Tuesday, April 15, 2014

But What Should I Call It?

Now pilots have always used their hands to describe a certain tactic or move when explaining aerial combat to someone else.

The Germans did it...

Dolfo Galland Hand Flying
We did it...

John C. Meyer Hand Flying

Former aircrew types do it...

Pinch and Lex Hand Flying

Even if they're not pilots, they do it...

Yours Truly and Tuna Hand Flying

I suppose it's somewhat similar to playing the air guitar?

Heck, Eric Clapton himself has done that!

Now as a retired aircraft maintenance type, I always feel a bit awkward about "hand flying". While I know the basics of flying and something about air combat, I've never actually flown an aircraft for any length of time. And that was a long time ago and I could barely keep the bird straight and level. (It's harder than you'd think!)

So I gave it a bit of thought while flying out to Sandy Eggo. I mean what could we former maintainers do to explain something to non-maintainers? Also, what could we do to look "cool" when getting together with other maintainers?

So I thought, what does aircraft maintenance actually look like?

Vertical aircraft panel securing

Horizontal aircraft panel securing

Hhmm, the hands play a key role, don't they?

So I came up with something. ORPO1 (a fellow maintainer) and I demonstrated it to The WSO while onboard the USS Ronald Reagan recently.

The Sarge and ORPO1 demonstrate...

I think it looks cool. Your mileage may vary...

But a name, I need a name for this.

Any suggestions?

And yes, "acting like idiots" has already been suggested.

And rejected.


  1. Must have been between launches and you guys were bored, right?
    Well, the still photos convey some idea of how hand flying is used to describe what was happening in the air. In reality, both flight and hand flying are motion filled events. So, to move over to your question, the two of you would not have positioned your hands in one set position, you would have been moving them as if you were in fact manipulating a tool. Since most aircraft tools seem to be rotary in operation, I'd suggest the terminology be "Screwing around". Just sayin'

    1. Well, The WSO was using a still camera, so it was not possible to show motion. That being said, if you look closely, ORPO1 appears to be holding down something with his left hand and turning a wrench with his right.

      As for me, I'm bracing myself on the F-4D's radar package (specifically the synchronizer) while undoing the bolts on top of the Control Power Supply (CPS). (At least that's what I was picturing in my head. Perhaps it's a muscle memory thing?)

      Screwing around, not bad. Will take it under advisement.

  2. Dancing like white men.

    1. Bwaaaaaahaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaa.....

      Love it!

  3. Replies
    1. Très bien!

      Quant à votre «nom» - maintenant que je fais.


  4. Hand Tooling, or handling your tool, air screwing, maintenance charades, mech-miming, mime-meching, or wrench cranking (or even crench wranking!) I like Monkeywranglers "Air Wrenching" the best though.

    1. As much as I like your suggestions...

      So far Monkeywrangler has the inside track.

  5. I like "air wrenching"! I'd like to suggest that maybe you should also be bent a little forward, keeping your eyes on that bolt you just dropped on the tarmac. Or were they all dzus (?) fasteners?

    1. Good style points Dave!

      Oh there were many panels which didn't have dzus fasteners on the F-4 (C & D).

      A lot of brass screws were used (I'm thinking Panel 4L which covered the CW Modulator, part of the radar) and the heads on those mothers stripped out if you looked at them wrong. DAMHIK.

  6. Notice you have a pic of John C, Meyer. I had the "pleasure" of briefing him when he came to RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge when he was VC, Hq, USAF (later became CO of SAC. He and SAC deserved each other--a real prick Undoubtedly a capable officer and fine stick--but still a prick. (IMHO) (sez a guy who left as an O-3 one step ahead of the Sheriff, lol)

    1. I have never heard anything contradictory to what you portray Virgil. I think you have the right of it.

      And many a good man (and woman) left the service as an O-3. With or without the constabulary hot on their trail!

  7. Without guys like me, your humble Crew Chief....................nobody goes flyin.......................................


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.