Author Topic: The Mefford Field Anachronisms  (Read 2263 times)

Offline Inactive II

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While Inside Site 29-B Building 1 Con-3...
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2022, 05:59:32 AM »
Taxing inline southeasterly in heavy rain & wind the Gulfstreams straightaway beelined it to the Site 29-B Security Gate, arriving couple minutes later two Navy LSSVs drivers behind wheels guarded outside by very wet parka-donned, AR-armed SPs the starboard Gulfstream cabin doors opened, parka-donned Navy Intelligence Lieutenant JGs deplaning first, parka-donned B-17 crews following in line, JGs directing them to board their assigned LSSVs. Crews & JGs now onboard, wet parka-donned SPs dismissed, the LSSVs were waved thru the Site 29-B Security Gate veering right toward six recently assembled very large windowless prefabricated buildings officially designated Site 29-B Buildings 1 to 6 setback 50 feet from & in line with northeast perimeter fence, single central large double-door entrance-exit in front guarded by a very wet parka-donned SP. Driving direct to the Site 29-B Building 1 Command & Control Center diagonal to Hangar C the crews led by their JGs filed in to the right entrance halting at the “entry tank” (security holding area) where each was asked to remove their sopping wet parkas, show their Military IDs issued whilst in transit to Lemoore on the Gulfstreams, biometrically scanned from all sides, “wanded” & patted down by SPs & Intelligence NCOs, afterwards told to follow their JGs, don't look around whilst being escorted to Conference Room 3 (“Con-3”) where they’d be further briefed.

Everyone now inside Con-3 the entrance door was locked from outside by an Intelligence NCO standing guard next to it, crews forthwith assigned seating in two rows fronting line of Cosco tables neatly laid out with documents on both sides by the JGs they afterwards sitting perpendicularly right of them. For several minutes nobody spoke, suddenly entering from a left open door everyone spontaneously standing up at attention, JGs saluting, the NAS Commander saying nothing made way center in front of the tables:

"Sorry for being late gentlemen, I am Captain John Dudley Masterson, Commander Naval Air Station Lemoore, the US Navy, the Armed Forces Of The United States, are pleased you are here. Your mission is to fly Preston’s Pride from Mefford Field Airport to here arriving hopefully no later than 4:00 p.m. today. I am the top-most ‘brass hat’ you will be working for, everything, anything needed to accomplish this mission you will be given total cooperation by all personnel at Mefford, Naval Intelligence Commander Rodger Ericson from The Pentagon will now brief you on your Security Clearances.”


he forthwith taking over the presentation whilst Captain Masterson was departing. Speaking earnestly Commander Ericson said issuing such clearances would normally be handled by a lower ranking officer but the civilian B-17 crews were an unusual exception:

“None of you are reserve military some here never having served at all. By law we must explain to all military personnel all potential risks of being subjected to known biohazards while conducting their lawful duties, we cannot say no other biohazards are present aboard Preston’s Pride all personnel working around and inside her have been apprised of potential exposure to unknown biohazards, all agreeing to sign Biohazard Risk Advisories ("biowaivers" hereon) acknowledging this. If any of you do not want to risk exposure to potential unknown biohazards you must decide now, you still be required to read & sign your clearances given you know all that’s needed to be known about Preston’s Pride and the fly-out mission, not doing so will put you in risk of being subjected to UCMJ (Uniform Code Of Military Justice) prosecution given all of you by Presidential Order have been impressed into military service.”

Quietly appreciating the gravity of being subjected to potential unknown biohazards the B-17 crews individually weighed them against the need for flying out Preston’s Pride not knowing why she and by extension the Phantom & Heinkel 177 were so damn important to the US Government, after some “pregnant” seconds “Rick” the most senior B-17 pilot asked Navy Intelligence Commander Ericson why Preston’s Pride was:

“We don’t know why, that’s not being flippant! We don’t if she’s even Preston’s Pride! You’d seen all intelligence we have on her, she’s ‘factory fresh’ (condition) logically impossible knowing she was already 13 years old when AMVETS got her in 1958! Either she was brought here (to Earth) whole ‘replacing’ The Real McCoy whole or she’d been ‘miraculously restored’ from inside out either way she’s airworthy and the US Government must understand why and how which is why she’d been officially deemed a ‘National Security Threat’ till we can.”

“This is the one case (situation) where you must ‘trust’ us, yes the US Government, to ‘do the right thing’ trying to figure out the why & how, that’s why this compound (Site 29-B) was set up, corny as this is ‘Uncle Sam Needs You Now’ that’s the unvarnished truth guys!”

Mulling the dead seriousness of Commander Ericson’s reply statement the crews again paused some seconds before saying anything, breaking the ice "Dannie" the junior B-17 pilot spoke first; “Why bring two B-17 crews here?” Commander Ericson replying nonchalantly:

“We weren’t sure how may (of you) would not sign the biowaivers if enough did we probably could assemble one crew, if both pilots didn’t we’d have to fly her out with a military crew risking crashing her in really bad weather like we’re having now. Flying her out with you guys safer but not cheaper, ‘safe’ always wins if they’re good alternatives (prepping & flying her with experienced ground & air crews)!”

Why not wait till weather cleared asked one of the ground crewmen; Commander Ericson again earnestly replying;

“Keeping her at Mefford (Field Airport) second longer than necessary not knowing all potential dangers puts everybody at risk, military and civilian, we must fly her here ASAP to know whether there are any!”

The crews once again pausing some seconds before saying anything “Rick”, a retired Air Force Major, then spoke up; “I’m in Commander, ‘military’ in me says sign, besides ya’ll out-rank me!” everyone in room spontaneously breaking out in laughter; “Knew you would Major!” Commander Ericson smiling back, “ice broken” the B-17 crews forthwith were escorted both sides of table by the JGs, invited to inspect & sign their respective security clearances & biowaivers witnessed & countersigned by the JGs they collecting them for deposit in Building 1's “Records Unit”. With all documents signed the senior JG announced that their assigned mission transporting them from San Diego to Lemoore NAS, enroute Preston’s Pride briefing, overseeing security clearance & biowaiver signings & collection was complete Commander Ericson forthwith granting them permission to depart.

Now alone with aircrews Commander Ericson thanked them for signing the documents, enduring indignities having been impressed into military service without notice nor explanations why; “SPs momentarily will be escorting all of you to the compound’s (Site 29-B’s) Sick Bay for medical examinations before being airlifted to Mefford (Field Airport); stopped raining since we’ve been here, sun’s breaking out, looking good all’ sudden, hope flying her (Preston’s Pride to Lemoore NAS) later today is possible!” forthwith signaling four SPs who’d entered from left to escort them there whilst departing Con-3 walking past them, senior Petty Officer 1st Class SP motioning to the crewmen to follow him; “This way gentlemen, we ask you to not look around while being escorted out of the building.” emphasizing again they're inside a Top Secret government facility, senior SP “navigating the labyrinth” crewmembers & other SPs following into the “exit tank” (security holding area), showing their Military IDs, biometrically scanned from all sides, “wanded” & patted down by SPs & Intelligence NCOs, in line walking outside onto Site 29-B’s "Playground" (concrete expanse dubbed by SPs) into wonderfully clear crisp sunny skies, cold front having quickly moved east meantime.

...To Be Continued...
« Last Edit: September 28, 2022, 06:43:57 AM by Inactive II »

Offline Inactive II

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Piling into LSSVs the B-17 crews forthwith were driven to Site 29-B Building 3. Sick Bay Building 3 was unique in sporting extra-wide front doors designed for quickly admitting gurney patients directly into the Emergency Treatment Center left side of building, right side entrance for non-emergency patients, escorted by SPs in two groups all entered on right into the “inbound entry tank” (security holding area, “outbound tank” adjoining left), IDs checked, “wanded” & patted down, escorted into the “VIP” Dressing Room where there two Naval Corpsmen “took vitals” for recording on electronic medical databases opened for the crews. Asked by Corpsmen to remove all clothing & personnel effects, store on hangars & shelves in securable lockers, don medical gowns & slippers, forthwith doing so they then were escorted single-file into an adjacent Examination Room. Adjacent to line of examination booths stood two Marine Corpsmen side-by-side to Coast Guard Public Health Service Medical Doctor Lieutenant Bre LaTour, a highly credentialed practitioner of radiological & bioweapons contamination medicine she spoke first:

“You are here to be physically examined prior to exposure to potential biohazards for control purposes. Corpsmen will now perform them under my supervision, some exanimations will be uncomfortable but necessary, they are exhaustive so let’s proceed now!”


Proceeding systematically albeit slowly by 1:00 p.m. November 13, 2022 all were complete, with Corpsmen assistance each crewman was asked to review their inspection reports & sign them, escorted back into the VIP Dressing Room all then issued standard Navy fatigues to wear; “Don’t y’all have Marine fatigues for this ‘ol Sergeant?” quipped a ground crewman, checking the Site 29-B Wardrobe Inventory on his military smartphone the Marine Corpsman smiled; “Yes we have one your size, no Sergeant stripes though.” he’d replied; “That’ll do Corpsman, maybe I’ll be allowed to keep it as a souvenir later!” he’d smiled, all fatigues donned disposable hazmat jumpsuits & gloves were then slipped over them by the Corpsmen they looking for rips & tears, added security knowing the crews were being exposed to potential biohazards around & within Preston’s Pride.

Whilst hazmat jumpsuits were being slipped on the B-17 crews an Army Chinook personnel carrier landed yards from Building 3 for transporting the crewmen to The Ranch, escorted out of the VIP Dressing Room by SPs the crewmen forthwith were waved through the “outbound tank”, security checkpoint & Building B right entrance onto The Playground directing them to the Chinook's Rear Cargo Doorway where standing inside were two Army MP Sergeants additionally trained in helicopter loadmastering directing them to perimeter fuselage seating, two Marine Corpsmen with medical equipment next to them commanded by an Air Force Flight Surgeon Major sitting aft port. Despite perfect weather over Lemoore NAS poor weather conditions north of Mefford Field Airport persisted, helicoptering the Chinook to The Ranch delayed 20 minutes, weather conditions still not improving another 15 minute delay was called finally at 1:35 p.m. Navy meteorologists stationed at Lemoore NAS & The Ranch concurring the “GO” signal was given for helicoptering in the B-17 crews.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: August 21, 2022, 04:30:31 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

Offline Inactive II

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Preston's Pride Readied For Flight
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2022, 11:54:38 AM »
Rear Cargo Doorway closed & secured, SPs moved off, the Army Chinook Emphelo lifted off the Site 29-B Playground at 1:37 p.m. November 13, 2022 forthwith swinging right tailed by the Navy Seahawk Emphelo taking off from The Playground seconds later carrying emergency rescue personnel & equipment in event the Chinook had to emergency land or crashed the formation heading southeast towards Stafford at 1,500 feet turning east 2 miles south & paralleling 18th & Niles Avenues, over north Corcoran, paralleling Avenue 176 then turning northeast at Pratt Street underneath a strong rain cell over California State Route 99 extending northeasterly over the Mefford Field Airport Runway 31 compass marker, lowering to 500 feet in hard rain she'd swooped down along line of airport buildings halting forward motion hovering & rotating right 90 degrees safely landing on airport tarmac adjacent to the central taxiway near center of the airport runway at 1:55 p.m. her Main Cargo Door directly facing Preston’s Pride.

Weather conditions now rapidly improving personnel activity on The Ranch quickened in readying Preston’s Pride for flight. Standing parallel to the Chinook’s Main Cargo Door stood line of Navy Intelligence Officers, Aircraft Maintenance, Ground Crew & Fire Control Chiefs flanking The Ranch’s Naval Commander all donning disposable hazmat jumpsuits & gloves ready to greet the B-17 crews, door dropped they’d got their first look at her; “She’s gorgeous!” declared senior B-17 pilot “Rick”; “Absolutely gorgeous!”, deboarding first followed by junior pilot “Dannie” they briskly approached & stood opposite of the Commander;

“Richard (‘Rick’) Warston, Daniel (‘Dannie’) Wicker, I’m Naval Commander Mefford Field Recovery Operations Commander John Frederick, glad to meet you both! Your ground crews are needed to check (out) Preston’s Pride’s (radial) engines now, our “round engine guys” got the cowlings off just minutes ago, couldn’t do that till rain passed.”

Rick & Dannie signaling to their crews together they’d walked with Commander Frederick & entourage up to Preston’s Pride’s nose;

“Every square inch of her outside and in has been inspected for biohazards of every known kind, all her mechanical operating systems have been inspected, fuel & oil lines, electric cables, leads junction boxes, connection points, everything my ‘mechanics’ (aircraft systems specialists & ground crewmen) could get at. The Homelite APU (two-cycle Auxiliary Power Generator inside & adjacent to aft fuselage crew entry door) has been power tested “dry” (not electric circuit connected), thing’s absolutely factory-mint even had gas in the tank, our (Navy) chemists analyzed it (at onsite fully equipped “chemlab” trailer helicoptered in overnight), genuine WWII gas & oils. We’d not done “wet” (circuited) tests yet, need your ground crewmen to do them well as check onboard batteries before powering up her electrical systems.”

Splitting up into two teams the B-17 ground crewmen with Airforce & Navy Aircraft Maintenance & Ground Crew Chiefs forthwith beelined over to elevated platforms erected to inspect each of the four Wright R-1820-97 turbocharged radials commencing with portside Engine No.2. Up on the platform with Air Force radial engine specialists Rick’s Chief Ground Crewman Loren Rikes lovingly eyed the Cyclone; “I’d worked on dozens of modern factory-new & rebuilt Cyclone’s (Wright Aeronautical’s engine series brand name), never ever seen anything like this; look at those leads (electrical wiring & fluid tubing), absolute 'cherry', thing’s gonna fire & go like a Cyclone!” his ground crew comrades making similar glowing comments whilst eyeing Engines Nos. 1, 3, 4.

Working systematically the engine inspections proceeded quickly, Air Force engine crews methodically checking-off engine components & systems under supervision of the B-17 ground crewmen, all A-OK, nothing out of ordinary found, Air Force & B-17 Engine Crew Chief then signed-off on the check lists. Whilst engine inspections were ongoing a second group of B-17 air & ground crewmen, pilots & co-pilots, entered Preston’s Pride through its reopened bomb bay (doors closed whilst in transit from its decade’s long perch on teardrop-shaped land spit adjacent to Tex Drive to Mefford Field Airport tarmac) Senior Pilot Richard Warston leading he straight to the cockpit; “It’s unbelievable, totally unbelievable, look at those (cockpit) instruments Warren (his Copilot Warren Nutley), absolute mint ‘1945’ right down to the switch knobs, gawd what a sight!” whilst peering into the cockpit; “Get up here, take a good look Warren!” Moving aside for him to look he’d gasped; “Oh God, what are we in for? This is ‘Twilight Zone’ stuff, everything damn better work (within Preston’s Pride), ain’t no mood being pranked this way!”

Whilst Rick & Warren ogled over Preston’s Pride cockpit their airmen lined up to enter her via the bomb bay, led by Rick’s Flight Engineer George Carter Davies they’d climbed onto the aft fuselage floor walkway carefully avoiding the “Ma Deuce” hanging over it adjacent to the Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner & Radio Gunner’s Stations, peering inside he’d whistled; “Man-O-Man what a ‘museum’, damn vacuum tubes in these things (electronic instruments) better work or I’ll not fly her!” whilst Air Force aircraft systems & maintenance specialists standing underneath the bomb bay yelling not to touch or operate any controls; “They’ve been checked out but nothing’s been energized, don’t touch the machine guns either, they’re ‘live’ though tied down!” one entreated; “OK ‘Sam’, we’ll wait till she’s “ghost-busted (electrical systems energized) first” half-jokingly replying

Poking head in from starboard aft crew entry door an Air Force aircraft electrical systems specialist yelled at George for him to hurry down fuselage next to the Homelite APU; “We need to get her 'wet' (hooked up for electric power) sir!” Making way down to the specialist George marveled at pristine condition of the ball turret & associated equipment, Browning "Ma Deuces" with live 50 caliber ammo & K-14 electric gunsights, coming up to the specialist he’d asked whether the APU’s generator been “metered” (volt & amperage tested); “They have been sir, volts & amps check out with historical info on them", smiling approvingly George yelled to his Flight Engineer compadre Edward (“Ed”) Rollins for all forward to check ALL power & instrument switches were OFF before hooking up the APU power cables, some seconds passing Ed then hooked them up, asked everyone up forward to forthwith vacate the airplane whilst asking Navy Airfield Firemen armed with CO2 cans (extinguishers) to “take station” forward inside the bomb bay, listen & smell for burning wires & electric-powered equipment.

The Homelite APU was started by an electric solenoid switch from internal aircraft batteries or generator power from the No.2 engine, it also could be externally actuated, connected to a portable gas-powered generator George directed an Air Force ground crewman to fire it up, monitoring volt & amps George was satisfied yelling; “Clear Airplane!” forthwith flipping on APU’s external power solenoid switch it forthwith powering up. APU-generated electric power now running though Preston’s Pride George then yelled; “She’s ‘alive’!” to those standing back from Preston’s Pride fuselage, running near full minute no burning wires or electric-powered equipment George switched off the solenoid.

Her electrical systems working perfectly Preston’s Pride’s four Wright Aeronautical’s R-1820-97’s now could be fired up after avgas (aviation gasoline) was pump in her wing fuel tanks. Preston’s Pride “miraculously restored” lacked avgas in fuel tanks or lubricating oils for the engines, US WWII Motor Octane Number (MON) avgas no longer available Navy chemists had researched equivalent grades compatible with the 1945-era Cyclones, conferring with B-17 air & ground crews in the “chemlab” trailer following the engine & electrical systems inspections a suitable equivalent MON gasoline grade was selected among number of containerized fuels flown in from Lemoore NAS well as suitable oil lubricants. Knowing she was flying less than 30 minutes with just enough fuel to do so the B-17 ground crews quickly identified which fuel tanks to fill, Air Force ground crews forthwith carting fuel containers in front of her main wings, “fuelers” filling the tanks whilst other ground crewmen filled the Cyclone’s oil tanks.

