Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seawolf 324 is back home.

The recovery crew returned to Lakeside last night, about midnight, with Seawolf 324 on the trailer. Disassembly and loading at Angle Fire, NM went smooth using a local boom truck. Guns and rockets were removed to keep the overall width within highway limits.

The crew reported many waves, horns and people taking photos during the drive back to Arizona along Interstate 25 and 40 through Albuquerque.

Here are some photos taken this morning at Overseas Aircraft Support during the unloading.

Dave Renner operating the boom truck to lift Seawolf 324 while the trailer is driven forward.

Now Seawolf 324 is tucked in with the bigger UH-1H Super Hueys along the edge of the OAS ramp. All the guns and rockets have been removed and stored. Next step, remove the transmission and find the source of the vibrations that ended our trip to Oshkosh.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25, more photos

First photo was taken at Show Low Airport in Arizona just prior to departure. Seawolf with all guns and rockets, ready to depart for Oshkosh.

This photo was taken at the landing site near Black Lake, just south of Angle Fire, NM. Diana sitting in the cockpit, Scott sitting in the crew seat taking a break. At this point we are trying to troubleshoot our high freq. vibration problem. Transmission oil lines and hydraulic pump lines have the highest vibration levels.

During the long cross-country flights, the dual M60 and .50 cal door guns were removed and stowed inside so we could fly with doors closed.

Here is the bucket slowly filling as we drain the transmission oil. If you look closely you can see a few of the "cow pies" that were all around and under the helicopter.
The rancher's pasture we landed in was by chance located near the home of Larry Holst, who is a Vietnam Vet, has been around helicopters all his life, loves the Huey, and came to help us within minutes of landing. He loaned us one of his vehicles to use and helped in so many ways over the next several days. Where we landed there is no cell phone coverage, so we went over to Larry's house to use his phone. He even came out during the night to check on the helicopter.
Angel Fire airport is at an elevation of 8,380 ft. The site we landed at was slightly higher, around 8,700 ft. Heavy rain every afternoon with low clouds and cool temperatures.
The helicopter will be loaded on a trailer and returned to Arizona this week.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 24 The End for this trip.

Here is a photo of the helicopter sitting in a rancher's pasture where we landed near Black Lake, NM. Black Lake is about 8 miles south of Angel Fire, NM airport where we were heading after hearing some strange noises from the transmission area. The noise got worse, so we parked the bird here.

After several ground runs to try and locate the problem, and talking to home base back in Arizona, they sent us a hydraulic pump. This morning it arrived by plane and we installed it right away. The next ground run resulted in the same vibrations and noise, plus we got a XSM CHIP LIGHT on the Master Caution Panel.

So the trip to Oshkosh and AirVenture 2010 ends here today. The UH-1B will ride home on a trailer and the crew has also returned, some by ground, some by air.

To all the Seawolves who we wanted to meet along the way, and who were going to fly with us in this restored gunship, I am very sorry that we had to end the journey today. But better safe, on the ground, to be repaired to fly another day.

Larry Clark

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Leaving for Oshkosh.

Ready for departure tomorrow morning for Oshkosh.

Radios on the left side of the pedestal are the modern ones we use to fly the helicopter. Those can be removed when we put the helicopter on display.

All spit polished and ready to go.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 21 UPDATE

Here are some new photos taken today. First, in the hangar, Ray and Scott are installing the gun kit mounts.

This photo taken outside on the ramp. More gun mounts being installed. Notice the DUAL M-60 machine guns and loaded rocket pods.
Here is the mini-gun is mounted, dual M-60s and rocket pods on the port side.

More flying today, doors open, gunners in the seats and final configuration. The good news, we move Seawolf 324 to the airport hangar and the floor is dry under the helicopter....NO LEAKS in any of the systems. The bird is ready to leave for Oshkosh on Friday morning.
Route of flight, Show Low to Albuquerque, to Raton, NM, to Lamar, CO, to McCook, NE for overnight. Then Saturday to Kearney, NE and Fremont, NE. Sunday Ames, IA and Oshkosh, WI.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20 update.

More of the gun kit has arrived. Some parts are being painted.

Mounted on the helicopter for flying tomorrow and new photos.

