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Thread: C-130 Touch and Goes in Homer

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    Default C-130 Touch and Goes in Homer

    I flew to Katmai today, twice, four one-ways down the coast where the Beaver is missing. Swickshak to Cape Douglas looking for... anything. Telling my passengers that I just like the view down low. A couple of CAP planes out searching, I saw at least one helicopter out there looking and heard some more on 123.1. I kept thinking how much it would suck to be alive in a wreck (ala the guy in the copilot seat in the Stevens wreck) waiting for help. On the second arrival back to Homer there is a C-130 doing T and G's.... I know the area they are searching, and am here to tell you it is not so congested with search aircraft that this plane couldn't have helped out. If I am missing I want everyone, piper cubs, ultra-lights, Airforce 1, and all you guys to be searching for my skinny ass. It really pissed me off that the training command didn't think to use that jet fuel and personnel for a worthy mission... I know that they would rather being doing that than T&Gs. Too bad for the Beaver folks that a Senator wasn't on board, as I can pretty much guarantee that no c-130s were doing training in Dillingham when he went down.

    75% of aircraft accidents in Alaska happen in August, be careful out there.
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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Amen to that.
    During my 14 years with the Alaska Air Guard, I saw more than one or two things that made no sense at all.
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    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Amen to that.
    During my 14 years with the Alaska Air Guard, I saw more than one or two things that made no sense at all.
    What squadron did you fly with?

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    headoutdaplane:

    The search areas are pretty much assigned by RCC (Rescue Coordination Center).
    Unless it is a Coast Guard run operation from Juneau.

    Usually it starts with a route search, which is flying along the intended route of flight.
    Then maybe creeping line or parallel track search patterns off to the sides of the route.
    When that fails then search grids are assigned. The grids are also broken down into sub grids.
    Aircraft are not assigned to fly in neighboring grids because they often wander out of their assigned grids while making turns in order to keep track spacing.

    So long story short,,, sometimes not every plane in the world gets sent out on a search because they figure it will turn into a big Goat Rope.
    The thought being that just because pilot (A) decided to get himself into trouble in bad weather, it is not worth killing other pilots while trying to find him.

    C-130s are great for high bird como links or to act as a high bird aerial control center to organize the search by the smaller aircraft at lower altitudes.
    There are only so many Air Guard HC-130 (SAR) birds in the 211th and only so many HH-60 PaveHawks in the 210th. (formerly the C-130s, PaveHawks and PJs were all 210th, but it was split into three squadrons.)
    While they are in my opinion the finest rescue group on the planet, they may not be the best searching unit by a long shot.

    There are other Air Guard C-130s assigned to the 144th AS, but their mission and training is hauling folks and freight. Not SAR. They have pre-assign mission tempo requirements that lock them into certain training cycles.

    Now that I have drawn that out.. I still saw too many weird and backwards things during all of my military years (6 Navy, 8 Army Res and Guard, 14 Air Guard) to ever expect a reasonable response from anything that involves the Federal Govt.
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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    I watched a C-130 fly right over skilak and up the upper kenai yesterday. Bluebird day, about 3000 feet off the deck. Last year in October I watch 3 C-117's come right down there river. Another bluebird day then. They came low and slow over us, over skilak and then turned south
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    Training schedules go on. Should Alaska Airlines divert all their flights? Rusts? Maybe the slope operators can pitch in? A search is a very controlled effort, not a collection of whomever show up going wherever they want. Let the search coordinators do their job.

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    Rusts, and Alaska are private companies, the C-130 is paid for by tax dollars, and low level training would help any pilot more than touch and goes, the park is a huge area, so I guess I would answer your question, yes touch and goes could be put off for a couple of days when, should there be any survivors, the most good could be done. I would definitely bet the crews would love to be helping. As to coordinating a search safely, I am sure that could be done, whenever the coast guard had to go off station put the AF on. Even I, a lowly 206 pilot could figure that out.
    The winner isn't the person with the most gold when they die, but rather, the person with the most stories.

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    Look at the search track map. These guys are good at what they do.
    http://www.nps.gov/katm/parknews/loa...;pageid=292047

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    Float Pilot did a great job breaking down how SARs are tasked. If the controlling agency doesn't request or no longer needs the use of the Alaska Air Guard then so be it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    headoutdaplane:

    The search areas are pretty much assigned by RCC (Rescue Coordination Center).
    Unless it is a Coast Guard run operation from Juneau.
    Not in this case, my friend.

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    I can't remember if it was yesterday or the day before, but there was an Air Guard C-17 flying around the Brooks Range at 1000 agl or lower. I heard them on the radio saying they were doing low level training. I didn't feel that having something that large and fast blasting around the hills during sheep season was a great idea....but who am I?....Louis
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    Quote Originally Posted by headoutdaplane View Post
    Rusts, and Alaska are private companies, the C-130 is paid for by tax dollars, and low level training would help any pilot more than touch and goes, the park is a huge area, so I guess I would answer your question, yes touch and goes could be put off for a couple of days when, should there be any survivors, the most good could be done. I would definitely bet the crews would love to be helping. As to coordinating a search safely, I am sure that could be done, whenever the coast guard had to go off station put the AF on. Even I, a lowly 206 pilot could figure that out.
    Maybe the crews still have to maintain currencies/qualifications to fly their primary mission of Combat Search and Rescue. Maybe the training has something to do with that?

    What about maintenance schedules on the multi-million dollar equipment? Crew Rest? Who is doing the other SARs/events that are responded to on a regular basis that DON'T make the news?? There are many, so I hear.

    There MAY be more to the situation than you see. A lowly 206 pilot should be able to figure that out.

    Or you are right and they are all dummies.

