Sunday, March 22, 2009

Well Grounded

Assembling the MiG-23 showed how support equipment is necessary.

In addition to creating the exhibits, one of the many jobs at the museum is to gather and archive as much information as possible (for ease of access and future use). As with all government and military projects, documentation sometimes seems like more of a job than the project itself. This book, complete with mechanics fingerprints (ours or theirs, I can't tell), catalogs the ground handling equipment for the L-29.

The picture at right shows the actual engine "truck" pictured on the manual above. Locating this manual and getting it on the list to be scanned was triggered by a recent request from a RedStar flyer who is restoring one aircraft for flight and another for museum display.

The aircraft being restored are not L-29's but almost everything else we have is currently in use so we were looking jointly at what we have available and how it could be used. Sometimes we have had to be quite creative at building our own fixtures and equipment, so we encouraged our friend to "think outside the box" (and) "That" led to story telling.

No matter how creative we get, we can be topped when we hear stories from the field. A friend, formerly a mechanic "from the other side" told of how he needed to change a tire while at a remote field in a foreign country. There was a tire, but no jacks were available. The local commander said "no problem", and brought two squads of airmen out. One squad lifted the wing of the airplane while the other stacked truck tires underneath until the airplane tire could be changed. Human ingenuity is universal when it is allowed.

Ground support equipment - maintenance fixtures, tow bars, tugs, starting equipment and the like continue to be a growing part of the necessary (and sometimes critical) assets of the museum.

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