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 16 Update

Out flying Seawolf today, just to put some hours on the engine and make sure everything is working OK. Getting ready to leave next Friday for AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.

Photos by Scott Curtis.
More of the gun kit arrives on Monday (rockets, mini gun, etc.). Will be taking some high res. air-to-air photos next week with all the armament installed.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14 Update

Only 11 days until we arrive in Oshkosh for AirVenture 2010. Show starts on Monday, July 26 with the Seawolf being one of the featured aircraft in the Warbirds in Review segment.

Photos below of the replacement (only 800 hours since new) T53-L-13B engine now installed in Seawolf. First ground runs completed to set the idle, adjust the bleed band, IGV, droop cam, RPM beep range etc.

Left side of engine.
Right side of engine.
Puddles of oil under the helicopter. More leaks to fix!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 7 more photos of the rebuild.

More photos of 324 during rebuild and painting. The FAA registration is N370AS.

Some of the inert ammo that we have to load the chutes with.

Interior compartments that look like the day it left the factory. Primer paint, clean, new wires, etc.

Here is a video of Seawolf 324 sitting in the rain. Just like rain in Vietnam, 38 years later.

July 7, more gun photos

I know many of you Seawolves will say, "it's too clean"! But we have tried to made it look like the day it left the Bell factory. You guys probably never saw it that way, because the Army had already trashed it and beat it up before they "loaned" it to HA(L)-3.

New canvas on the seat frames.

Help me out here Seawolves. What is wrong with this dual M-60 mount? I'm sure you guys did not fly a configuration like this with ammo belts feeding up over your gun. Must have had many jams and problems. Is this backwards?
Email me from your Seawolf forum. Larry Clark

July 7, a few more photos

Seawolf 324 Gunship has GUNS !

Door guns were put on the mounts today for a test fit.

Twin M-60 door guns. We made this mount exactly like a photo we found on the Seawolf web site, but it sure looks odd. We plan to alter the mounting so that both grips are down when the guns are pointed outward.

Any Seawolf gunners out there who can tell us what the dual M-60 mouting is suppose to look like? Ammo cans mount where? Ammo belts feed how?

Another angle on the .50 cal door gun with ammo box and a short belt of dummy rounds.
This is the "sim fire" .50 that uses propane and oxygen with a spark plug to make a flash and sound like a real gun. Go to this web site to see a video of the gun in operation.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6 update, engine problems

After 38 years, Seawolf 324 flies again. We did hover a little two years ago, but here is the helicopter in full flight, at altitude and up to 90 knots doing blade track and balance.

As we counted down the remaining days to departure for French Valley, CA (Wings & Rotors) the weather did not cooperate. Here is a photo of the TWO bladed Seawolf 324 sitting in the rain waiting on the crew to return from lunch.

We worked late to make adjustments and made numerous short test flights and ground runs to check everything out. This photo was taken about 7:00 pm with 12 people still working to make the trip to the USS Midway happen.

Everything was looking good for departure the next day, Thursday, July 1st. We made one more trim tab adjustment, and needed one more short test flight to check the RPM warning system. During that flight we had a problem! The engine compressor stalled, so we landed in a big open field about three miles from the shop. Several mechanics and our engine expert came out to check everything and make some adjustments.

We did several ground runs at full power, and it looked good for flying the helicopter back to the shop. But as I hovered it did the compressor stall again. This short video will show what happened. Watch the tail pipe very close during the last few seconds of the video.

So we left the helicopter sitting right there until the crew came back with a lift truck and flat bed trailer to haul it back to the shop.

The bad engine has been removed and a different T53-L-13B is being installed for the trip to Oshkosh on July 23rd.

Sorry Seawolves, we didn't make it over to the USS Midway. But we are very glad this was a minor problem that occured close to home and not half way across the desert. Nobody was hurt, no damage and the flight testing of Seawolf 324 will continue in a few days.

The following was added on the Seawolf Forum by Bill Rutledge on 7/7/10:

Brother Larry Looks like a Malfuntion on the A/B .I forgot to tell you About not Needing An AFTERBURNER installed for a CatShot off the Midway. You set Her Back Down OH so Gently again, Great Job.