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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:38 pm 
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Isn't the C-124 the one with the cowlings that are way larger than the engines? I suppose they did that to make things look proportional, other wise the engines would look too small for the job. So did you have access to all engines in flight? I read a story some place about a guy changing or removing an over heated generator or alternator due to a bad bearing in flight. Of course they had to shut down the engine first, then restart after the job was done. What all could be done to the engines in flight? Could you gain access to spark plugs? Or just the accessory section at the rear?
Yeah thats a big airplane. No boots on the leading edge of wings what was used? And what is on the wing tip?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:52 pm 
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engguy wrote:
Yeah thats a big airplane. No boots on the leading edge of wings what was used? And what is on the wing tip?


If I recall correctly, the "tip tanks" on the C-124 are the avgas powered deice heaters. Don't know the specifics, but I imagine they blew hot air through the leading edges.

When I was a kid, C-124's were based at Dobbins AFB in Marietta, GA. I got to see them come and go all the time. The engines did look disporportionatly small, and due to the size of the airframe, they looked sloooow as they chugged through the air.

I'd love to see one airborne again, but I don't see that happening...


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:54 pm 
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I suppose since this has been moved Chief doesn't know where it is now.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:17 pm 
engguy wrote:
I suppose since this has been moved Chief doesn't know where it is now.


Actually, it looked to me like that the last 2 or 3 replies by the "Chief" were entered after this thread was moved to the Maintenance Hangar forum.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:18 am 
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The cowlings on the C-124 were much larger than the engine power section (cylinder area). It was "thick" for streamlining and for the air scoop and air filters for the big carburetor. We had on our "C" models, what was referred to as "orange Peel" cowling. It consisted of four sections, top, bottom, inboard, and outboard. The sections were hinged on the rear and fastened in place by four overcenter levers on each of the four sections. It was simple to open the cowling, hinge it aft and go to work on the engine. In contrast, the early "A" models, (aircraft number 1 through 79 to be exact) had an eight section cowling that had to removed by large number of dzus fasteners and laid on the ground. (similar to how we uncowl FiFi, now days).

We had access to all four engines in flight. Only the accessory sections.
I had a friend who was on a C-124 enroute from Hickam to Richmond RAAF Base, Australia. The number 4 alternator failed and they had to shut down the engine. They followed procedures and advised Richmond approach they had a problem with an engine and had to shut it down. Richmond alerted their CFR folks. Meantime, my friend went down into "P" compartment, got an alternator pad cover (We kept the pad covers in little bags there just for that purpose). He went out the crawl way to number 4 engine, removed the alternator, put the pad on it and returned to the cockpit. He started up the engine and the co-pilot advised Richmond that they had repaired the engine, restarted it and all was OK. My friend said you should have heard the radio traffic and sense of amazement from both Richmond and other aircraft that had been listening in .

The early model C-124's had wing leading edge heaters inside the leading edge that had a history of fires. Our "C" models had a heater in each wing tip and the hot air was blown in through the leading edge. We used them sparingly. There was a small flat black square of painted on the leading edge outboard of the outboard engines. "Leading edge" lights mounted high up on the fuselage provided lighting at night. We just kept an eye on the black area for ice and then turned on the heaters.

Since I was based at Dover during my C-124 time, I am very disappointed that the C-124 at the Dover museum is the only remaining "slick wing" C-124 of the nine still in existence.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:36 pm 
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Chief, then there was no access to the power section from the rear?
Probably like the C97 QEC with stainless steel fire wall? Yeah I bet most folks don't know that a C97 QEC has all stainless steel skin surrounding the whole accessory section sides and top, if it were aluminum a fire would make a mess of it.
Sure wish you had some pictures of that crawl space to the engines. Was it pretty tight heading out to the outer ones? I'm suprized they didn't just make a plane that they could crank the engines inside the wing to work on them. Couldn't they do that on zepplins?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:50 pm 
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Image

My scanner is not that great to do slides. However here is one from a slide I took as we did an engine change while in Chateauroux, France in 1963 during the U.N. Congo Operation. You can see the flat front of the nacelle that was the firewall, that was exposed when we removed the engine QEC. The rectangular shape in the firewall is the door that we opened to get access to the accessory section... You are right that we could not get to the power section in flight, only the accessory section.

Going out through the crawlway to the inboard engines was not much of a problem. There were smooth wooden floor panels, painted olive drab, and I could slide ourselves along fairly easy. However, as you got out farther towards the outboard engines, the crawlway space became lower. I only weighed about 145 lbs then. I would have to take off my parka during cold weather and push it along in front of me until I reached the outboard engine. Then I would put it back on to work.