Since mid-morning Navy & Air Force aircraft ground crews, fire, personnel rescue & medical teams in conjunction with Army counterparts in Chinooks & Blackhawks had been rehearsing emergency rescue & fire suppression scenarios in event she’d crash whilst on the airport’s runway well as up to two miles from it, based on them Navy & Air Force emergency vehicles & personnel were to be located midway of the airport runway able to quickly converge on the crashed airplane, Army helicopters two miles out from the runway ready to fly in wherever she’d crash if not become part of her air escort to Lemoore. In conjunction with any emergency operation well as keeping “prying eyes” away the FAA closed all airspace within an 8-mile corridor between Mefford Field Airport and Lemoore NAS up to 18,000 feet effective 3:00 p.m. “until further notice”.

By 3:00 p.m. Preston’s Pride was ready for engine power tests, with clear skies getting her quickly airborne wasn’t pressing, getting her off Mefford Field Airport was the Heinkel 177 had to be on airport tarmac before sundown. Prior to testing the Army Chinook helicoptering in the B-17 crews parked in front of her was relocated north of the Valley Air Crafts building where the Phantom was helicoptered out hours earlier, taxiway tarmac to landing strip now open for flying her out. Selecting which of two complete B-17 aircrews to fly her wasn’t a contingency, Navy assumed a composite crew be formed had too many crewmen refused to sign their biowaivers, stuck with two aircrews to choose from Commander Frederick resolved the conundrum by lining them up across from each other, pulling out his “lucky charm” 1962 Eisenhower quarter given to him by his late dad, pointing to Junior Pilot Dannie Wicker to call when tossed; “Heads!” he’d exclaimed, landing Tails he’d grimaced; “I’ll host y’all (both B-17 crews) at STK Steakhouse in ‘Diego (San Diego) IF she (Preston’s Pride) makes it to Lemoore!” Commander Frederick laughingly said.

Rick’s B-17 aircrew now selected to fly Preston’s Pride Commander Frederick motioned to the Air Force Captain standing next to him in charge of all her airframe & operating systems inspections to sign documents deeming her airworthy Commander Frederick forthwith countersigning them, she’d declared airworthy engine power tests could now commence. Because everything associated with The Mefford Trio was classified so were wireless telecommunications second US Navy personnel step foot on Mefford Field Airport grounds in this regard all Preston’s Pride aircrew were issued portable battery-powered secure channel radio communications gear. Whilst her electrical systems were being power tested Rick & aircrew standing on airport tarmac were presented the gear by Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3) Naval Signals Support Systems Specialists for inspection, fitting, operation training & audio testing; “Cute little buggers they’d be!” joked Forward Observer Garth Mastroni stationed at her Navigator’s Station whilst donning his, all gear test fisted they were removed, handed back to the PO3s they later handing them though bomb bay for aircrew to don after boarding the ship.

Wearing flexible lightweight hazmat gloves suitable for operating flight controls Rick climbed in first though the bomb bay standing next to cockpit door a PO3 handing him his communication gear he forthwith donning & sound testing it, handed a sterilized seat cushion to sit on placing it over his left cockpit ”office seat”, sitting down, strapping on 1945 mint condition seat belts Warren forthwith following suit on the right cockpit "office seat" Garth wearing flexible lightweight hazmat gloves as well climbing into her nose crew compartment up to the Navigator’s Station. Meanwhile aft of bomb bay George on the tarmac clutching briefcase full of Flight Engineer’s Checklists & Operating Manuals translated & modern-formatted from Vega Factory documents pertaining to her 1945 manufacture in haversacks hung inside her bomb bay along with a Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Meteorologist toting a laptop computer accessing military satellite weather information via secure telecommunication link next to him both donning flexible lightweight hazmat gloves well as “wired for sound” were assisted by other PO3s climbing up & onto the aft fuselage walkway each respectively entering their "roomy" starboard Top Turret Gunner/Flight Engineer's & Radio Gunner’s Stations, Depositing his gear the Navy meteorologist quickly returned to the bomb bay retrieving two sterilized seat cushions from a PO3 handing one to George they forthwith laying cushions down on seats, sitting down & strapping in.

Whilst other crewmen were boarding Preston’s Pride Rick & Warren now strapped in were passed Preflight & Emergency Procedures Checklists on flip-cards also translated & modern-formatted from Vega Factory documents pertaining to her 1945 manufacture were passed through port & starboard cockpit transom windows by laddered ground crew; all aircrew seated & strapped-in Rick “got on the com” (aircraft communications channel “comlink”), roll-called aircrew each responding with respective aircraft stations whilst Rick & Warren signaled ground crews to pull back all engine inspection platforms & ladders Rick seconds later signaling Warren to fire-up the Homelite APU on internal battery power. Gauges & lights flickering to life all aircrew took in the moment; “Gawd, what a sight in here!” George exclaimed whilst watching those on the Flight Engineer’s Consoles, back on comlink Rick ordered aircrews to commence preflight checks on APU power before Engine No.2 was fired up.

With time running short getting Preston’s Pride airborne by 4:00 p.m. last minute decision was made by Richard & Warren to streamline engine testing, instead of individual engine starts, runups & shutdowns whilst checking for fuel & oil leaks all four Cyclones cowlings removed would be started in normal order starting with Engine No.2 portside with first of two engine-powered electric generators (No.3 starboard the other), Air Force ‘round engine folks’ (radial engine technology & maintenance specialists) simultaneously checking all for leaks. Aircraft electric power circuits activated, no shorts or burning, nothing unusual observed by ground crews stationed around her, two Navy & Air Force Airfield Fighting Crews fireproof suited & gloved with tank trollies of fire retardants holding broadcast cones “ready for action” forward of port & starboard engine, fuel & oil pumps were energized normally pressurizing engines, magnetos checked, fuel mixtures set etc., hydraulic Hamilton Standard 23E50 three-blade propellers checked for full spectrum pitch turning movement on each engine reset for engine idling, Preston’s Pride at last was ready for engine startups.

History making moment imminent everyone on Mefford Field Airport grounds who could, including number of Pentagon VIPs, assembled yards behind Preston’s Pride for watching the engine runups subsequent low power runway rolls, braking tests & takeoff now scheduled for 4:20 p.m., all magnetos one both pilots shouted “CLEAR AIRPLANE!” outside port & starboard cockpit transom windows Rick forthwith signaling Warren to “Toggle 2”. The engine starter groaning prop didn’t move at all; “Hit her again!” Rick ordered whilst working fuel mixture & power levers, groaning some more the prop suddenly jerked then slowly began rotating clockwise (counter-clockwise from front) picking up speed then coughing white smoke out of the turbocharger exhaust, working the fuel mixture settings some more Rick ordered Warren to “hit her again” this time rotating briskly, firing right up like a crying newborn baby full of life & vigor, assembled airfield crowds wildly cheering her on clapping & whooping it up, including Pentagon VIPs whilst gaining power.

With engine-generated electric power cursing though Preston’s Pride electrical wiring & circuits the APU was switched off, gauges & lights working she was entirely under her own power for first time since August 5, 1958, conducting two power-up runs Air Force “round engine guys” looked for fuel & oil leaks, none found outer Engine No.1 was toggled-on struggling then screaming like No.2 whilst fire-up, same scenario Engines No.3 & 4 no leaks from them either. After ten minutes all engines were running, following series of power & down test conducted Rick signaled ground crews she was being powered down for crews to affix the cowlings; “She’s ‘ready for combat’ Commander!” Rick excitedly exclaimed to Commander Frederick over the airfield operations commlink; “Fantastic Rick, get her airborne ASAP, time’s short, y’all will miss the STK Steakhouse ‘free lunch’!” chuckling back.

Powering down then shutting off all engines the Air Force “round engine guys” repositioned the elevated engine inspection platforms & ladders, affixed cowlings whilst Navy & Air Force emergency vehicles & personnel took their respective positions midway of airport runway meantime, all cowls on & secured, platforms pulled away, Airfield Fighting Crews with tank trollies of fire retardants & broadcast cones again “ready for action”, Rick signaled Warren to fire-up Engine No.2, warm as baby's bottom she’d fired-up forthwith & turned all the others likewise over course of 5 minutes. Preston’s Pride assigned call code “Item 2” (1 & 3 were the Phantom & Heinkel 177) Rick contacted Medford Field Airport Field Operations Center code named “Dictum” in a nearby Navy trailer with an elevated observation station; “Item 2 Dictum, engine tests complete, permission to commence (field) tests” Airfield Controller forthwith replying; “Dictum Item 2, permission granted, winds 7 m.p.h. (1945 B-17's m.p.h. not knots) southwest, 29.95 Baro (inches Barometric)” Preston’s Pride’s altitude, airspeed & barometric pressure gauges 1945-vintage US measurements instead of SI, Rick & Warren forthwith signaling ground crews to pull chocks to commence ground roll onto the central airfield taxiway. Hamilton Standard props set for taxing, main landing gear wheel brakes still on, Rich ran up engines again third-power testing their strength they OK he’d signaled “ready to roll” to the Air Force Captain in charge of all airframe & operating systems inspections he saluting back.

Performing vigorous aileron, tailplane & rudder movement tests, main wing flaps lowered & raised four full cycles, bomb bay doors closed, Rick was now fully satisfied Preston’s Pride indeed could roll under her own power, applying one-quarter power on all engines whilst releasing main landing gear brakes her brakes squeaked they fully disengaging some seconds later. Now moving under her own power first time since 1958 over the airport central taxiway Rick executed a 90 degree wheel brake & rudder left turn onto taxiway parallel to landing strip powering up some more whilst conducting brake tests, rolling along encountering no issues traversing the taxiway she’d made her way up to the Runway Compass Marker 13 “Turntable” (square-shaped aircraft turnaround tarmac) adjacent to it where there she’d executed a full 360 degree “station” (fixed location) turn with brakes & engines testing how well they’d handled working together, moving over and turning 90 degrees right onto the runway Rick halted over six runway end markers to commence runway partial power runups & brake tests.

Mefford Field Airport’s runway is 3,901 feet in length well within the 1,700 foot absolute minimum distance for a minimally-loaded B-17G to take off, concerned about its overall condition for flying Preston’s Pride off it Navy & Air Force engineers conducted extensive inspections of it well as taxiways & “turntables”, all checking out they were cleared for operational use. Persuasively convincing Commander Frederick just one down & back runway test run circuit was necessary before flying her off instead of the planned three Rick & Donnie believed she’d been restored to fly after completing just one circuit; “If God were an airplane He’d be off on first (runway) run, Preston’s Pride ain’t God but damn close after three (one round trip test & take off runs)!” Rick had told him earlier in the day. After adjusting Hamilton Standard prop pitch settings for takeoff, final aileron, tailplane & rudder movement tests, mainwing flaps raised Rick signaled Dictum: “Item 2 Rolling 1”, brakes on all engines revved up half-power they were released she rolling several hundred yards wings & tailplanes flexing normally, power reduced continuing on to the Runway 31 Compass Marker Turntable.

Slowing down to 15 m.p.h. 800 feet from runway’s end Rick executed another 90 degree wheel brake & rudder to the right onto the Turntable forthwith executing another full 360 degree station turn returning back & halting over six runway end markers. The aircrew after conducing more aircraft systems checks signaled Rick to commence the second runway partial power test; “Dictum Item 2 Rolling 2” he’d signaled, brakes on, engine revved to three-fourths power they were released she again rolling several hundred yards wings & tailplanes again flexing normally, power reduced continuing on to the Runway 13 Turntable Rick executed another 360 degree turn; “Dictum Item 2 Tests Completed Awaiting Instructions.” Parked on station, engines running, Rick was anxious to get Preston’s Pride airborne, knowing from Commander Frederick "everything had to be in place (at Site 29-B)” before she could be flown over a hold was called, no problem given 90 minutes flight time worth of avgas in her tanks but still disconcerting to the aircrew; “Dictum Item 2 Hold” Rick forthwith & half sarcastically responding; “Roger That!”

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 12, 2022, 06:57:43 AM by Inactive II »

Offline Inactive II

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Since early morning California Time November 13, 2022 waves of “alphabet” operations personnel & cargos, agency regional VIPs have been helicoptered and flown into The Ranch, Washington DC VIPs hadn’t appeared yet but one military jet full of US National Air & Air Force Museum (NASM) curators knowledgeable of Heinkel 177 airframe technology was winging its way Lemoore NAS to evaluate whether she could be safely moved onto Mefford Field Airport tarmac. Immediately after The President Of The United States signed the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order teams of Navy SPs, Army & Air Force Police were dispatched to “arrest” the curators, seize all personal possessions on them, bring all directly to The Pentagon. Quickgly security cleared & briefed by Pentagon intelligence personnel their “...24 hour Top Secret Mission solely to evaluate & determine whether a specific aircraft could be safely transported over a relatively short distance within Mefford Field Airport grounds” all information regarding it to be presented onsite there. Helicoptered directly from The Pentagon to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, highly unusual for civilians, the curators forthwith were whisked aboard a Navy Gulfstream headed for Lemoore NAS and Site 29-B.

Arriving by 1:45 p.m. California Time the curators were escorted over The Playground into Site 29-B Sick Bay Building 3 by AR-armed SPs there undergoing physicals exams prior to exposure to potential biohazards for control purposes though less rigorous than those “endured” by the Preston’s Pride B-17 crews less than two hours earlier.  Issued & donning Navy fatigues, Navy Corpsmen slipping disposable hazmat jumpsuits over them, the curators then were escorted out of Sick Bay onto The Playground by AR-armed SPs to an awaiting Navy Seahawk a stern-looking Navy Intelligence Lieutenant & two pistol-armed SPs inside, all aboard & seated, helicopter cabin doors closed & locked the Lieutenant then spoke; “Please be reminded this is a Top Secret mission, after arriving you will hear noises coming from Mefford Field Airport proper, activity there is also Top Secret, please do not ask anybody about it!” he’d warned whilst engines were revving up.

Lifting off at 2:55 pm the Seahawk flew directly to the “Navy Tent” set up for storing bomb dolly fabrication material adjacent to the Heinkel, landing 15 minutes later over portable helicopter landing matting adjacent to tent the engines powered down, curators alighted & escorted by SP next to it. Earlier that morning all paraphernalia associated with criminal forensic investigations of the deceased Heinkel airmen, SC2500 “MAX” bombs & fuzes, “bomb bunkers”, original “Navy Tent”, adjacent  portable helicopter landing mats & field equipment set up after 2:00 a.m., was painstakingly removed well as canvas shielding aft of the Heinkel preparation for moving it to the Mefford Field Airport tarmac, canvas shielding fronting Text Drive shielding her from view & portable guard shacks remaining in place. Gazing upon the Heinkel perpendicularly parked yards away all the curators gasped in disbelief one exclaiming; “’Jurassic Park’ just for us!” nobody on Earth having seen a complete one since the late 1940s, popping out of the tent another stern-looking disposable hazmat jumpsuit & gloved donned Naval Intelligence Lieutenant leered at the entourage;

“Y’all here to inspect the airplane, determine if can be hauled over to Mefford Field (Airport) in one piece today, come inside!”

he’d said in Texan Twang. Inside two disposable hazmat jumpsuit & gloved donned Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1s) Intelligence Specialists stood adjacent to three Cosco tables with chairs in u-formation with large “all in one” battery-powered computer monitors, keyboards & mice topside each with secured communications link to The Ranch’s communications center via directional microwave link, speaking deliberately the Lieutenant gave brief introductions to who he & PO1s were, emphasized time was of essence the getting the Heinkel on Mefford Field Airport tarmac ASAP curators job was to examine intelligence information presented about her, jointly determine whether she could be safely moved intact there despite being less than 800 feet from it;

 “This isn’t a normal towing job, she’s an Arado Flugzeugwerke-built long-fuselage Heinkel 177 A-5, has extensive shrapnel damage on critical weight-bearing airframe sections around wing root joints, landing gear units & starboard engine, our (Navy) airframe people believe it can be safely moved intact given her fuel tanks are empty, that's how she'd 'arrived' here, y’all need to review their inspection results now.”

Working diligently the curators systematically examined video & photo stills of the Heinkel's airframe, diagrams, data tables, other pertinent information facilitating their evaluations. Two locations underneath wing root adjacent to burned out starboard engine had extensive shrapnel damage, torn wing & fuselage skinning exposing extensively damaged airframe sections, curators focusing on them particularly; “We knew they’d be problematic, y’all know period German metals, fabrication technology, airframe design is your ‘bivouac’, tell us if they’re strong enough for (making) the move!” Wanting to inspect the damage close-up the curation team leader asked if could be done; “The airplane’s ‘classified’, since y’all got security clearances got no objection!”

Whilst curators were reviewing the intelligence LSSVs towed in from The Ranch two 16-foot enclosed trailers full of equipment & material thought necessary for repairing the airplane before & whilst conducting the move by a Navy “mule” (airfield towing tractor) with towing gear parked adjacent to its tail, LSSVs towing in hydraulic scissor lifts for conducting topside fuselage repairs parked either side of aircraft’s nose, other LSSVs hauling in aircraft airframe maintenance specialists & helpers from The Ranch all “ready to roll” second the Naval Intelligence Lieutenant gave them the GO signal.

