123969. I saw a picture in the chow hall at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, while TAD there, of Buno 123969 taking off from a carrier with JATO. If I'm wrong about the actual Buno, I still believe the one we had in Brunswick was the same as the one in the picture...Charles A. Joseph" cjoseph@eagle1.eaglenet.com

Circa 1971

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...I took these photos in the Summer of 1971 (maybe 1972), and the event took place at NAS Glenview, Illinois. In the photos one of our VP-60 Neptunes (LS-04, BUNO: 148359) sits facing west on the east-west runway, with a VP-30 Orion (LL-17, BUNO: 152722) directly behind it. Looking south into the background you see the NAS golf course. What you're looking at is a "static start" of one of the Orion's engines by the Neptune. VP-30 was visiting that day, and getting ready to depart they discovered they had no starter in one of their engines. Neptune to the rescue! It's a great photo of these two generations of ASW aircraft "side-by-side."..." Contributed by LaGRO, AW2 Phil pal7445@msn.com [07APR2009]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November 1971 "...FY-1971 Safety Awardees Named - Naval Aviation News - November 1971..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1971/nov71.pdf [25SEP2004]

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HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation June 1971 "...On Patrol - Page 19 - Naval Aviation News - June 1971..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1971/jun71.pdf [23SEP2004]

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Circa 1970

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation May 1970 "...On Patrol - Page 26 - Naval Aviation News - May 1970..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1970/may70.pdf [17SEP2004]

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