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    You have to keep in mind, that there are 2 different kinds of C-130's up here. There's C-130's, and HC-130's. The HC's are the SAR birds, and the Slicks are just cargo haulers. The slick, which I'm sure was the type doing touch and go's has no SAR equipment on board. No PJ's no extra windows, no FLIR, no comm gear other than the basics; also, the crews are not trained in SAR. Sending a slick C-130 out on a SAR is a waste of resources when there are better options available. You would only get 2 more sets of eyes, which is going a lot faster than a Beaver, or 206, which would be far more useful than a standard C-130. There is a limit to what is spent on search and rescues... sad but true. Why spend $10K per hour with a slick C-130, when a couple hundred $ for a CAP Beaver would be more effective? At what point do you draw the line? Stop all operations in the Department of Defense and State of Alaska every time a plane goes down? While I might like that for my personal sake, it's just not viable. In the SAR business, you reach the point of diminishing returns rapidly.

    As far as touch n goes, there are definitely minimum currency requirements that have to be met, and different types of approaches and just plain old touch n goes are part of them. There are a lot of C-130 pilots in the ANG and just because you see several planes coming to Homer in any given month, chances are, no 2 of them are piloted by the same crews. (They keep lots of pilots, so that when you are in a deployed environment, you can keep the planes flying around the clock, swapping out crews). Yesterday, we shot a tactical visual approach into Kandahar with 800 meters vis, and powerful enough thermals to put a 206 on it's back. I'm really glad the pilot at the controls had plenty of touch and go practice in the past 30 days.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    Yesterday, we shot a tactical visual approach into Kandahar with 800 meters vis, and powerful enough thermals to put a 206 on it's back. I'm really glad the pilot at the controls had plenty of touch and go practice in the past 30 days.
    Holy Cow! Put a 206 on its back? Only 800M visibility? I sure am glad those guys had T&Gs in Homer on a beautiful day, instead of looking for the Beaver.
    The winner isn't the person with the most gold when they die, but rather, the person with the most stories.

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    Those guys doing T&Gs in Homer were doing what they were ordered to do. The Beaver search is being directed by the National Park Service, not the Air Guard. If the NPS wanted more Guard support they could surely get it. If you want to continue to complain about the search call the NPS. Stop blaming the Air Guard.

    Akheloce, thanks for your service. Stay safe.

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    My last post was snotty and unbecoming, I am sorry.

    I think that the point of diminishing returns has been met. I am not blaming the AG as much as the system. I understand the crew was doing what was ordered, the point being that the aircraft is in the air, the crew is on duty and being paid, and (if you read the original post) the crew would much more enjoy, flying the aircraft on varied terrain on a search mission. Yes the same amount of money would be more effective spent on a CAP aircraft, however, the C130 was in the air, let's take advantage of it.

    I also will thank you for your service, come on by Homer and I will by you a beer at the Legion - that offer goes to all my brother veterans and active duty.
    The winner isn't the person with the most gold when they die, but rather, the person with the most stories.

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    Quote Originally Posted by headoutdaplane View Post
    Holy Cow! Put a 206 on its back? Only 800M visibility? I sure am glad those guys had T&Gs in Homer on a beautiful day, instead of looking for the Beaver.
    Anyone else out there that thinks that touch-and-goes are the silliest of all training maneuvers? Only two times in real life does that maneuver raise its head: when the pilot has screwed up an approach and landing, or during a missed approach. The latter (an instrument procedure) isn't really a touch-and-go at any rate. And a screwed up approach and landing are pilot errors based upon poor training or lack of regular flying. I, for one, don't think that touch-and-go training is very helpful, considering the amount of time spent (or wasted!) on it during early flight training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Look at the search track map. These guys are good at what they do.
    http://www.nps.gov/katm/parknews/loa...;pageid=292047
    HOLY SMOKE !!! That's a lotta searching, for sure!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly 1 View Post
    Anyone else out there that thinks that touch-and-goes are the silliest of all training maneuvers? Only two times in real life does that maneuver raise its head: when the pilot has screwed up an approach and landing, or during a missed approach. The latter (an instrument procedure) isn't really a touch-and-go at any rate. And a screwed up approach and landing are pilot errors based upon poor training or lack of regular flying. I, for one, don't think that touch-and-go training is very helpful, considering the amount of time spent (or wasted!) on it during early flight training.
    I think you are forgetting about our local wildlife up here. More than once I have had a bear or moose walk out on the strip in front of me and I had to go around. The second I was signed off to solo, I was doing touch and goes for hours at a time (ok so alot were stop n goes). This is how I perfected the short field approach and learned how to put it on the numbers every time.

    Lets take a look at the C-130 doing T&G and the scenarios YOU listed. What do you think the chances are that they have had to shoot actual instrument approaches this summer? I would give that about a 100% chance due to the crappy weather we have had all summer here. Without practice the steps needed to pull off a go around in a complex aircraft are not second nature to you the way they need to be when you are really in the soup and things go south. I would much rather see them shooting T&G and actually burning the fuel, versus loading up, going to altitude, dumping it and returning just to do it again. I used to watch the P-3s at Barber point in HI. doing that very thing towards the end of each month.

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    How does a guy get good at anything? Practice. How does a new pilot become proficient in crosswinds? Practice. How does a pilot of average skills learn to land a Cub on a short strip? Practice. How does an accomplished pilot hone his skills after a few months of not flying? Practice. How do the Valdez contest participants prepare for the STOL competition? Practice. I like to practice landings and take offs. Anybody can fly an airplane in level cruise. I let passengers do it all the time. Landing and taking off requires more skill. And practice.

    Balked landings are a different animal. That isn't something I can practice. The success of a go-around in bad conditions is the result of being prepared. That's what checklists are for.

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