Transported in a LSSV up to the Heinkel’s nose flanking both sides & down her fuselage were scissors lifts & elevated platforms entire nose crew compartment covered by tarpaulin stenciled “Classified, No Access”, bomb bays doors locked shut “Classified, No Access” stenciled over them as well. Inspecting under-fuselage areas around the wing roots, shrapnel induced airframe damage starboard side first, curators knowledgeable of period German metals & fabrication technology immediately pointed out airframe points too damaged for load bearing whilst being transported; “They’ll break minutes into (the) run, steel rod reenforcing here, here, here, steel plate over them for stability, (am) really surprised Navy Airframe Specialists & Pentagon historians didn’t catch them!” Navy Intelligence Lieutenant jokingly replying; “That’s why we’d hauled your asses outta bed (this morning) to tell us that!” Not wasting time “blame gaming” one curator stayed on assisting Navy aircraft airframe specialists selecting materials steel rods, plates, supervising metal cutting, welding, reenforcing work whilst other curators working with other airframe specialists systematically identified & “patched” (repaired) damaged airframe sections over fuselage & main wings on scissor lifts & platforms significant starboard wing main spar breaks either side of burn-damaged engine requiring much patching.

By 4:40 p.m. all necessary patches to the Heinkel’s airframe were completed, Navy Intelligence Lieutenant signaling the Mefford Field Site Operations (Navy) Commander John Frederick that towing could commence. Within minutes burn-resistant plywood planks laid over tarmac underneath the Heinkel catching weld debris "for security reasons" were removed, towbar hooks on Heinkel’s tailwheel leg tow rings, all wheel chocks removed, Navy airframe mechanics & curators “wired for sound” in place at strategic tow watch locations, senior PO1 supervising the move waiting to signal the “mule driver” to commence moving her, meantime engine rune-up noise from Preston’s Pride could he heard from Mefford Field Airport, before she could move Preston’s Pride first had to been flown out of Mefford Field Airport.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 09, 2022, 07:40:31 AM by Inactive II »

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Preston's Pride Takes Off - Finally!
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2022, 07:32:28 AM »
Minutes after The President Of The United States signed the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order at 10:00 a.m. Washington DC Time the Assistant To The President For National Security Affairs (APNSA) was directed by him to fly out to Lemoore NAS Site 29-B, “appreciate the situation” there, fly back & personally brief him about it. Not to make it too obvious to adversaries of the US Government where he was going his trek to Lemoore entailed making two “detours” first Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego then Moffett Federal Airfield Santa Clara County, California helicoptering from there to Site 29-B arrival anticipated 5:00 p.m. California Time. Concerned the APNSA was transiting incommunicado radio silent & transponders off NAS Lemoore Commander Captain John Dudley Masterson urgently needed to know exactly when he’d be in transit to Site 29-B so as not to interrupt Preston’s Pride’s flyout from Mefford Field Airport to Lemoore given he’d be helicoptering in on a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk ("Jayhawk" hereon) incommunicado till 15 miles out of Lemoore airspace when transponders were turned on & radio silence broken for airfield approach & landing. At 4:39 p.m. Preston’s Pride stood ready on the Mefford Field Airport Runway 13 Turntable her Pilot Richard Warston minutes earlier receiving a HOLD call from the Airfield Controller he knowing personally from Commander Frederick “everything had to be in place (at Site 29-B)” before she could take off, at 4:42 pm. Commander Frederick received the secured channel code word “Tickler” direct from Captain Masterson at Lemoore for her to take off, Masterson after “bitching" at APNSA’s transportation coordination staff was told the APNSA now was scheduled to arrive at Site 29-B at 5:45 p.m. ample time for Preston’s Pride to arrive there well as be rolled into Hangar C.

At 4:43 p.m., eight minutes before onset of sundown, Pilot Rick having no bit left to chomp on got the words direct from Commander Frederick; “Item 2 Winds 10 m.p.h. southeast, clear (for takeoff)” he forthwith replying; “Roger Eisenhower” jokingly referencing winning the coin toss flying her to Lemoore. Powering up, brakes on, aircrew making final aircraft systems checks, Navy meteorologist conducting final weather checks along planned flight route, Rick powering down executed a 90 degree right turn over Runway 13’s six end markers, straightening out & immediately signaling Copilot Warren Nutley to apply full power to the Cyclones whilst signaling; “Rolling!” to Commander Frederick. Smoothly, spritely, purposefully she’d gained speed whizzing past Navy & Air Force emergency vehicles & personnel mid-strip bracketing either side to wild cheers & claps from everybody who could line the airfield’s central tarmac well as emergency personnel stationed mid-strip, aft fuselage rising she gained more speed gracefully lifting off at 4:46 p.m. following a 2,253 foot run into the setting sun off to Lemoore NAS…and an uncertain fate.

In the Twilight Zone Of Flight NO Warbird Is Ever-Never Airworthy

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 09, 2022, 07:41:40 AM by Inactive II »

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Mission Complete, Heinkel 177 Now On Mefford Field Airport Tarmac
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2022, 09:25:03 AM »
As mentioned earlier, by 4:40 p.m. February 13, 2022 all necessary “patches” (repairs) had been made to the now US Government officially identified Deutsches Luftwaffe Heinkel 177 A-5 parked north of the 1940 Rankin Aeronautical Academy hangar, three minutes later Preston’s Pride nosily lifted into the sky, everyone on grounds surrounding & adjacent to the Heinkel swiveling heads watching her climb into the sunset much to consternation of the Navy Intelligence Officers present; “Ain’t no point ‘hiding it’ (Preston’s Pride) now ‘Roger’!” quipped the Texan Twanged Naval Officer to his rank compadre; “Guess so Aaron, still ‘Top Secret’ getting this thing (Heinkei) over to the airport (Mefford Field Airport) though!”

Wheeling her off the parking site slow & cautiously, tow watchers flanked by Navy & Air Force Intelligence Cinematographers documenting the move all ringed by AR-armed SPs checked for debris falling, unusual noises emanating from Heinkel strong groans from reenforced underneath starboard airframe sections confirming curator’s concerns they’d break whist being moved, stopped some minutes in darkening skies for visual inspection with high intensity portable spot lamps curators & Navy airframe specialists waved OK to proceed, no breaks seen on steel plating covers or weld points. Moving off tarmac adjacent to the Rankin hangar “mule” (airfield towing tractor), Heinkel & tow watchers all carrying spot lamps slowly made 80 degree left turn onto a narrow taxiway tarmac widened & reenforced accommodating the Heinkel’s wide double wheel landing gear units, turning 40 degrees right onto another similarly widened & reenforced tarmac proceeding northeasterly to the Mefford Field Airport’s main aircraft parking tarmac crop dusters & other aircraft moved off it earlier in day.

Intently observing with binoculars The Ranch’s Naval Commander John Frederick flanked by army of specialist & support personnel from near all US Armed Forces branches, number of Pentagon VIPs as well, listened to radio chatter speaker broadcasts from tow crews & watchers working in the dark checking tarmac conditions & landing gear wheel clearances, halting 25 feet out from the Medford Field Airport main tarmac west of Leonard Noel Drive the “army” moved off site for the Heinkel to make a 45 degree right turn onto it over widened tarmac areas couple minutes later executing it forthwith then proceeding straight over the same marked-off square parking zone Preston's Pride was parked scant hour earlier halting precisely at its center, chocks thrown in place by Navy, Marine & Coast Guard airfield personnel, Heinkel’s undersides forthwith cursorily checked for possible debris dropping all activity documented by the Cinematographers meantime.

The "Heinkel Move" was over four minutes later than 5:00 p.m. scheduled, minutes later all the "movers" were personally thanked by Commander Frederick well as Pentagon VIPs present, “mission completed” the NASM curators were whisked aboard a waiting Seahawk, helicoptered back to Lemoore for post-mission biohazard exposure examinations & debriefings. The Heinkel was now on on Mefford Airport Field tarmac soon it will join Phantom & Preston’s Pride "undercover" on Site 29-B.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 09, 2022, 07:42:00 AM by Inactive II »

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The Flight Of Preston’s Pride Straight Into Entombment!
« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2022, 10:23:13 AM »
Preston’s Pride’s Flight Plan entailed flying over farmland far away possible from populated areas near same course though in reverse Army & Navy Chinook & Seahawk helicopters took earlier in the day transporting the B-17 crews from Lemoore NAS to Mefford Field Airport:

From Mefford Runway 31 quickly turning south then again quickly turning due west over the California State Route 99 & Avenue 184 interchange where paradoxically she plainly could be seen by severely jammed-up 99 road traffic detouring over to South I Street, due west paralleling Avenue 184 & Newton Avenue, over north Corcoran, paralleling Newton Avenue due west over open farmland at 20 1/2 Avenue turning northwest towards & west of Stafford parallel course out from & past Lemoore NAS Runway 32 Left, full u-turning to land on Runway 14 Left.

Keeping “prying eyes” away whist in transit the FAA at request of the Navy closed all airspace within an 8-mile corridor between Mefford Field Airport & Lemoore NAS up to 18,000 feet effective 3:00 p.m. till further notice. As mentioned earlier, Navy & Air Force aircraft ground crews, fire, personnel rescue & medical teams in conjunction with Army counterparts in Chinook & Blackhawk Emphelos had been rehearsing emergency rescue & fire suppression scenarios in event Preston’s Pride crashed, Army helicopters two miles out from Mefford Field ready to fly in wherever she’d crash if not become part of her escort to Lemoore, now successfully airborne an Army Chinook & Blackhawk Emphelos holding station 800 feet north of Tipton with emergency rescue & fire suppression crews quickly pulled aft of her, three Seahawks two abeam crammed with Navy Intelligence, Cinematographers & Telecommunications personnel monitoring secure channel communications whilst in transit & armed SPs in event of crash, dedicated Signals Intelligence Seahawk ("SIS") in lieu of the mixed specialist-crewed Pilot Seahawk employed in airlifting the Phantom "heloing point" forward & 200 feet above her fitted with high-powered digital surveillance cameras looking for “suspicious” aircraft, UAVs, ground vehicles & persons attempting to “film” her well as Electronics Countermeasures Specialists operating Top Secret telecommunications detection & jamming gear to disrupt electronic surveillance of her whilst in transit to Lemoore. Quickly gaining altitude after takeoff Preston’s Pride like the Phantom hours earlier “flew dirty” (all landing gear down), no need to retract them considering flight time was under 15 minutes at 100 m.p.h. at 1,200 feet maximum altitude lightly loaded that plus no time to conduct “jacked tests” (wings suspended on hydraulic jacks, landing gear retracted & lowered) whist at Mefford Field. Although functioning well as tested no navigation or landing lights were to be on whilst in flight fearing they’d “attract attention”, helicopter pilots also were instructed to keep theirs off the entire formation flying & heloing "dark” till on Lemoore runway approach when then turned on for landing.

Proceeding on course per flight plan to Lemoore, Navy helicopter escort joined Preston's Pride after she'd reached 1,000 foot flight altitude near Road 80 formation forthwith adjusting air speed to 100 m.p.h, The Navy Meteorologist signaling “weather all clear” on intercom, Preston's Pride & crew basked in high grandeur whilst being “filmed” by Navy Cinematographers flying in the Universe's only factory-new, fully combat-ready B-17 Forward Observer Garth Mastroni especially, shortly after takeoff moving from the Navigator’s Station to Bombardier’s behind an absolute factory mint Norden Mk. XV Bombsight, fully operational he’d pondered whether that same whatever that “miraculously restored” her would likewise transport her back to 1945 on a bombing run over Germany, him included! Onset of twilight pilot Rick Warston 1,000 feet aft of Pilot Seahawk now north of Cocoran signaled Garth on intercom to check landmarks for upcoming 20 1/2 Avenue northwest turn towards Lemoore few minutes later Flight Engineer George Carter Davies broke in; “Pilot, Low manifold (air intake pressure engine) No.4 (starboard outermost Cyclone), checking turbo (turbocharger pressure)...”, forthwith glancing out the Flight Engineer’s Cabin Window Garth observed wisps of white smoke exhaust twinkling in the twilight; “...Pilot, white smoke…now trailing off. all gone now, manifold & turbo holding steady.” relieved Rick signaled back; “Flight (Engineer), ‘Gremlins From The Kremlin’ at work, watch gauges making right turn (towards Lemoore) now!”

Approaching 20 1/2 Avenue the Pilot Seahawk executed a sweeping right turn northwest to Lemoore, Preston’s Pride & helicopter escort forthwith following suit, all inline & parallel course to Lemoore Runway 32 Left three miles out the Pilot Seahawk though secure audio link singled the Lemoore Airfield Controller for runway clearance; “Lemoore Trampas 5 (code name for all Navy helicopters involved with 'Mefford Trio' operations, '5' = fifth one assigned) Item 2 cleared all (land on any NAS runway.) winds 7 (knots) southwest" listening in Rick switched on navigation & landing lights, signaled all crew to strap in & prepare for landing. Dropping altitude, lowering airspeed whilst approaching Runway 32 Left cockpit crew & Garth could see runway lights on well as Site 29-B’s helicopter lit landing markers, gliding past the runway 2,000 feet out at 80 knots Rick continued flying her another three miles northwest alone over open farmland whilst her Seahawk & Chinook escort peeled off to land on Site-29, executing a tight u-turn Rick lined her up mainwing flaps lowered to land on Runway 14 Left, descending for final approach at 60 knots manifold pressure on No.4 dropped again; “Pilot, No.4 manifold down (no air pressure), feather (neutral propeller position) and stop (engine)!" Warren forthwith feathering prop & shutting down engine.

Landing any airplane in the dark without all engines running is risky, landing one for all intents a unpredictable paranormal aberration with one out flat-out insane, having no choice, trusting to fate, Rick glided her in passing the Runway Compass Marker at 60 feet making a perfect three-point landing at 5:03 p.m. 1,400 feet down runway trailed by two airfield firefighting trucks screaming in hot pursuit. Rick throttling back whilst resetting propeller pitch settings for taxing downfield an LSSV with large lighted FOLLOW ME sign on top suddenly popped out right from strip’s second taxiway access signaling him to follow it to Site 29-B. Taxing another 1,000-plus feet the LSSV made half right turn onto a taxiway Rick following course Warren meantime lowering her bomb bay doors thence rolling several more yards making another half right turn onto another taxiway parallel to Site 29-B. Taxing yet more yards she'd rolled up in front of two fluorescent safety vest-donned Navy airfield crewmen waving lighted signaling batons they signaling Rick to HALT he forthwith braking & powering down to engine idle. Fearing an engine fire several airfield firemen armed with CO2 cans sprinted up either side of her cockpit hand signaling Rick & Warren whether there was one they signaling back nyet the pooped-out from running firemen standing adjacent to No.4 engine in case she’d caught fire to put it out nonetheless.

At 4:48 p.m. a Chinook stationed parallel north of the Valley Air Crafts building where the Phantom had been lifted out at 10:35 a.m. received Daniel Wicker’s flight crew well as all the B-17 ground crews for transport to Site 29-B, lifting off at 4:50 she’d beelined straight to Site 29-B landing on The Playground just as Preston’s Pride was landing thousands of feet away, scrambling out of the Seahawk with a Naval Intelligence Officer & two side-armed SPs (no AR’s interestingly) Dannie Wicker & B-17 crewmen escorted by them quickly made way around a “mule team” (airfield crew with tow tractor) to Sick Bay Building 3 for post mission biohazard exposure examinations & debriefings. Earlier on November 13, 2022 whilst the Site 29-B enclosure fence was under construction a segmented electrically-operated gate was erected across the south aircraft taxiway entrance into Site 29-B (east one direct to runway taxiway fenced off), operated by SPs from the Guard Shack it quickly was opened as Preston’s Pride held station just outside, signaled by another pair of “batoners” next to the gate Rick powered her up again executing a 90 degree wheel brake & rudder turn to the right slowly moving past the shack onto the Site 29-B Playground led on by yet more batoners.

Inside The Playground a sizeable crowd of US Military & Federal “alphabet” intelligence agency VIPs, military officers of many grades & specialties, including Lemoore NAS Commander Captain Masterson standing either side a Navy Admiral Second-Half & Air Force Brigadier General intelligence Assistant Chiefs flown in from The Pentagon, Army Corps Of Engineers Coronel & his lieutenant an Air Force Engineers Major in charge of all military engineering & construction work associated with The Mefford Trio standing in line yards off from Buildings 2 to 5 “guarded” by large number of AR-armed SPs. All donning disposable hazmat jumpsuits & gloves they'd watched intently whilst teams of Navy & Air Force Intelligence Cinematographers documented Preston’s Pride pending captivity, other B-17 air & ground crews lead by Daniel Wicker & Copilot Jessie Haugh-Lowery helicoptered in just minutes earlier now standing next to Sick Bay Building 3 adjacent to medical orderlies ready to greet Rick & crew.

Maneuvering northeasterly though The Playground using engines & brakes near Hangar C Rick was signaled to straighten Preston’s Pride in line with it where she was to be entombed by the batoners, turning slowly before his crewmates standing next to Sick Bay Building 3 purposely for them to get best possible left three-quarter front view of her whilst under power the batoners signaled HALT, Rich forthwith applying brakes, running engines up whilst fuel pumps were powered off shutting engines down, chocks forthwith thrown in place by very same Navy, Marine & Coast Guard airfield personnel who’d hours earlier secured her on Mefford Field Airport tarmac, Warren cutting off electric power to engines at precisely 5:15 p.m. Their mission complete Rick forthwith got back on intercom for last time ordered all, including the Navy Meteorologist, to leave seat cushions in place, hazmat specialists taking them out later, be absolute sure to take everything they’d brought on board her, hand them to “Navy folks” inside the bomb bay whilst deplaning.