I also went to school on the R4360-59B used on the C-97. However, I never worked on the C-97. There was a SAC KC97 refueling squadron at Dover for a short time during my C-124 days there. We were MATS or MAC and they were SAC. They never associated with us. They had their own security and kept us out of their area. Our only association was that they taxiied at high speeds through our C-124 parking area on their way to the runway. We had to get out of their way or get run over.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:06 pm 
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engguy,
BTW, The black square on the leading edge of the wing in the above photo is the de-icing mark I mentioned in the previous post.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 5:01 am 
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Did the military do in house overhauls on the engines or was that a contract with some company?
What kinda things did they teach at the engine schools? Was it overhaul or just the average maintenance things and operation?

Whats the longest an engine sat before running on planes you where around?

The engines on your plane must have been the low tension mags?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:25 pm 
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The Air Force had engine overhaul facilities such as SAAMA in Texas (San Antonio Air Material Area) and SBAMA in California (San Bernadino Air Material Area). They were manned mostly by Air Force civilian employees and they did a great job on our engines. As I said in an earlier post, we had increased our scheduled time changes up to 1300 hours on our engines. However, around 1964, the Air Force started to contract some of this work out to a company in Alabama, AERODEX. These were the sorriest engines I ever saw. Oil leaks just as soon as we installed them. In fact, I know of crew chiefs who would have, for example, a 1300 hour SAAMA engine on their C-124 that was running OK, but was due time change. Instead of taking a chance on a newly overhauled engine from AERODEX, they would change their aircraft maintenance records to reflect a lower time so they could keep the older SAAMA engine.

At the schools, we learned engine theory, trouble shooting, routine maintenance(mag adjustment, valve adjustment compression checks, cylinder changes etc). Paper work(record keeping, tech orders etc). The instructors would "break" or place a problem in an engine and we would have to trouble shoot until we found the problem and fix it. Another example would be to change a cylinder. Each tool dropped doing this would be a deduction on our grade. Overhaul was not taught because this was considered "factory" type work that didn't take a trained engine mechanic to accomplish.

Aircraft would sometimes set for a couple months without starting the engines. For example, we blew part of the top of the right wing off of 52-1032 in 1962 at Dover during fuel tank repairs. We parked it in what we called the "Black Hangar" for repair. After the repairs, we pushed it back out on the flightline, did a run-up, test hop and put it back in service.

Yes we had low tension mags. The early "A" models up to 51-5197 had the high tension ignition systems. The next series of C-124's, 51-5198 and subequent also had the side facing flight engineer's panel. I could easily spot those early models with high tension systems because they had a window just aft of the copilot for the flight engineer. Ours didn't have the window.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:04 am 
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I've heard of AERODEX, How about Cooper in texas, that I guess was and then became again Dallas Airmotive? I think they had a contract for C97 engines??? I think they did a better job than AERODEX.
What do you think the problem is with some of these engine overhaul places like aerodex, why they couldn't do as good a job as the military centers?
I guess your right about the factory type work of large radial overhaul.
Thats how alot of places do it, not many of the mechanics or assembers are licensed, and its like working in high security you only have to know what is required to assemble your little piece of the pie.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:30 am 
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I remember discussion in Stoney's NATA magazine back when T-28s were having many engine failures with motors that had been given even military overhauls, canned and just removed from the can 25 years later and hung on airplanes. From what I recall there was a developing consensus in the 1990s that during the Viet Nam era the standards of overhaul had fallen a lot, with many very poorly done engines turning up.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:45 am 
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I never had any hands-on experience with overhauled engines from Cooper or Dallas Airmotive.

My opinion based on my experience on the receiving end of many overhauled recip engines is that it all boiled down to "dollars". The USAF civilians were highly paid. However, they were experienced professionals, proud of their work, and understood the critical importance of their finished product. AERODEX on the other hand, was the lowest bidder in an attempt to reduce D.O.D. expenses during the Kennedy/MacNamara era. My impression was that AERODEX was a newly formed company that hired people "off the street", paid a lower wage and we got what we paid for.

One example of an AERODEX engine installed on my aircraft. ( I guess I should have "fudged" my 781 and kept my old SAAMA engine). I installed the engine in the number 2 position. After the first flight, I had oil down the full length of the left side of the fuselage and dripping off the tail. I opened the cowling and it appeared that "EVERY" push rod housing was leaking at the crankcase end. I couldn't believe it, on a newly overhauled engine. Washed down the engine, ran it up a few minutes, and sure enough, they were all leaking.

I removed one of the front push rod housings and saw that it had been machined down (looked that they used coarse sandpaper) to remove the wear/slight groove that usually developed over time on the crankcase end, under the gland nut packing. Needless to say, installing new push rod housings on every cylinder of a 4360 is a big job.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:50 pm 
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Big job is an understatement. Is that what ya had to do?
The overhaul $ deal, probably so. Also age, meaning the older higher paid ones were probably left over WWII and commercial airplane radial guys. And like you say actually cared about the thing a bit. Like nowadays that kinda work gets in the way of text messaging etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:11 pm 
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So they must not have run the engines after the overhaul. If they did oil leaks would have shown up.
How long did Aerodex exist? I've seen ads with engines they did and of course the owner thinks they got a gold mine.


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