The Meteorologist departed first followed by Flight Engineer George Carter Davies then Forward Observer Garth Mastroni they immediately escorted to Sick Bay Building 3 by two side-armed SPs, an Honor Guard by personal order of Captain Masterson as show of respect, ordered to stand in line in front of the VIPs they standing in line left of the Sick Bay Emergency Treatment Center door. Deplaning next Copilot Warren Nutley, a retired Air Force helicopter pilot, waited inside the bomb bay till Pilot Richard Warston deplaned, though not having served in the military Rick was afforded “privileges of rank” as Preston’s Pride Commander having been impressed into military service earlier that morning whilst in San Diego, together they'd "crawled" out of the bomb bay forthwith standing at attention underneath the starboard cockpit. Now flanked by two side-armed SPs as Honor Guard forthwith escorting them directly in front of Captain Masterson, Admiral, General, Coronel & Major flanking both sides, approaching "in military order” Wicker & Nutley halted in front of the party snapping to attention Richard Wicker then spoke:

“Sirs, I present to you Preston’s Pride. It is an honor for me and my fellow (B-17) crews to have bought her here for inspection by the United States Government.”

Greatly appreciative of successfully completing the mission in doing so Captain Masterson replied;

“On behalf of The Government Of The United States thank you gentleman for having brought her here intact, you all are dismissed!”

Saluting the VIPs Wicker & Nutley then were escorted by the SPs into the Emergency Treatment Room followed by the B-17 crews for post-mission biohazard exposure examinations & debriefings. For arguably good “National Security Reasons” Navy Cinematographers beforehand were personally ordered by Captain Masterson to stop “filming” second Preston’s Pride’s engines were shut off. No record other than in the memory of all those on The Playground witnessing the ceremony was allowed, the civilian B-17 crews though impressed into military service still retained full US Constitutional Rights Of Privacy extraordinary to the UCMJ per the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order throughout their military service extremely short as it would be something Naval Intelligence Commander Rodger Ericson "failed" to disclose to them earlier in the day for whatever reason. Immediately following the ceremony the “mule team” was placed in position aft of Preston’s Pride tail wheel, tow bar hooked in place on its strut, wheel chocks pulled off, swung around 180 degrees, towed up to Hangar C & halted for hangar doors to open, in pitch black darkness motored in, centered within hangar with flashlights, towbar removed, “mule team” departing, hangar doors forthwith closed & locked. Now entombed Preston’s Pride & Phantom immediately became of objects of intense scrutiny by the US Government long as they physically existed until the mysteries of their “miraculous restorations” could be understood if ever, the Heinkel 177 now had to be transported from Mefford Field Airport to Site 29-B.

…To Be Continued…[/i]

« Last Edit: September 09, 2022, 08:28:22 PM by Inactive II »

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APNSA Arrives, B-17 Crews & NASM Curators Depart Site 29-B
« Reply #32 on: August 15, 2022, 03:00:45 AM »
At 5:31 p.m. November 13, 2022 the Seahawk transporting the NASM curators in from Mefford Field Airport landed adjacent to Lemoore NAS Site 29-B Sick Bay Building 3, landing in the dark on the deserted Playground adjacent to it all VIPs witnessing Preston’s Pride’s arrival minutes earlier had been spirited off to Building 1 Command & Control Center all other personnel quickly moving off it as well. The size of a small hospital compartmentalized to handle differing biohazard exposure patients the B-17 crews assembled on The Playground scant minutes earlier already had been escorted into the Emergency Treatment Room, a deliberate misnomer as were several secured away from each other, the NASM curators forthwith led into one some distance from the crews neither knowing of each other’s presence.

Helicoptered in incommunicado from Moffat Field in a Coast Guard Jayhawk the Assistant To The President For National Security Affairs (APNSA) with two deputies landed adjacent to Building 1 at 5:47 p.m. they forthwith entering it to receive briefings regarding The Mefford Trio. As part of the Top Secret briefings the APNSA was told that the NASM curators & civilian aircraft crews were “consultants” in accomplishing specific compartmentalized tasks associated with “inspecting” The Mefford Trio, true technically though by necessity they knowing whole lot more about two of them than let on to the APNSA, curiously passing on asking to see their personal information he’d asked to see Phantom & Preston’s Pride instead rightly believing The President Of The United States wanted info on them rather than “consultants” associated with “inspecting” them.

Meanwhile in Sick Bay, the B-17 crews endured extensive post-mission biohazard exposure examinations by Lieutenant Bre LaTour’s medical teams, tired, irritable and hungry they’d pined for “getting on the road” back to San Diego ASAP. At 6:30 p.m. the two Gulfstreams that transported them from there to Site 29-B were rolled up & parked on the taxiway next to the Guard Shack, discharged from Sick Bay at 6:40 wearing their “civvies” though donning hooded disposable hazmat jumpsuits the crews escorted by an side-armed SP Honor Guard by order of Captain Masterson forthwith were piled into LSSVs. Driven in the dark across The Playground up to the Site 29-B past the Guard Shack up to the Gulfsteams standing outside them were medical orderlies, Lieutenants Don Hansen & Feroze Sadeghi, same Intelligence Petty Officers 1st Class (PO1s) who’d co-briefed them on way to Site 29-B that morning, lined up & assisted by orderlies with removing their jumpsuits the PO1s then escorted them aboard to assigned seating.  All now aboard & cabin doors closed, engines revving, up Lieutenant Sadeghi in the trailing Gulfstream stood up & spoke to Dannie Wicker’s air & ground crews:

“Gentlemen, thank you all for successfully completing your mission, I know you weren’t ‘selected’ to fly Preston’s Pride but nevertheless you’d participated in inspecting & preparing for the flight to Lemoore and for that the U.S. Government is most appreciative. I ask that all of you don headsets and observe video screens on seatbacks before you for mission debriefing, it should not last more than 20 minutes following it Petty Officer Palmer will serve you (boxed) dinners.”

Bemused that their debriefing was just going to be 20 minutes Dannie quizzingly asked; “How long’s Richard’s (and crews) debriefing? He’s hungry just as we are!” whilst crewmates chuckled; “Theirs’s tad longer, all of you will have enough time to enjoy their meals! Captain Masterson personally ordered everybody (crews) be served the same food, it’s the best Lemoore NAS has to offer!”, anxious to ask Dannie’s ground crew chief Mark Simmons inquired whether there were seconds; “Absolutely sir not only that but deserts also!” all crewmen spontaneously yelping with approval. Gulfstreams now taxing in line parallel to Runway 14-Left the debriefing commenced, Rick’s jet leading spritely she’d turned onto the runway forthwith taking off at precisely 7:00 p.m. Dannie’s two minutes later both now heading direct to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport San Diego.

Meanwhile inside one of the Sick Bay Emergency Treatment Room’s Biodecom 1 units (Biohazard Decontamination 1st Stage of four “4” highest Richard Warston’s crew & Navy meteorologist ensconced in a “3” after flying Preston’s Pride), the NASM curators had completed their biohazard exposure examinations & debriefings, wearing their “civvies” though donning hooded disposable hazmat jumpsuits they were held for release till after the B-17 crews departed Site 29-B. Discharged at 7:03 p.m. they’d departed Sick Bay escorted by side-armed SP Honor Guard also by order of Captain Masterson piling into LSSVs, driven in the dark across The Playground, past the Guard Shack up to same Gulfsteam that brought them from Washington DC to Site 29-B that pulled up minutes after the B-17 crew’s departed in theirs. Standing outside it a Naval Intelligence Lieutenant & PO1 (not same ones on flight from “DC” with them) & medical orderlies (not same ones who’d been with the B-17 crews) assisted them with removing their jumpsuits, escorted aboard by the PO1 to assigned seating.  All now aboard & cabin doors closed, engines revving, up the Lieutenant spoke to the curators:

“Gentlemen, thank you all for successfully completing your mission, the US Government is most appreciative. I ask that all of you don headsets and observe video screens on seatbacks before you for mission debriefing, it should not last more than 15 minutes following it Petty Officer Dirkson will serve you dinner (same menu as for the B-17 crews by order of Captain Masterson).”

The Gulfstream now taxing in line parallel to Runway 14-Left the debriefing commenced, minutes later she’d turned onto the runway taking off at 7:21 p.m. heading direct to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: August 21, 2022, 11:53:13 PM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

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With its signing by The President Of The United States the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order effective 9:00 a.m. California Time November 13, 2022 the US Government though the Army Corps Of Engineers was authorized to seize the quarter-circle 1940 Rankin Aeronautical Academy hangar tarmacked property adjacent to Tex Drive where the Heinkel 177 had sat, teardrop-shaped land spit adjacent to Tex Drive & California State Route 99 on-ramp where the Phantom & Preston’s Pride had sat as “Military Reservations”. Owned in large part by Tulare County, land adjacent to the 99 on-ramp by State Of California, the US Government later would purchase the parcels outright from these governments the historic Rankin hangar, all traces of The Mefford Twins AMVET memorials demolished & removed, Tulare County & AMVETS Post 56 monetarily compensated for the US Government’s “seizure & destruction of culturally significant monuments & artifacts” under federal law of the 1940 hangar, monuments & artifacts associated with The Mefford Twins museum grounds.

After the SC2500 “MAX” bombs & fuzes in proximity of the 1940 hangar were helicoptered out parka-clad Army Corps Of Engineers personnel in intermittent windy rain commenced work erecting an 8-foot fence topped with razor wire encircling & sealing off the entire quarter-circle tarmacked property, by 2:00 p.m. fencing was up on north & east sides to taxiway where the Heinkel 177 was to be towed off, adjacent to Tex Drive down to where Phantom & Preston’s Pride – The Mefford Twins –  would be towed off, canvas shielding surrounding them & portable guard shacks stayed in place – for now. As mentioned earlier, before Phantom & Preston’s Pride were towed away Army engineers had removed the AMVETS-installed fencing surrounding them by 3:00 p.m. the entire teardrop-shaped land spit they’d sat on for decades completely encircled with an 8-foot fence topped with razor wire. All this lavish fencing courtesy of US Federal Taxpayers was to discourage religious, paranormal & extraterrestrial abduction cultists, pranksters & sightseers et. al. from accessing the sites, it didn’t work, strangely no signage identifying the seized lands as US Military Reservations was affixed to fencing presumably not to intimidate “the general public” even though near everyone who’d drive past them on “99” mere hours later knew they were “special places of curiosity”, more about that later!

The ”demilitarization” of Mefford Field Airport, an active General Aviation airport, was far more involved and expensive, important to regional agriculture hosting crop dusting aircraft & agricultural commercial aviation enterprises knowing this US Armed Forces personnel there took painstaking effort moving them off the central airport tarmac, relocating them elsewhere on airport grounds, returning them to their rightful places, US Government reasonably compensating their owners for damages incurred during their relocations later. Also extraordinarily was restoring all physical areas on Mefford Field Airport “occupied” by US Armed Forces personnel back to their pre-occupation condition as mandated by “technical amendments” to The Presidential Executive Order, in this regard meticulous video & digital photographic surveys were conducted of all airport grounds before “government material” was placed on them added value as turned out in conjunction with forensic investigations of The Mefford Trio.

Even as the Phantom was being helicoptered to Lemoore NAS everything associated with her military custodianship at Mefford Field Airport was being collected, packed-up,“heloed” to Site 29-B likewise with Preston’s Pride by time she’d flown out of Mefford Field late afternoon the 13th most material & personnel associated wither had already been flown out, airway between Mefford Field & Site 29-B veritable “Coruscant Skyway” of helos shuttling for hours in between flying out everything, including 9 large portable trailers lifted out by the civilian Skycrane & Army Chinooks they like everything else deposited on the Site 29-B Playground. All that remained was material, equipment & personnel needed to disassemble the Heinkel 177, helicopter her to Lemoore by Midnight September 14th, enough fencing for Army engineers to finish enclosing the quarter-circle “Rankin Reservation” as the 1940 Rankin Aeronautical Academy hangar tarmacked property adjacent to Tex Drive was unofficially called. WIth the Heinkel on airport tarmac at 5:04 Army Corpsmen forthwith set to work erecting the remaining fencing sealing off the reservation whilst other corpsmen removed remaining canvas shielding adjacent to where the Heinkel had sat, teardrop-shaped land spit adjacent to Tex Drive & California State Route 99 on-ramp where Phantom & Preston’s Pride had sat for decades well as all portable guard shacks SPs manning them forthwith helicoptered back to Site 29-B.

As mentioned earlier, NASM curators knowledgeable of Heinkel 177 airframe technology had been flown in from Washington DC to Lemoore earlier in the day, helicoptered in from Site 29-B they’d arrived at the “Navy Tent” adjacent to the Heinkel at 3:10 p.m. forthwith asked to examine intelligence concerning her, advise & assist with “patching” airframe damage, assist with towing her to Mefford Field Airport tarmac US Armed Forces personnel there responsible for disassembling her for helicopter transport to Site 29-B. As part of their mission the curators were asked to provide technical guidance how best to safely disassemble her, Navy & Air Force airframe mechanics on station having no experience whatsoever “playing with” (working on) WWII-era German warbirds, gladly obliging they’d hoped someday to restore her as a NASM museum piece, sadly she and The Mefford Twins were formally declared “National Security Threats” per the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order and as such kept under lock & key duration of their existences by the US Government. Basted on the curator’s recommendations at 4:35 p.m. The Ranch's Commander John Frederick ordered designs for & fabrication of purpose-built wheeled dollies to lay & lash down parts of the Heinkel for nighttime airlifting to Site 29-B to be completed no later than 7:00 p.m. but suddenly the order was withdrawn...

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 09, 2022, 07:42:26 AM by Inactive II »

Offline Inactive II

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Prep For Airlifting The Mefford Field Heinkel 177 Operation Wilma Phase One
« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2022, 04:58:19 AM »
The Heinkel 177 was an abject failure, WWII Germany’s only long-range heavy bomber it suffered from ever-changing  Reichsluftfahrtministerium (German Air Ministry) operational requirements throughout its career, including shallow dive bombing which it was never designed for, Heinkel’s Achilles’ Heel the twin Daimler-Benz 610s engines (coupled 12-cylander inline Daimggler-Benz 605s) driving large 4-blade propellers via common gearboxes, lacking firewall protection they’d frequently caught fire garnering the unflattering nickname fliegendes Benzinfeuerzeug (flying petrol lighter) not unsurprisingly the Mefford Field Heinkel starboard engine had also caught fire. Also problematic were main landing gear failures, large ungainly raked forward twin units under each wing they were prone to partial or total collapse partially due to hydraulic failure whilst landing or taxing heavy bombs ala twin SC4200 “MAXs” onboard the Mefford Field Heinkel 177 A-5. Defensively armed with one 7.92 mm MG 81 machine gun in nose, one 20 mm MG 151 cannon in forward belly gondola & one in tail, two 13 mm MG 131 machine guns in a remotely operated forward dorsal turret & another in rear belly gondola & one in manned aft dorsal turret the “Mefford A-5” curiously only had the 20 mm tail cannon suggesting she’d been engaged in a high altitude heavy load “special ops” night bombing mission her entire undersides & lower-mid fuselage, Balkenkreuzes & all unit markings included, hastily painted RLM 22 Schwartz over standard RLM 70/71/65 bomber livery.

Extraordinary to the November 13, 2022 afternoon Navy Intelligence Briefing given to NASM curators when asked provide technical guidance how best to safely disassemble the Mefford Field Heinkel deep within the bowels of The Pentagon spirited debates raged between senior-level Armed Forces intelligence Officers & their “alphabet” counterparts over the wisdom of disassembling the Heinkel. In doing so the “spooks” justifiably argued compromised whatever secrets it harbored, not tampering with her anyway more than absolutely necessary save removing the dead Luftwaffe airman’s body & SG2500 “MAX” bombs, their arguments winning out The Pentagon through the Joint Chiefs Of Staff subsequently forwarded another technical amendment to the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order to the President Of The United States he signing it at 7:45 p.m. Washington DC, 4:45 p.m. California amendment verbiage within the minute signaled over secure communications channel direct from The Whitehouse National Security Office to the APNSA in transit to Site 29-B, Lemoore NAS Commander Captain Masterson, ordering that the Heinkel remain intact, authorization granted to “…employ whatever materials, manpower & means to bring ‘Item 3’ (Heinkel 177’s code word) to Lemoore NAS (i.e. Site 29-B) intact soon as possible.”

Within the hour shortly after midnight November 13, 2022 when the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department Site Commanding Officer contacted the California Governor’s Office Of Emergency Service (Cal OES) for US Navy help in disarming bombs onboard the Heinkel 177 senior Pentagon leadership was well aware of The Mefford Trio particularly the perceived collective threat to national security they’d presented. Nothing at all was known how or why Preston’s Pride & Phantom were “miraculously restored” the Heinkel 177 A-5 appearing out of thin air armed with live weapons of mass destruction, other than the Incident-Specific National Emergency formally identifying them as "national security threat items" hence aforementioned Item 1, 2, 3 nomenclature no formal Pentagon “Operation” code names were assigned to The Mefford Trio as a unit or individually on any aspect of their examinations & deliveries to Site 29-B to deceive adversaries of the US Government the sole exception Operation Wilma assigned by Captain Masterson named after his childhood sweetheart earlier in the day for everything associated with airlifting the Heinkel in pieces or intact from Mefford Field Airport tarmac to Site 29-B evening of the 13th.

Astutely anticipating alternative airlifting methods needed to be considered airlifting the Heinkel intact to Site 29-B in lieu of disassembling her that plus having inside Pentagon contacts keeping him apprised of aforementioned spirited debates well as forthcoming technical amendment signed by The President, Captain Masterson independent of Naval Commander Mefford Field Recovery Operations Commander John Frederick launched the first phase of Operation Wilma at 1:45 p.m. personally contacting the civilian contractor of Skycranes for him to dispatch the Erickson S-64S "Super" Skycrane & military security-cleared flight crews direct to Lemoore NAS, work directly with on-site Navy & Air Force aircraft airframe specialists, jacks (helicopter lifting gear riggers), materials fabrication tradesmen, etc., etc., come up with a suitable method & means to safely airlift the Heinkel in one piece to Site 29-B. Landing 2:45 p.m. on large rectangular tarmac code named Angel's Flight by Captain Masterson near center of the NAS the Super Skycrane crews forthwith were LSSV’d under AR-armed SP guard to a sealed-off & guarded materials fabrication facility code named Angel's Hammock also by Captain Masterson where waiting inside was a sizeable crew of airframe specialists, jacks, materials fabrication tradesmen et. al., plethora of Navy & Airforce Intelligence Officers awaited them.

Escorted by the Intelligence Officers to a tent set up with large computer monitors inside to view via secure communications link the 3:10 p.m. NASM Curator briefing by Navy Intelligence Officers & NCO specialists to examine intelligence information presented about the Heinkel. At exact same time Commander Frederick with his crew of airframe specialists, jacks, materials fabrication tradesmen et. al. inside the “ST” (“Secured Trailer” for secure telecommunications briefings & presentations) on the Mefford Field Airport tarmac watched the briefing, “Lemoore“ & “Mefford” personnel totally unaware of each other “for compartmentalization purposes”, Commander Frederick & his personnel needing to know the “wherefores & hows” as they’d be soon “muling” the Heinkel onto airport tarmac. Immediately following it all personnel attending the “Lemoore” briefing went to work brainstorming methods of securing the Heinkel for air transport, very soon it was apparent to all the simplest one was also the best; a much elaborated version of the Phantom’s steel cable hammock lifting gear as follows:
  • 1st two parallel cable "Hammock" wrapped with flexible heavy aluminum padding semicircular underneath & parallel to fuselage aft nose crew compartment structural bulkhead,
  • 2nd Hammock same as 1st forward of bomb bay underneath a structural bulkhead,
  • 3rd Hammock same as 1st aft of bomb bay underneath a structural bulkhead,
  • 4th Hammock same as 1st bulkhead in front of rudder tailplane structural bulkhead,
  • 5th & 6th Hammocks with clamped-on reenforcing steel plates wrapped with flexible heavy aluminum padding underneath entire port & starboard fuselage mainwing roots upwards over wing leading & trailing edges,
  • 7th  & 8th Hammocks same as to 5th & 6th underneath mainwing inner ribs either side of engines adjacent to outer landing gear doors,
  • 9th & 10th Hammocks similar to 5th & 6th underneath mainwing outer ribs either side of engines,
  • One each “anti-flex” cables attached to rings welded on port & starboard main spar over inner aileron wing ribs preventing outer main wings from flexing downwards from helicopter rotor wash whilst in flight.
In addition, the fire damaged starboard engine mounts would be further reenforced with steel bars & plating holding it in whist in flight & tarped over, propellers manually set neutral pitch & tied down, ailerons, tailplane & rudder gust locked and most importantly the twin landing units under each wing though appearing structurally sound lashed together with steel cables, oak timbers wedged in between oleos keeping them in place whilst in flight, keep them together whilst landing on the Site 29-B Playground.

Absolutely crucial to hammocking the Heinkel 177 for airlifting was accurately determining her weight relative to the Super Skycrane’s lifting capacity, according to Pentagon historical archives empty weight of the A-5 variant was 37,078 pounds, maximum takeoff weight of the Super Skycrane, a redesigned variant of the S-64+, with extended fuselage, strengthened airframe, more powerful engines, redesigned & longer aerodynamically more efficient rotor blades 65,700, estimated all-up weight of Heinkel, hammock cables & five specially fabricated metal trusswork hangars temporarily attached to & branching off the Super Skycrane's spine for hanging the cables 6,125 all-up weight 64,663, 1,037 pounds below the Super Skycrane’s max takeoff weight. Unconcerned about the all-up weight estimate Super Skycrane's Pilot Leslie Sheldon & Copilot Derik Winston jointly told their fellow “"hammockteers” design & engineering members no problemo they on occasion lifting maximum takeoff weight loads at night though at low altitude flying under 60 knots no more than 70 miles in good weather conditions, considering the “Mefford A-5” apparently was lighten hundreds if not thousands of pounds for “special ops” missions all team members felt confident hammocking her to Site 29-B was possible provided good weather prevailed till 2:00 a.m. November 14th when another Polar Express was due to blow in over Northern & Central California.

As with airlifting the Phantom & Preston’s Pride there were intense discussions amongst Pentagon bioweapons specialists assessing risks of mass exposure to potentially deadly unknown biological agents to Tulare & Kings County residents whilst airlifting them & Heinkel 177 to Lemoore uncovered in this regard a technical amendment” part of the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order was issued directly from The Whitehouse to the US Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) directing the agency “to cooperate with and provide expertise on the ‘matter’ well as any and all potential public health risks associated with moving ‘items (official code name of The Mefford Trio collectively) of threat to national security’  (The Mefford Trio) with appropriate US Armed Forces personnel.“ In the case of the Phantom the technical amendment came too late, The Pentagon ordering NAS Captain Masterson to airlift her out ASAP, in Preston’s Pride’s she was subjected to exhaustively rigorous “inside & out” biohazard inspections by Mefford Field Airport military bioweapons & medical personnel in cooperation with CDC counterparts over secured communications links, finding none known to current bioscience at 1:45 p.m. Commander Frederick signed plethora of biohazards inspections reports & certificate deeming her “suitable for manned flight” provided she’d only be flown over unpopulated areas in transit to Lemoore. In the Heinkel’s case she'd only be subjected to external biohazard inspections any within her fuselage especially her forward crew compartment out of the question for now, finding none at 4:35 p.m. Commander Frederick signed plethora of biohazards inspections reports & certificate deeming her “suitable for unmanned airlifting” provided she’d only be flown over unpopulated areas in transit to Lemoore.

As mentioned earlier, at 4:35 p.m. The Ranch’s Commander Frederick ordered designs for & fabrication of purpose-built wheeled dollies to lay & lash down parts of the Heinkel for nighttime airlifting to Site 29-B at 4:43 p.m. Lemoore NAS Commander Captain Masterson signaled him to halt all work, stand ready for briefing on hammocking the Heinkel to Site 29-B instead. By 4:43 p.m. all that remained of the “military occupation” of Mefford Field Airport grounds were three large trailers:

  • Medford Field Airport Operations Center ("AOC"), i.e. Command & Communications section rest of trailer space repurposed for SP grounds security operations, stationing & dispatching airfield personnel on assigned tasks the "ST" mentioned above heloed out earlier,
  • Sick Bay - Biohazard Station - Wash & Dressing Rooms,
  • Materials Fabrication & Storage, including hydraulic jacks, associated equipment & tools for disassembling the Heinkel,
several smaller trailers & dollies housing/carrying diesel-powered electric generators, relays & cables, airfield equipment, tools, etc., water, fuels, oils, lubricants, etc. consumables, dozen LSSVs some tow-equipped stationed to relocate crop dusters & other aircraft moved off the airfield, everything heloed out by a fleet of Navy Seahawks, Army Chinooks, Blackhawks, mix of four different civilian Erickson S-64 Skycrane models they good sized chunk of the civilian contractor's fleet, standing ready to helo it all to Station 29-B after the the Heinkel had been heloed out. At 4:50  p.m. Commander Frederick “got on-line” via secured communications link with Captain Masterson now inside the Site 29-B Building 1 Communications Center awaiting Preston’s Pride arrival to brief him on change of plans regarding the Heinkel’s airlifting;

“Johnnie, Item 3 must be airlifted intact, sorry not telling y’all earlier, things really harry here. I’ve made arrangements heloing her out (to Site 29-B) at 19:00 (hours, 7:00 p.m.), Jacks being flown there, expect them by 18:30 (6:30), have your ‘framers & fabricators’ (airframe & materials fabrication specialists & tradesmen et. al.) work off transmitted info for ‘prepping’ Item 2 for airlift.”

Not especially thrilled over having to scrap previous plans to disassemble & airlift out the Heinkel but relived that he was no longer under a time crunch to do so Commander Frederick quietly replied:

“Yes sir, will do, anything else sir?”

Captain Masterson forthwith replying;

“Yes Johnnie, minute ‘Item 3’ is ‘off the deck’ (left Mefford Field) pack up & go home, y’all need a rest, see you 06:30 (hours) tomorrow!”

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 09, 2022, 07:44:46 AM by Inactive II »

Offline Inactive II

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Operation Wilma Phase Two
« Reply #35 on: August 18, 2022, 08:33:23 AM »
The Heinkel hammocking airlift system was planned & designed to function as an integral unit rectangularly suspending her fuselage 110 feet below the Super Skycrane’s fuselage spine keel (minimum distance not overstressing the cables), triple-triangularly suspending her port & starboard main wings underneath fuselage-main wing roots, main wing inner ribs either side of engines, main wing outer ribs either side of engines, outer main wings stabilized by anti-flex cables, aft fuselage tailplanes & rudder stabilized by hammock underneath front of rudder tailplane structural bulkhead off 5 specially fabricated metal trusswork hangars strapped on underneath length of Skycrane's fuselage spine,  The system worked safely at low altitude (i.e. less than 800 feet) flying at less than 60 knots in winds less than 15, slow sweeping turns in flight minimizing sideways yawing stressing cables, never tried on a large & heavy airplane like the Heinkel there was high risk of the hammock system failing whilst “flying” her at night Super Skycrane Pilot Leslie Sheldon & Copilot Derik Winston nonetheless supremely confident she could be airlifted provided no sudden wind gusts over 20 knots whilst enroute to Site 29-B.

Sprinting flat-out inside Angel's Hammock the "hammockteers”(nickname for all involved planning, designing, engineering, fabricating, strength testing cable slings, fabricating special metal trusswork hangars for the Super Skycrane et. al. associated work) labored ferociously to meet the 6:40 p.m. completion deadline imposed by NAS Commander Captain Masterson, 6:30 p.m. California Time much to his delight they’d got it done. Under clear moonlit night skies with 5 knot winds at 6:45 p.m. the trusswork hangars were transported first to Angel’s Flight by Marine FMTV (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles) designers, fabricators, Super Skycrane's Pilot Leslie Sheldon & Copilot Derik Winston leading way in LSSVs, brightly lit up by portable floodlights the Super Skycrane stood, NAS airfield personnel under their joint direction serially lifting each hanger up with two pairs of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (“Cherry Pickers”)  underneath the Skycraine’s fuselage spine at marked locations matching where the Heinkel hammocks were hung following close behind another pair of “picker” crews attaching on stringer cables on the hangars “free” ends of which fitted with lifting gear collars where hammock hooks were “clicked” on.

Before the hammocking airlift system could be fitted on the Heinkel weight-bearing tests had to be conducted in this regard all four FMTVs driven to Angel’s Flight were driven in parallel & centered over Hangers 2 & 3 (bulkheads either side of Heinkel’s bomb bay & center of gravity) hammocks three long plywood sheets placed between them as protection & tied down, Super Skycrane’s flight crew meantime back on board they’d fired her up.

Lifting up 15 feet Jacks checked stringer alignments they OK she’d lifted up another 60 feet Jacks checking alignments again, up now 100 feet hammocks “hugged” the FMTVs Jacks checking how well they’d hugged well as stringer alignments, port & starboard  “free hanging” main wing hammock sets attached to Hangars 2 & 3, hammocks under Hangers 1 (fuselage aft nose crew compartment structural bulkhead) & 4 (fuselage in front of rudder tailplane structural bulkhead), port & starboard free-hanging anti-flex cables attached to Hangar 2 they OK the FMTVs were lifted off the NAS tarmac.

The hammocking airlift system holding together OK 110 feet from the Super Skycrane’s fuselage spine Pilot Leslie Sheldon then lifted the FMTVs up off the tarmac 15 feet for weight bearing testing, rotated them 360 degrees them slowly  heloed a 100-foot circle whilst Jacks checked for load drift in 5 knot winds, everything OK Leslie pulled her up 60 feet repeating the procedure then 200 feet repeating it again successfully much to delight of all present particularly the hammock system’s fabricators who’d prayed very hard it not break apart!

Hammock system weight bearing tests complete the FMTVs were lowered onto the tarmac Super Skycrane landing afterwards & powered down, FMTVs untired, plywood boards removed, driven off the hammocks, with them off the Jacks methodically gathered all the hammocks & anti-flex cables into a bunch underneath the Skycrain’s spine between Hangars 2 & 3 lashing them together with strong plastic ropes for transport to Mefford Field Airport tarmac thus completing the hammock system weight-bearing testing phase of Operation Wilma.

Meantime over on the now mostly “demilitarized” Mefford Field Airfield tarmac no longer nicknamed The Ranch, Navy & Air Force airframe specialists working with materials fabrication tradesmen off diagrams “wired” from Angels Hammock via secure telecommunications link methodically reenforced the Heinkel’s starboard engine mounts & tarped it over, manually set propellers to neutral pitch & tied them down, gust locked ailerons, tailplane & rudder, lashed together twin landing units under each wing oak timbers wedged in between oleos keeping them in place, welded on “anti-flex” cable attachment rings on port & starboard main spar over inner aileron wing ribs, checked overall condition of airframe, including massive landing gear wheels & tail wheel etc., everything shipshape at 6:15 p.m. Commander John Frederick signed airframe & engine reenforcing work orders, final airframe inspection reports as amendments to the 4:35 p.m. certificate deeming her “suitable for unmanned airlifting” again providing she’d only be flown over unpopulated areas in transit to Lemoore.

With this phase of Operation Wilma complete all was ready for airlifting the Heinkel from the Mefford Field airport tarmac to Site 29-B, time now 7:30 p.m. Adamant more time be spent conducting additional hammock system weight-bearing tests out of safety concerns the hammock system's designers persuaded Captain Masterson to delay the airlift phase of Operation Wilma, granting the delay he forthwith signaled Commander Frederick to expect the Super Skycrane & Jack crews arriving at Mefford Field at 7:45 p.m., heloing her out at 8:00 p.m.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 09, 2022, 07:45:20 AM by Inactive II »

Offline Inactive II

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Operation Wilma Phase Three
« Reply #36 on: August 19, 2022, 11:56:12 AM »
The third and most tedious phase of Lemoore NAS Commander Captain Masterson’s Operation Wilma was choreographing the delivery to Mefford Field Airport, rigging of the Heinkel 177 A-5 hammocking airlift system, flight testing it under load by the Erickson S-64S Super Skycrane before “shipping her off” to Lemoore NAS as follows:

  • Angel’s Flight” Jacks (helicopter lifting gear riggers) at Lemoore NAS heloed direct to Mefford Field Airport tarmac adjacent to the Heinkel in California National Guard Chinook arriving 15 minutes before the Super Skycrane with the hammocking gear they & “Mefford Jacks” positioning Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (“Cherry Pickers”), ladders, equipment & tools around the Heinkel, Angel’s Flight Jacks afterwards lining up parallel on tarmac ready to hand carry the hammocking gear to the Mefford Jacks stationed along Heinkel’s fuselage sides & mainwings standing ready to assist with aligning & securing the gear on the Heinkel.
  • Super Skycrane airlifts hammocking gear direct from Angel’s Flight to Mefford Field Airport tarmac reverse-tracing planned airlift flightpath, i.e. west from Mefford Field Airport over farmland paralleling north of Tulare Ave, Kansas Avenue & Guernsey, due west over open farmland turning northwest over Avenal Cutoff Road transiting west of Reeves Boulevard, paralleling Lemoore NAS Runway 32 Left transiting of NAS airfield north perimeter heloing to & landing on the Site 29-B Playground, outbound from Angel’s Flight transiting southeast parallel to Reeves Boulevard then east to Mefford Field on flightpath.
  • Super Skycrane lands on Mefford Field Airport central taxiway between runway taxiway & main tarmac its tail facing the Heinkel, Angel’s Flight Jacks walk parallel to bunched-up hammocks & anti-flex cables hanging underneath her fuselage spine lead Jacks untying & releasing plastic ropes either side of the bunch-up, successive pairs of Jacks splaying the hammocks out perpendicular to Super Skycrane’s fuselage spine, laying & stretching them out over the taxiway tarmac they assisted by all available gloved airfield personnel, mechanics, tradesmen, number AOC personnel, Navy & Air Force officers & SPs (“entourage”) starting with the 4th hammock set front of Heinkel’s rudder tailplane structural bulkhead serially working forward to the 1st hammock underneath & parallel to fuselage aft nose crew compartment structural bulkhead.
  • All hammocks now laid out first pair of Angel’s Flight Jacks “unclick” (detach hammock cable hooks from Super Skycrane’s stringer cable lifting collars) from 4th hammock pair of entourage members moving stringers away, Jacks holding hooks either end several entourage members stationed in between “Alley Ooping” (simultaneously lifting up) the hammock together carrying it over, laying it down on tarmac parallel to Heinkel’s rudder tailplane structural bulkhead Mefford Jacks either side of fuselage with help of entourage members pulling the hammock underneath fuselage over to a positioning marker some yards from the starboard fuselage entourage members then moving away.
  • Now manned by Mefford Jacks cherry pickers either side of fuselage simultaneously attach hammock hooks to cherry picker lift rings lifting hammock up whilst Angle’s Flight Jacks align it underneath the bulkhead Mefford Jacks afterwards lower hammock down to where clamped-on tie rings affixed on the hammock cables are level with fuselage topside Mefford Jacks then drop a pre-measured plastic securing ropes with clip hooks on ends over fuselage Angel’s Flight Jacks picking them up, clicking them on the tie ring, Mefford Jack cherry pickers then lowering the hammock “sitting” it on fuselage sides ready to be clicked on the Super Skycrane’s stringer cable lifting collars this procedure serially repeated for 3rd, 2nd, 1st hammocks over the Heinkel’s fuselage.
  • For Heinkel’s mainwings, procedure ala 4th hammock serially repeated using two sets of cherry pickers (4 total) one each port & starboard 5th & 6th hammocks with clamped-on reenforcing steel plates wrapped with flexible heavy aluminum padding underneath entire port & starboard fuselage mainwing roots upwards over wing leading & trailing edges, 7th  & 8th hammocks same as to 5th & 6th underneath mainwing inner ribs either side of engines adjacent to outer landing gear doors, 9th & 10th hammocks similar to 5th & 6th all kept in place with plastic securing ropes.
  • With all hammocks secured over the Heinkel’s fuselage & mainwings all Angel’s Flight & Mefford Jacks - 22 Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, Air Force, Army plus 4 “Head Jacks” orchestrating them - are now repositioned next to the Heinkel thus:
  • Two sets of cherry pickers 4 total 1 Jack each repositioned next to 9th & 10th hammocks underneath mainwing outer ribs either side of engines port & starboard all manned by Angel's Flight Jacks,
  • Two “pickers” one Jack each positioned next to 3rd hammock aft of bomb bay underneath a structural bulkhead manned by Angel’s Flight Jacks,
  • Two Mefford Jacks on ladders next to 1st hammock underneath & parallel to fuselage aft nose crew compartment structural bulkhead,
  • Two Mefford Jacks on ladders next to 2nd hammock forward of bomb bay underneath a structural bulkhead,
  • Two Mefford Jacks on ladders next to 4th hammock front of Heinkel’s rudder tailplane structural bulkhead,
  • Four Angel’s Flight Jacks on ladders next to 5th & 6th hammocks with clamped-on reenforcing steel plates wrapped with flexible heavy aluminum padding underneath entire port & starboard fuselage mainwing roots upwards over wing leading & trailing edges,
  • Four Angel’s Flight Jacks on ladders 7th  & 8th hammocks same underneath mainwing inner ribs either side of engines adjacent to outer landing gear doors.
  • Two Angel's FLight Jacks on ladders attaching anti-flex cables to rings welded on port & starboard main spar over inner aileron wing ribs.
  • All Jacks & Navy airfield crewmen in place ready to “clip away” the Super Skycrane Pilot Leslie Sheldon & Copilot Derik Winston rev up engines, lift off slowly straight up two Head Jacks waving lighted signaling batons checking Super Skycrane stringer alignments meantime, leveling off at 115 feet Head Jacks signal Leslie to slowly helo her backwards over the Heinkel two Navy airfield crewmen grabbing the anti-flex cables meantime, two Head Jacks forward of her waving batons take over signaling Leslie along till his ship is directly over the Heinkel the senior Head Jack then signaling Leslie to very slowly descend towards the Heinkel all 22 Jacks “armed” with improvised 6 foot long aluminum rods with large looks on ends snagging their respective stringer with lifting collars, clicking respective hammock hooks on them.
  • Heinkel’s hammocking airlift system now in place, cheery pickers, ladders, equipment & tools are removed by Jacks, airfield personnel et. al. she now was ready for airlifting. Because the Heinkel 177 was a “tail dragger” every one of the 20 Super Skycrane’s stringers in pairs of two plus two anti-flex cables had to be individually sized for her to “fly” pitch up whilst in transit to Site 29-B Playground there simultaneously landing all 5 of her landing gear wheels, better controllability whilst in transit or landing her in case of an emergency as well, thus explaining the above hammocking airlift system rigging choreographing. After signaling GO for lift by the senior Head Jack Super Skycrane Leslie slowly would lift her 15 whist Jacks & airfield personnel flashed floodlights on her whilst looking for stringer, hammock & airframe failures & fractures if none found she’d be lifted another 85 feet when then Leslie would execute a very slow 180 degree clockwise turn whilst holding station for some seconds he &  Copilot Derik Winston “getting feel” how the Heinkel suspended midair reacted under stress whilst being turned whilst buffeted by winds if OK Leslie then signal the Head Jack that the “package” was off to Lemoore.

…To Be Continued…

« Last Edit: August 23, 2022, 03:05:02 AM by Retired In Kalifornia II »

Offline Inactive II

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A critical component of Operation Wilma Phase Three was inflight escort of the Super Skycrane & Heinkel 177 A-5 together code named Package by Lemoore NAS Commander Captain Masterson, impressed with the operating efficiency of the Navy & Army helicopter crews & personnel aboard escorting Preston’s Pride from Mefford Field Airport to Site 29-B he’d ordered same helicopters, crews, personnel, inflight & emergency operations procedures be employed escorting Package to Site 29-B evening of November 13, 2022. Keeping “prying eyes” away whist in transit at 3:00 p.m. the FAA at request of the Navy closed all airspace within an 8-mile corridor between Mefford Field Airport & Lemoore NAS up to 18,000 feet till further notice, Navy & Air Force aircraft ground crews, fire, personnel rescue & medical teams in conjunction with Army counterparts in Chinook & Blackhawk Emphelos in event Package crashed ready to fly in wherever she’d crash if not become part of her aerial caravan to Lemoore, two Seahawks abeam Package crammed with Navy Intelligence, Cinematographers & Telecommunications personnel monitoring secure channel communications whilst in transit & armed SPs in event of crash, SIS heloing point of the aerial caravan.

Tulare & Kings County weather was clear, cool & damp, 5-10 knot westerly winds blew over Lemoore NAS Doppler radar detecting gusts up to 20 knots west of Guernsey along Package’s planned flight to Site 29-B, because of them Package’s 8:00 p.m. liftoff was delayed till 8:45 p.m. Thanks to moonlight reflecting off standing ground water helo pilots could count on good landmark fixes, downside for military intelligence folks was Package heloing low & slow easy for “suspicious” aircraft, UAVs, ground vehicles & persons attempting to “film” it exactly why the same SIS escorting Preston’s Pride to Site 29-B earlier in evening was again dispatched to sweep Package’s flight path before & whilst heloing to Site 29-B. Her flight crew & personal aboard donning classified night vision headsets.

At precisely 7:10 p.m. the fourth & final phase of Operation Wilma commenced with liftoff of the SIS at Lemoore NAS she forthwith coursing Package’s planned flightpath carefully conducting intelligence sweeps, not seeing nor electronically detecting any ground or airspace intrusions landing  at 7:31 p.m. directly over the Mefford Field Airport Runway 13 Compass Marker there standing station. At 7:25 p.m. two Seahawks crammed with Navy Intelligence, Cinematographers & Telecommunications personnel monitoring secure channel communications whilst in transit & armed SPs in event of crash took off from Lemoore heloing straight to Mefford Field landing next to the SIS Seahawk at 7:43 p.m. five minutes later Army Chinook & Blackhawk Emphelos crammed with Navy & Air Force aircraft ground crews, fire, personnel rescue & medical teams all donning hooded disposable hooded hazmat jumpsuits & gloves, wired sound speaker safety ear muffs, lifting off heloing straight to Mefford as well landing next to the Emphelos at 8:03 p.m.

Because the Package liftoff was delayed 30 minutes there was more time for all involved with preparing the Heinkel 177 A-5 for transiting to Lemoore, in this regard the Mefford Jacks remeasured & marked-off locations the 10 hammocks were to be laid, cherry picker & ladder placement locations underneath & next to the Heinkel with rolled-on washable white paint on the now dry airport tarmac facilitating more accurate & timely placements of them over the aircraft, marked as well locations on central airport taxiway where the Super Skycrane was to land, heloed-in floodlights semi-circularly repositioned around the Heinkel & Super Skycrane "Landing Pad" for uniform lighting, all available LSSVs & other vehicles lined up perpendicular to the central taxiway, headlights turned on to aid Jack crews et. al. whilst carrying the hammocks to the Heinkel. There also was time to “take a breather”, hectic activity associated with getting the Phantom & Preston’s Pride off the airport took toll on all, getting Package off promising to be the most hectic of all, choreographed tighter than any Bolshoi Ballet production nothing could go wrong – or could it?

At Angel’s Flight the Jacks there also had more time preparing for transit to Mefford Field leisurely donning portable battery-powered secure channel communications gear, disposable hooded hazmat jumpsuits & gloves, wired sound speaker safety ear muffs, Super Skycrane Pilot Leslie Sheldon & Copilot Derik Winston meanwhile dining on coffee & donuts handed to them by senior Lemoore NAS Navy Head Jack Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Raoul Luna from a cherry picker. At 7:52 p.m. whilst handing Derick his donut Luna received orders direct from Captain Masterson over his radio set for him & Jacks to forthwith helo to Mefford, quickly lowering down Luna & junior Jack Head Petty Officer 1st (PO1) Class Julie Reynolds hustled their Navy, Marine, Air Force, Coast Guard & Army Jacks, Coast Guard CPO Emory Whiteside, Air Force Master Sergeant Chante Jones Head Jacks into the nearby parked Army Corps Of Engineers Chinook loaded with equipment, tools & material needed for rigging the Heinkel hammocks, lifting off at 7:59 p.m. all now were on way to Mefford Field Airport.

Based on the 1962 vintage Sikorski CH-54 Tarhe (18th-19th Century leader of the Ohio Country Wyandot people nicknamed "The Crane") was most successfully employed during the Vietnam War transporting heavy cargos, including two Bell UH-1 Hueys at a time, the 1992-onwards civilian Erickson S-64 Skycrane series in 2022 was premiered by the S-64F+ Skycrane powered by twin Pratt & Whitney T73 Series JFTD12-4A 4,500-plus horsepower turboshaft engines. The heaviest airlift helicopter readily available for military operations on Mefford Field Airport grounds on November 13, 1973, three were provided & operated by a civilian contractor, in 2020 Erickson Incorporated of Portland, Oregon knowing Pratt & Whitney was redesigning their 4,800 hp JFTD12A-5A as the 8,450 hp JFTD15A-1A Erickson forthwith redesigned the S-64F+ as the S-64S Super Skycrane with 65,700 maximum takeoff weight the FAA certifying the prototype airworthy October 1, 2022 it being employed to airlift the Heinkel to Site 29-B.

At 8:11 p.m. Super Skycrane Pilot Leslie Sheldon & Copilot Derik Winston fired-up her D15A’s for flight, gathering speed noise from her massive eight blade 85 foot diameter rotor blowing heavy downwash combined with the screaming turboshafts emitted a distinct earth-shaking rumble that could be heard everywhere within the NAS operations area, lifting off at 8:15 p.m. she’d beelined it to Mefford Field Airport escorted by a AgustaWestland TH-57A Thrasher ("Thrasher" heron) dispatched to transport Naval Commander Mefford Field Recovery Operations Commander John Frederick & some of his senior staff back to Lemoore after the airport was evacuated later that night. Gaining altitude heloing southeast over California State Route 145 she’d turned due east paralleling Jackson Avenue mile north of the Tachi Palace Casino Resort across from where the author’s mom was born 101 years ago, now heloing 1,200 feet at 75 knots she’d shook the structure startled gamers believing it was an earthquake, two miles south of Guernsey she’d encountered strong wind gusts alarming Leslie & Derick, turning southeast she’d encountered more over Paige Avenue near California State Route 137, concerned about them Leslie reduced altitude & speed to 800 feet & 60 knots forthwith signaling & asking the Mefford Field Airport Navy meteorologist how wind conditions were there he replying 3-5 knots due south winds holding steady, relieved he’d signaled the Airfield Controller was heloing in ETA 8 minutes.

Escorted by another Thrasher dispatched to helo Mefford Field Airport Navy & Air Force Intelligence operations commanders back to Site 29-B the Army Corps Of Engineers Chinook fortuitously didn’t encounter wind gusts but whilst heloing at 1,200 feet did encounter large flocks of southbound night flying migrating Honkers (Canadian Geese) flying 100 feet below them forcing the formation to increase altitude & change course more southeasterly entering the airport from the south instead of north as planned. Crossing South I Street near Avenue 196 the helo’s occupants observed massive traffic jams on South I Street ongoing non-stop since 12:47 a.m. seconds later overshooting the deserted California State Route 99 freeway forthwith sharply turning northwest towards the Mefford Field Airport main tarmac whilst lowering altitude & speed, slowing & heloing up to far northeast end of the tarmac, halting & hovering at 30 feet rotating 180 degrees then landing whilst under control of two Navy airfield crewmen waving lighted signaling batons. On terra firma at precisely 8:23 p.m. the Chinook’s Crew Chief lowered the cargo ramp discouraging their Jacks, first out CPO Luna & PO1 Reynolds hustling their 23 Angle’s Flight Jacks, spare included, in bright floodlighting over to the central airport taxiway, CPO Whiteside & Master Sergeant Jones behind forthwith signaling four nearby Mefford Field ground crewmen, two Navy SPs & Naval Intelligence Lieutenant to manhandle their equipment, tools & material needed for rigging the hammocks over to the Heinkel. Within minutes all the Angel’s Flight Jacks were at their assigned stations parallel to the central airport taxiway several yards aft of the Super Skycraine Landing Pad their equipment, tools & material handed to & positioned around the Heinkel by the Mefford Jacks.

Everyone & everything in position by 8:29 p.m. the earthshaking rumble of the approaching Super Skycrane could be heard & felt by everybody at Mefford Field, slowed down again form sudden wind gusts south of Paige, California Leslie signaled the Airfield Controller he was changing course heading northeast then east paralleling Paige Avenue turning southeast over the West Paige Avenue & South K Street intersection paralleling latter one mile southeast then veering left over the Mefford Field Airport runway taxiway towards the five-point taxiway junction there executing several rotation maneuvers then landing on the Landing Pad her tail facing the Heinkel, signaling the airport Navy meteorologist he'd requested wind conditions over the runway taxiway; “…8-9 (knots)  gusts to 15 southeast, watch for crosswinds,” concerned but not dissuaded Leslie & Derik agreed to press on confident they’d safely land her intact. Forthwith executing the course changes the Super Skycrane’s powerful D15A’s thundered over South Tulare, turning south & heloing over South K Street 500 feet at 45 knots she’d veered left towards the airport civilians underneath enduring hours of military helos rumbling in & out of Mefford Field now at wits end from terrified barking dogs & cats, shattered objects of all kinds, two elderly gentlemen & ailing 21 year old pussycat suffering heart attacks. Approaching the taxiway at 160 feet & 30 knots hammocks dangling mere feet from it Leslie & Derik watch intently for waving lighted signaling batons right of “five points’ seeing them Leslie slowly heloed her down the taxiway sashaying past the flock of Navy Seahawks & Army Chinnok perched on Runway 13 standing ready to sashay her to Site 29-B, halting & hovering over the five-point intersection forthwith executing a 90 degree right turn at 130 feet whilst CPO Whiteside & Master Sergeant Jones standing either side of her signaled him to helo forward over the brightly floodlighted Landing Pad, both satisfied she was correctly positioned they’d signaled him to rotate her 180 degrees tail facing towards the Heinkel, signaled him again to land he forthwith doing so without incident touching down at precisely 8:47 p.m. fifty-eight minutes behind her original arrival schedule all ten of her hammocks hanging in perfect order from 20 cable stringers connected to five specially fabricated metal trusswork hangars both anti-flex cables cleanly pulled away by Mefford Field ground crewmen.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 09, 2022, 07:46:04 AM by Inactive II »

Offline Inactive II

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Immediately following Preston’s Pride 4:46 p.m. November 13, 2022 liftoff from Mefford Field Airport the retinue there of Pentagon military, civilian et. al. VIPs piled into number of VIP military jets, flew forthwith to Lemoore NAS where there the Assistant To The President For National Security Affairs (APNSA) was scheduled to arrive at Site 29-B at 5:45 p.m. all attending Top Secret briefings regarding The Mefford Trio in the Building 1 Command & Control Center. At 4:50  p.m. Lemoore NAS Commander Captain Masterson “got on-line” via secured communications link with Naval Commander Mefford Field Recovery Operations Commander John Frederick to brief him on change of plans regarding the Heinkel’s airlifting she now was to be heloed out of Mefford Field Airport at 7:00 p.m., adamant more time be spent conducting additional hammock airlifting system weight-bearing tests out of safety concerns the system's designers persuaded Captain Masterson to delay the airlift phase of Operation Wilma, granting the delay he’d signaled Commander Frederick to helo Package (Super Skycrane & Heinkel 177) out at 8:00 p.m., because of unstable air conditions & migrating birds along Package’s transiting route to Lemoore at 8:45 p.m. Commander Frederick with Captain Masteron’s permission indefinitely delayed heloing it till conditions improved.

As mentioned earlier, by 4:43 p.m. all that remained of the “military occupation” of Mefford Field Airport grounds were three large trailers, several smaller ones & dollies housing/carrying plethora of equipment, tools & materials, dozen LSSVs, all to be heloed out by a fleet of Navy Seahawks, Army Chinooks, Blackhawks, civilian Skycranes to Site 29-B after Package had heloed out. At 1:00 p.m. 315 military personnel were stationed there majority on the congested main airport tarmac next to the civilian Airport Operations Building it nor any civilian structures occupied fearing biohazard contamination, by 8:40 p.m. just 68 personnel remained of many ranks professions, specialties & trades, including 16 AR-armed SPs guarding perimeter of the airfield operations area, runway & taxiways well as East Rankin Road access to the airport. At 8:40 p.m. also the Mefford Jacks took up stations around the Heinkel, forward of them either side Head Jacks Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Raoul Luna & Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1) Julie Reynolds, behind the floodlights most Recovery Operations’ personnel standing around the Heinkel just within the floodlight perimeter two teams of Navy Corpsmen with emergency medical equipment ready to aid & remove injured personnel to Sick Bay.

By 8:50 p.m. Super Skycrane Pilot Leslie Sheldon & Copilot Derik Pilot Winston had powered down her twin 8,450 hp Pratt & Whitney turboshaft engines before the Angel’s Flight Jacks could remove the hammocks, strong downdraft from her massive rotor presenting an unnecessary danger to them, two Jacks then coming up to & releasing plastic ropes either side of the bunch-up hammocks second pair of Jacks then coming up parallel to them grabbing ends of the 4th Hammock pulling it forwards with help of airfield ground crewmen till underneath aftmost of five hangars branching off the Super Skycrane Jacks then splaying it out port & starboard perpendicular to her fuselage spine. The same choreographed procedure was scrupulously followed for the other nine hammocks underneath their respective hangars, meticulously inspected by the Jacks for damage three tie ring u-bolts on 5th & 6th hammock cables were broken, too tightly secured they were, Jacks radio communicating the findings to their respective brethren to replace they also were marked with wide fluorescent felt pens, tears were found on 7th & 9th Hammock’s outer sides as well, minor considering they weren’t touching the Heinkel, no other damage found the hammocks were ready for carrying to the Heinkel. Proceeding expeditiously two Angel’s Flight Jacks assisted by two Mefford Field personnel unclicked the 4th hammock from its stringer cables whilst other personnel moved them aside the four-man team forthwith lifted it up waist high spiriting it off to its assigned location underneath & parallel in front of the Heinkel’s rudder tailplane structural bulkhead, whilst carrying the 3rd hammock onto the airport main tarmac one of the helping Mefford Field personnel, a Navy tradesman, fell turning his ankle, unable to move he immediately was replaced by a Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3) Command & Control Center “office jockey” the tradesman forthwith picked up & hustled to Sick Bay by other PO3 office jocks.

Over the course of many minutes the other seven hammocks were methodically hand carried to the Heinkel & position aligned on the tarmac beneath her, as expected the heavy 5th & 6th Hammocks were especially difficult to handle two more Mefford Field personnel falling & sustaining injuries whilst doing so, by 9:15 p.m. all had been aligned & repaired ready to be mounted on the Heinkel’s fuselage & mainwings. Working together with aplomb the Angel’s Flight & Mefford Jacks over course of 20 minutes systematically mounted all the hammocks on the Heinkel without trouble, sustained 15 knot wind gusts west of Guernsey indefinitely postponing her airlifting, their work done by 9:35 p.m. the Jacks moved their equipment, tools & materials outside the floodlight perimeter standing position behind it as will be needed in event hammock or stringer cable breaks, lifting collar, hook failures whilst airlifting her up. Meanwhile to “saddling up” the Heinkel Commander Frederick ordered porta potties & mess rations transported to helicopter crews stationed both ends of the Mefford Field runway the four Skycrane aircrews parked over Runway 31 especially happy they fidgeting for hours in their cockpits not allowed to set foot on airport grounds fearing they’d be exposed to potential biohazards even though like everybody else on Mefford Field they wore hazmat gear.

Worried that the Package airlift would have to be scrubbed before midnight November 14th Commander Frederick & Senior Navy Meteorologist Lieutenant Sam Parnell “hugged the scopes” (closely watched weather computer monitors) in the Command & Control Center trailer in synchrony with his Lemoore counterparts, at 10:01 p.m. there finally was a “clear channel” Doppler radar break whole length of the Package’s flight path holding till 10:45 p.m., receiving concurring opinions from all meteorologists involved at 10:02 p.m. he’d signaled the center’s Duty Officer Navy Lieutenant Sheila Dan to “Disk The Tiger” (play Survivor’s “Eye Over The Tiger”). his pre-arranged GO signal to commence the Package compilation phase of Operation Wilma, by secure telecommunications links AND over the PA system to everyone on the airfield. Cheering in relief, jazzed & raring for action, everyone on the airfield Set To their assigned tasks, Super Skycrane Pilot Leslie Sheldon & Copilot Derik Winston forthwith powering up their steed near simultaneously with the Seahawks & Chinook perched on Runway 13 they minutes later lifting off towards their assigned Package escorting stations.

Air conditions over Mefford Field Airport grounds were absolutamente perfecto, still air everywhere first time in weeks, by 10:05 p.m. everyone on Mefford Field Airport was at their assigned stations Commander Frederick forthwith signaling Lieutenant Dan to “Cut The Tiger” music, now stationed fore & aft outside the rotor downdraft of the Super Skycrane CPO Emory Whiteside & Master Sergeant (MSgt) Chante Jones signaled Leslie to slowly lift the Super Skycrane off whilst a Navy Cinematographer was “filming” her, pausing at 15, 50 & 110 foot increments checking the stringers for alignments CPO Whiteside afterwards signaled Leslie to ascend 130 feet, “Check Six” Master Sergeant Jones on their aft camera monitors “walking” her backwards to the airfield main tarmac, split second later CPO Luna & PO1 Reynolds took over they walking backwards towards the Heinkel moving either side around her mainwings.

Even at 130 feet above the main airport tarmac the Super Skycranes’s rotor downdraft was exceptionally fierce all personnel stationed under it warned in advance they’d have difficulty performing their tasks particularly for two Navy Cinematographers whilst “filming” her on approach, inching over the Heinkel’s forward crew compartment rotor downdraft blasting her mainwings & fuselage well as the Jacks the Super Skycrane now advanced foot at a time till hovering directly over her all Jacks simultaneously pulling up their 6 foot hooked end aluminum rods for “luring in” the stringer cables, CPO Luna signaling Lesile again to slowly lower her they’d swung their poles like angry orchestra conductors at them. Whilst attempting to grab his stringer PO3 Edmund Gils at portside 1st Hammock fell off his ladder breaking shoulder in two places, quickly escorted to Sick Bay by Corpsmen he immediately was replaced by Coast Guard PO3 Nicholas Jovian trained in severe weather rescue operations, grabbing Gils’ “magic wand” (aluminum rod) he’d climbed up the ladder in position to retrive his stringer within space of 15 seconds.

Everyone having reset their positions for hooking in their stingers CPO Luna signed Leslie to resume lowing the Super Skycrane, still air prevailing despite fierce rotor downdraft all 20 Jacks successfully hooked their stringers, pulling them in, two Angel’s Flight Jacks grabbing port & starboard anti-flex cables, all “clicking like crickets” together 40 Super Skycrane stringer cable lifting collars & Heinkel hammock cable hooks in pairs of two well as two anti-flex cables hooked onto rings welded on the Heinkel’s port & starboard main spar over the inner aileron mainwing ribs in howling hurricane force downdraft from the Super Skycrane’s massive 85-foot rotor. All hammocks & anti-flex cables secured the Jacks quickly pulled away their cherry pickers & ladders outside the floodlight perimeter, all safely distant from Package as now known CPO Luna signaled Leslie to elevate one yard for the hammocks to tighten up against the Heinkels fuselage & mainwings as the Jacks watched for hammock misalignments & cable slippages, seeing none they all in unison rose arms signaling CPO Luna GO for lifting Package.

At 10:11 p.m. CPO Luna signaled Leslie to lift Package 15 feet, hammocks & stringers taught the Heinkel lifted off the airfield tarmac in perfect form, cheers of joy heard from everyone, including Commander Frederick now behind the Jacks lining the floodlight perimeter, holding at 15 feet the Jacks again checked the hammocks & stringers, nothing extraordinary found they’d raised arms signaling GO for rotation CPO Luna forthwith signaling Leslie to rotate the Heinkel 180 degrees clockwise towards the southwest. Slowly lifting her vertically to 200 feet in absolute still air whilst Navy Cinematographers “filmed away” the Heinkel hung gracefully 110 feet below the Super Skycrain’s fuselage spine, Package "ready for delivery" at precisely 10:13 p.m. Commander Frederick signaled CPO Luna GO for Leslie to airlift it to Lemoore.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 09, 2022, 07:49:00 AM by Inactive II »

Offline Inactive II

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As mentioned earlier, at 10:02 p.m. November 13, 2022 Naval Commander Mefford Field Recovery Operations Commander John Frederick signaled everyone on the airfield Set To their assigned tasks, responding the flock of Navy Seahawks & Army Chinook perched on Mefford Field Airport Runway 13 standing ready to “deliver” Package to Lemoore NAS Site 29-B immediately lifted off & onto their assigned hover stations west of the airport. Because of now exceptionally good air conditions Package could proceed on its planned flight path west over farmland paralleling north of Tulare Ave, Kansas Avenue & Guernsey, due west over open farmland turning northwest over Avenal Cutoff Road transiting west of Reeves Boulevard, paralleling Lemoore NAS Runway 32 Left transiting of NAS airfield north perimeter heloing to & landing on the Site 29-B Playground.

Up 200 feet “ready to rock ’n roll” at 10:13 p.m. Commander Frederick signaled senior Lemoore NAS Navy Head Jack Chief Petty Officer Raoul Luna GO for Super Skycrane Pilot Leslie Sheldon to airlift Package to Lemoore, slowly heloing forward Leslie commenced a sweeping right turn crossing over the deserted California State Route 99 freeway second later the hopelessly congested South I Street bypass a virtual parking lot since 12:47 a.m. vehicle occupants feeling well as hearing the awesome power of her twin 8,450 hp Pratt & Whitney turboshaft engines & massive 85 foot rotor bearing down them, shaking their vehicles like an earthquake as she’d thundered over number of terrified motorists bailing others crouching low inside their steeds rotor downwash even 200 feet up splashing adjacent pools of standing rainwater over them like an auto wash.

Gradually increasing altitude to 400 feet, speed to 50 knots, Leslie heloed Package northwest, two miles ahead paralleling Tulare Avenue the Signals Intelligence Seahawk ("SIS") crewmembers donning classified night vision headsets hovered at 350 feet, two Seahawks with Navy Intelligence, Cinematographers & Telecommunications personnel & armed SPs in event of crash donning standard-issue night vision headsets hovering station mile aft of the SIS, as Packaged approached she’d heloed 3,000 feet forward Leslie forthwith executing a sweeping left over Tulare Avenue then heloing due west 3,000 feet aft of the SIS holding altitude at 400 feet, 50 feet above her preventing downwash from hitting Package, other Seahawks heloing in port & starboard parallel to Package at altitude standing off 1,000 feet, “Tail End Charlie” Army Chinook Emphelo (emergency personnel-crewed helicopter) crews also donning standard-issue night vision headsets sprinting to keep up with Package after a mile falling into formation 3,000 feet aft & 50 feet above altitude of the Super Skycrane’s powerful downwash.

Assembled in formation in perfect nighttime meteorological conditions “heloing dark” (no landing or navigation lights on fearing unwanted attention) the aerial caravan trekked due west gradually increasing altitude to 780 feet, speed to 55 knots the Heinkel blissfully hammocking 110 feet below the Super Skycrane exhibiting no aerodynamic instabilities despite hurricane gale force rotor downdraft blasting upon her, satisfied she could withstand stress from increased speed Leslie signaled SIS he was GO for 65 knots at 800 feet altitude. Majestically transiting across moonlit standing pools of water whilst Navy Cinematographers “filmed the Package” with night cameras the aerial caravan even in darkness was a marvel of flying mechanical beauty, the Heinkel 177 A-5 nicknamed Greif (Griffin) Leslie a WWII Deutsches Luftwaffe aficionado understood the significance, heloing north of Guernsey he’d mused on the intercom with Copilot Derik Winston;

“Flight Of The Night Griffin Jake (his nickname), she’s finally completing her mission!”

Puzzled though on to a clever joke Derik replied;

“Is she pregnant?”

Leslie replying wistfully;

“She’s still ‘hanging’ Jake, keep fingers crossed!”

Now heloing due west over open farmland the SIS heloing point of the aerial caravan approached Avenal Cutoff Road executing a sweeping right turn the caravan followed in tow, all now heloing northwest three miles out of Lemoore NAS Runway 32 Left she’d signaled the Lemoore Airfield Controller for runway clearance he forthwith responding; “Lemoore Trampas 5 (code name for all Navy helicopters involved with 'Mefford Trio' operations, '5' = fifth one assigned) Package cleared all approach (all NAS runways clear for transiting over)” all helos forthwith turning on their landing & navigation lights for NAS approach.

Over on the Lemoore NAS Site 29-B Playground preparations for “Receiving The Package” had been on-off for hours due to changing weather conditions remaining constant was landing Package dead center on its 640 x 700 foot increasingly cluttered expanse (see next post for explanation) farthest from anything surrounding landing within a marked-off northwest facing Landing Pad sized to accommodate the Heinkel all sides lined with floodlights. Standing stations within the pad a team of 23 Lemoore Jacks, spare included, separate from those heloed to Mefford Field Airport earlier had been briefed by the Heinkel Hammock Airlifting System’s designers et. al. associated with designing, engineering, fabricating the stringer & hammock lifting rings & hooks link on procedures for “un-clicking” (un-hooking) her stringer lifting collars & hooks. To minimize risk of crashing on Lemoore NAS operations areas Package was to approach Site 29-B heloing over Runway 32 Left, execute as broad sweeping semi-circular right turn from the Runway 14 Right Compass Marker, helo over the closed-off taxiway extreme southeast corner of the Playground connected to Runway 14 Left turning slightly right hovering towards & alighting the Heinkel over the Landing Pad there the Jacks would un-click the Heinkel Super Skycrane immediately ascending & heloing over to Angel's Flight its five trusswork hangars then removed.

Since 5:47 p.m. the Assistant To The President For National Security Affairs (APNSA) with two deputies have been on Site 29-B to attending briefings regarding The Mefford Trio, running longer than planned the President Of The United States over secured communications link tired, talking at times incoherently, demanded definitive assurances from those present the ‘Items’ (The Mefford Field Trio) did not pose “…immediate threat of any kind to (USA) National Security…” the APNSA meekly responding they’d not yet been subjected to rigorous forensic examinations to determine whether they did, forensics conducted at Mefford Field Airport focusing on biological threats prior to airlifting them to Site 29-B. At 10:40 p.m. California Time at Captain Masterson requested permission from the Commander In Chief to end the briefings allowing the APNSA et. al. to witness Package’s arrival now scheduled for 10:45 p.m., following a “pregnant pause” The President clearly in a foul mood replied; “OK Captain, go ahead and ‘hug it’, dismissed!” forthwith signing off at 10:42 p.m.

Approaching NAS Runway 32 Left from the southeast the aerial caravan maintaining formation gradually descended to 500 feet, speed 40 knots, half mile from the Compass Marker Leslie lowered Package to 300 feet Heinkel now 190 feet up from ground level whilst the rest held at 500 feet, seconds later over the compass marker he’d slowed Package to 25 knots the rest following suit, sashaying down runway’s center the powerful throbbing of the Super Skycrane’s eight-blade rotor resonated throughout the NAS operations area Package’s helo escort sticking close by till parallel of the jet fuel tank farm portside south end of operations area portside Seahawk then peeling off due north heloing over to the operations area to the closed-off taxiway extreme southeast corner of the Playground standing off 500 feet southeast of it hovering at 300 feet, slowing to 15 knots maintain 300 feet at the Runway 14 Right Compass marker Leslie executed a broad sweeping right turn towards Runway 32 Right the SIS & portside Seahawk now heloing in tandem paralleled Package at altitude 400 feet off its port Army Chinook tailing Package at altitude 800 feet aft.

Now hovering Package over Runway 32 Right Leslie executed another broad sweeping right turn lining up directly with the closed-off taxiway 1,200 feet ahead Seahawk portside & Chinook aft meantime heloing clockwise 400 feet out from Package over Runway 32 Right heloing next to the SIS & other Seahawks all now hovering in line over Runway 32 Right 400 feet southeast of Package’s final approach path onto the Site 29-B Playground. Heloing Package in towards the taxiway at 300 feet, speed 10 knots, Leslie felt air buffeting underneath the Heinkel possibly from the Super Skycrane’s powerful rotor downdraft, ascending to 350 feet, speed 5 knots it went away, proceeding onwards copilot Derik signaled over secured communications link Head Jack Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Miloje (“Milo”) Crnčević commanding the 23 Jacks assigned to un-click the Heinkel for permission to helo in over the Site 29-B Playground; “Praetor (call name for Site 29-B Playground Air Control adopted after the Phantom was heloed in morning of the 13th) Package Hold 30 (seconds).”

For safety reasons no witnesses, SPs included, to Package’s landing were allowed on the Playground within 500 feet of the Landing Pad not only because of the Super Skycrane’s exceptionally powerful rotor downdraft but high risk of the Heinkel crashing pulling the helo down on it sole exceptions being the attendees of the Top Secret briefings per request of the APNSA, to protect the entourage a line of LSSVs were stationed in front of the Site 29-B Building 1 Command & Control Center for them to stand behind & duck in event of crash. Shuffling out the building donning hooded disposable hazmat jumpsuits & gloves taking their sweet time whilst lining up behind the LSSVs Captain Masterson also donning hazmat gear waited till all were behind the LSSVs seeing they were he then hand signaled Milo for him to radio signal Package to enter the Playground; “Praetor Package GO for (Playground) entry.”

Nosing in over the Playground at 300 feet, 5 knots speed, Leslie executed a shallow right turn whilst dropping to 190 feet lining up with the Landing Pad surrounded by floodlights behind them either side parallel to the Landing Pad Jacks donning hooded disposable hazmat jumpsuits & gloves, cherry pickers, ladders, equipment, tools, materials for un-clicking the Heinkel, standing far side of Landing Pad behind floodlights CPO Crnčević waving Package in with lighted signaling batons. Standing in frigid air underneath Super Skycrane’s fierce downdraft the Jack crew struggled to keep footing one adjacent to lower right corner of Landing Pad falling on knees uninjured quickly regaining footing. Waving in Package to center of the Landing Pad CPO Crnčević signaled Leslie to slow & halt directly over it forthwith waiving him to lower the Heinkel down, inching closer to the Playground’s concrete surface the Heinkel wobbled in the downdraft, tail wheel touching down first Leslie struggled to keep her from yawing, not wasting time getting her perfectly aligned within the Landing Pad he’d reduced power the Heinkel’s four large & heavy main landing gear wheels hitting the concrete ten degrees right off center at 10:44 p.m.

Wasting nay a split second the Jacks rushed in to position cherry pickers, ladders, equipment, tools, materials to un-click the 40 Super Skycrane stringer cable lifting collars & Heinkel hammock cable hooks well as two mainwing anti-flex cables, not missing a beat within half a minute everything was in place, satisfied all was ready CPO Crnčević signaled them to un-click. Proceeding in choreographed fashion underneath freezing downdraft the mainwing anti-flex cables were un-clicked first & pulled around in front of mainwing leading edges followed by un-clicking the mainwing hammock stringers then the fuselage ones, all disconnected the Jacks hurriedly pulled the cherry pickers & ladders back outside the floodlight line, all accounted for Jacks then stood back farther from the Landing Pad whilst CPO Crnčević signaled Leslie to lift the Super Skycrane straight up to 130 feet, forthwith doing so he then rotated clockwise facing due south heloing off to Angel’s flight whilst Jacks hauled away the equipment, tools, materials & floodlights.

Parked 200 feet aft of the Heinkel a “mule team” (airfield crew with tow tractor) pulled up to the Heinkel’s tailwheel strut, hooking on the towbar she was turned around 180 degrees, slowly towed up to Hangar B as the APNSA, Captain Masterson & VIPs watched on there halting for the hangar doors to open then in pitch black darkness motored in centered within hangar with flashlights, towbar removed, “mule team” departing, hangar doors forthwith closed & locked. The drama over Captain Masterson then escorted the APNSA & VIPs back inside Site 29-B Building 1 Command & Control Center to resume the Top Secret briefing regarding The Mefford Trio all now yards away soon joking called by SPs guarding them “The Site 29-B Concubines” not ever to be seen again by the general public.

…To Be Continued…
« Last Edit: September 19, 2022, 07:03:19 PM by Inactive II »

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: The Mefford Field Anachronisms
« Reply #40 on: August 24, 2022, 01:39:41 AM »
Swapping between Skyhawks & Seahawks was fun! :-\ ;D


Mind you, I think you'd need a fairly stiff breeze to get a Skyhawk to hover, even over a moving deck. ;)
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Inactive II

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Mefford Field Airport Evacuated, US Government Returns It To Tulare County
« Reply #41 on: August 25, 2022, 10:42:27 AM »
Not since WWII had the US Armed Forces conducted such a singularly intense personnel & materials logistics undertaking than that associated with The Mefford Trio. The initial mission of disarming & removing the SC2500 “MAX” bombs from the Heinkel 177 A-5 morning of November 13, 2022, heloing them & fuzes to Lemoore NAS, was soon accomplished, the “Mission Impossible” determining whether they indeed were “National Security Threats” per the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order had to wait till after they’d been moved to Site 29-B. In this regard, before 2:00 a.m. California Time Commander Naval Air Station Lemoore Captain John Dudley Masterson was assigned tactical responsibility for airlifting them there by The Pentagon then full operational responsibility over them as set forth in the Executive Order, lacking any plausible military explanation of what they were he with Joint Chiefs Of Staff concurrence declared them bioweapons requiring stringent biohazard control & decontamination protocols & procedures be scrupulously observed & exercised by all personnel well as anything coming in contact with them.

Backed by senior Pentagon leadership Captain Masterson was granted plenary authority to commandeer whatever military and civilian personnel & resources necessary for “managing” The Mefford Trio, claim authority over Mefford Field Airport property as well. Amongst the first personnel commandeered were biowarfare specialists for decontaminating personnel, equipment, tools, materials coming in contact with The Mefford Trio, trailers to house them, material needed to conduct the decontaminations, all airlifted to Mefford Field Airport morning of the 13th, also including were several wheeled tankers filled with biodegradable decontamination chemical agents for washing tarmacs & grounds. The first “bio washings” were those associated with disarming & removing the “MAX” bombs then those the Phantom & Preston’s Pride sat underneath for decades before the Army Corps Of Engineers obliterated them well as those traversed transporting them to the main airport tarmac, the tarmacs & grounds the Heinkel sat over well as Mefford Field Airport operating areas as trailers, dollies, equipment tools & material was airlifted to the Site 29-B Playground it fast becoming the US military’s largest temporary biowaste holding station. As mentioned earlier, by 4:43 p.m. all that remained of the “military occupation” of Mefford Field Airport grounds were three large trailers:

Medford Field Airport Operations Center ("AOC"),

Sick Bay - Biohazard Station - Wash & Dressing Rooms,

Materials Fabrication & Storage,

several smaller trailers & dollies housing/carrying diesel-powered electric generators, relays & cables, airfield equipment, tools, etc., water, fuel, oil & lubricants, etc. consumables, dozen LSSVs some tow-equipped stationed to relocate crop dusters & other aircraft moved off the airfield, everything to be heloed out by a fleet of Navy Seahawks, Army Chinooks, Blackhawks & Skycranes. Even whilst Preston’s Pride was inflight to Site 29-B personnel & materials within the AOC & Materials Fabrication & Storage trailers were cleared out & moved to smaller trailers then airlifted out, them gone the evacuation pace quickened; Sick Bay - Biohazard Station - Wash & Dressing Rooms trailer & contents containerized all airlifted out by 11:05 p.m. well as tons of containerized biowaste their operations moved to smaller trailers. At 11:30 p.m. just three small trailers out of 24 heloed in throughout the morning of the 13th remained they & all remaining airfield equipment, tools, materials, LSSVs etc. relocated on grounds south of the 150,000 square feet of tarmac surrounding the civilian Mefford Field Airport Operations Building formerly occupied by military trailers, vehicles, equipment, tools, materials of all kinds, including a portable field kitchen & mess hall serving hot meals, two 3,000 gallon gasoline-powered pressure pump wheeled tankers filled with biodegradable decontamination chemical agents towed by LSSVs operated by hazmat specialists commencing to hose down every square inch it.

At 11:51 p.m. Mefford Field Recovery Operations Commander John Frederick via secure telecommunication link contacted the TCS-SCO of Mefford Field Airport emergency operations that roads adjacent to the airport could now be reopened, stationed at the Tulare County Fairgrounds Emergency Refuge Area off South K Street north of the airport since converted to a Traffic Management Command Center at 11:54 pm the TCS-SCO commenced protocols for terminating road detours, resuming traffic on California State Route 99 & nearby parallel roads to great relief of motorists transiting hopelessly congested Tulare city roads for nearly 24 hours; at 1:01 a.m. November 14th Commander Frederick met with his senior staff: Mefford Field Recovery Operations Chief Naval Lieutenant Commander Noel Weissman, Naval Intelligence Chief Lieutenant Commander Robert Lambert, Security Chief Naval Lieutenant Maynard Lowes in charge of all security personnel regardless of rank or service branch whilst on airport grounds, Navy Medical Corps Officer Lieutenant Martha Jean Roma, a highly credentialed practitioner of radiological & bioweapons contamination medicine in charge of “all things medical” on Mefford Field Airport, in the Command & Control Center trailer for the last time. Not wasting time Commander Frederick asked Lieutenant Roma to present signed biohazard decontamination reports well as signed certificates declaring all Mefford Field Airport grounds “free of biological & radiological agents known to be harmful or deadly to human life as understood by current science” for him to counter sign;

“Did you see any ‘Waldos’ (hidden in plain sight dangers) over on the Heinkel site?”

he’d coyly asked;

“No sir, ‘Dora The Explorer’ would had found them by now!”

All laughing with relief Commander Frederick forthwith countersigned the reports & certificates handing them to Lieutenant Commander Weissman;

“These are going in the ‘Memory Hole’ (Top Secret custody of an OF-5 Senior Pentagon Intelligence Officer) Noel…” whilst handing them to him; “…order the airfield ground crews (et. al.) to haul back the crop dusters (onto the airport tarmac), be damn sure the ‘documentarians’ (Navy Cinematographers & Photographic Specialists) properly record were every single one is spotted, ‘legal beagles’ (Navy lawyers et. al.) will eat my ass inside-out by midnight (the 14th) if we didn’t!”

Whilst the meeting was in progress Navy Seahawks, Army Chinooks & Blackhawks were heloing out the wheeled biodegradable decontamination tankers, big rig-sized containers full of biowaste (one container left to receive Sick Bay waste much of it hooded disposable hazmat jumpsuits & gloves) et. al. containerized equipment, tools & materials, meeting adjourning at 1:20 a.m. the attendees forthwith headed to Sick Bay to un-don their “lizard suits” (hazmat gear); whilst ground crews et. al. were hauling the crop dusters et. al. other aircraft back onto the airport tarmac with LSSVs Skycranes were airlifting the small Command & Control Center, Sick Bay & Materials Fabrication & Storage trailers to Site 29-B, three big rig containers becoming ad hoc replacements; after the aircraft were towed, cinemotographed & photographed the dozen LSSVs were driven onto three 5-Car Hauler Trailers, heloed by Skycranes to Site 29-B their crews by a Chinook at 2:35 a.m., Lieutenant Martha Jean Roma & six Corpsmen heloed out in a Seahawk followed in tow by Sick Bay & biowaste big rig containers heloed by Army Nighthawks at 2:55 p.m.

All that remained on Mefford Field Airport by 3:00 a.m. the 14th way of military presence on Mefford Field Airport grounds was the Command & Control Cemter big rig container & attached portable gas-powered electric generator, Seahawk, Trasher & aircrews, a few standing battery operated floodlights, battery lighted portable “Command Tent” set up to receive Commander Frederick, Lieutenant Commander Noel Weissman, Lieutenant Commander Robert Lambert, Lieutenant Maynard Lowes, four SPs two guarding the East Rankin Road entrance onto the main airport tarmac. At 2:50 a.m. Commander Frederick again contacted the TCS-SCO requesting to meet with Cal OES, senior CHP, Tulare Sheriff Depuiy, Tulare City Police officials, Mefford Field Airport Operations & Security staff, including the Airport Manager, operations & security staff, stationed at the Tulare County Fairgrounds Traffic Management Command Center since early morning the 13th on airport grounds, at 3:30 a.m. to hand back control of Mefford Field Airport to Tulare County via them, forthwith agreeing to his request they piled into “official vehicles” headed for the airport via South Airport Way reopened for general traffic shortly after midnight.

Minutes to their arrival the Command & Control Center big rig container was heloed out by Army Blackhawk in another Army Jacks who'd rigged & waved it off, Seahawk transporting the Navy Cinematographers & Photographers, at 3:27 a.m. the entourage of “official vehicles” arrived at the Command Tent in light rain heralding another “Polar Express” storming in overnight, shaking hands & exchanging greetings outside Commander Fredricks escorted them in, his senior staff standing behand an 8-foot Cosco table he then presented the TCS-SCO copies of documents certifying Mefford Field Airport “free of biological & radiological agents known to be harmful or deadly to human life as understood by current science”, certification of personal property (crop dusters & other aircraft, “civilian” objects on tarmacks etc.) relocated back to their original locations on airport grounds, return of Mefford Field Airport real property to Tulare County, US Government legal indemnification policies & claims filings documents for damaged personal & real property as required under the Incident-Specific National Emergency Executive Order & technical amendments the County was entitled to receive at time of the US Government returning it to their control.

Speaking matter of fact Commander Frederick stated the certificates & documents were “front ends” to electronic & signed paper documentation being sent to Tulare County by protocol the TCS-SCO merely signing a certificate acknowledging receipt of them he signing it first then the TCS-SCO Commander Frederick then dated it: 3:46 a.m. Novemnber 13, 2022. Following the ceremony the entourage of officials exchanging handshakes with Commander Frederick & senior staff then made way to their “official vehicles”  the Airport Manager, operations & security staff forthwith driving off to the Airport Operations Building others returning to the Tulare County Fairgrounds Traffic Management Command Center Lieutenant Commander Robert Lambert’s SPs meantime folding up the Cosco table disassembling & packing up the Command Tent & floodlights, depositing them & associated items for conducting the meeting into the Skyhawk cabin whilst Commander Frederick, Lieutenant Commander Noel Weissman, Lieutenant Commander Robert Lambert piled in the Thrasher, Lieutenant Maynard Lowes, four SPs in the Seahawk both helos firing up & lifting off at precisely 4:00 a.m. headed for Site 29-B whilst heloing in windy hard rain the aforementioned 3:00 p.m. November 13th FAA airspace closure within an 8-mile corridor between Mefford Field Airport and Lemoore NAS up to 18,000 feet cancelled at 4:30 a.m. the 14th after the helos arrived at Lemoore.

…To Be Continued…


« Last Edit: September 13, 2022, 03:09:50 PM by Inactive II »

Offline Inactive II

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Epilogue On The Day After
« Reply #42 on: August 26, 2022, 01:42:32 AM »
As mentioned earlier, at 11:54 p.m. November 13, 2022 TCS-SCO of Mefford Field Airport emergency operations commenced protocols for terminating road detours, resuming traffic on California State Route 99 freeway & nearby parallel roads to great relief of motorists transiting hopelessly congested Tulare city roads for nearly 24 hours. Amongst them portable traffic messaging signs on shoulders either side of 99 between Hosfield Drive/Drive 108 & Tex Drive/South Laspina Street brightly flashing NO SLOWING KEEP MOVING followed by California State Department Of Highways (CALTRANS) road maintenance vehicles flashing yellow warning lights interspaced by CHP cruisers flashing red & blue lights to discourage motorists from “rubbernecking” whilst passing the 1940s RAAI Mefford hangar & fenced-off areas formerly occupied by Preston’s Pride & Phantom hard driving windy rains brought in overnight by the Polar Express slowing traffic thwarting the efforts. On roads adjacent to Mefford Field Airport the northbound South K Street freeway onramp & Tex Drive up to Leonard Noel Drive remained closed indefinitely, Leonard Noel Drive & East Rankin Road access to the airport limited by temporary checkpoints set up by Tulare City Police Department (PD) Officers & County Sheriff Deputies to ire of commercial aviation businesses stationed on it.

At Lemoore Naval Air Station Site 29-B morning of Monday, November 14, 2022 hard windy Polar Express rains pummeled the Playground, a concrete aircraft parking field it lacked proper drainage for structures on it well as the massive “junkyard of stuff” airlifted from Mefford Field Airport taking up substantial acreage on the site, paradoxically The Site 29-B Concubines: Preston’s Pride, Phantom, Heinkel 177 A-5, stayed “high & dry” as they & hangars were on the Playground’s highest ground. Also high & dry in their beds morning of November 14th were Commander Naval Air Station Lemoore Captain John Dudley Masterson and Station Assistant Commander John Frederick, tuckered out from near 30 hours of heavy command responsibilities associated with airlifting the aircraft & SC2500 “MAX” bombs safely to Site 29-B Captain Masterson postponed their 6:30 a.m. meeting till the afternoon he meantime attending Top Secret briefings with Pentagon senior leadership well as with the Joint Chiefs Of Staff via secure telecommunications link regarding the aircraft.

As mentioned earlier, the excruciatingly delicate matter of returning Luftwaffe Unterfeldwebel Joachim Klaus-Martin & deceased comrades bodies to Germany necessitated an extraordinarily discreet humanitarian joint cooperation effort between US & Bundesrepublik diplomats for their timely repatriations to Germany, scrupulously following established joint NATO-US Armed Forces-Bundeswehr deceased military corpse identification & repatriation protocols the airman bodies were repatriated by week’s end. Discovered by two CHP officers shortly after midnight the 13th Unterfeldwebel Klaus-Martin, shrapnel wounds peppering his legs & torso none life threatening though requiring bleeding control, was tended to by EMTs he then ambulanced to Adventist Health Tulare Hospital under armed escort, including the German-Speaking Tulare PD Officer Morgan Lacon, admitted & placed under 24 hour quarantined armed watch till could be questioned.  Whilst being examined in the hospital Emergency Treatment Center Unterfeldwebel Klaus-Martin briefly regained consciousness;

“Wo bin ich?”

Officer Lacon standing nearby replying sympathetically;

“Sie sind in einem Krankenhaus Unterfeldwebel Klaus-Martin, entspannen Sie sich, Sie werden gut versorgt.”

Looking at him bewildered Unterfeldwebel Klaus-Martin replied;

“Sind Sie Engländer? Ich erkenne deine Uniform nicht an?”

Officer Lacon again replying sympathetically;

“Nein, ich bin ein Polizist, Sie sind in keiner Gefahr, Sie werden gut versorgt sein, bitte versuchen Sie sich auszuruhen!”

Relieved Unterfeldwebel Klaus-Martin smiled & replied;

“Vielen Dank…”

forthwith closing eyes lapsing back into unconsciousness severe back of head cerebral hemorrhaging subsequently discovered by X-rays presumably from a concussion whilst bailing out of the Heinkel. Lapsing into a coma at 10:48 p.m. the 13th Unterfeldwebel Klaus-Martin quietly passed four minutes after Super Skycrane's Pilot Leslie Sheldon touched down the Heinkel on the Site 29-B Playground his body repatriated to Germany along with his deceased comrades later in the week.


-o0o-
« Last Edit: September 19, 2022, 09:34:53 AM by Inactive II »