In this story the lack of practice makes imperfect....

HOW NOT TO PRACTICE MOORING AN AIRPLANE (or what ever you want to call it)
By Jerold L. (Jerry) Wanek

 

On one of the training flights at CGAS Brooklyn, one of our pilots decided to try something that was very seldom done in training, making a water landing and slowly taxi toward our mooring buoy for amphibian aircraft. Even though I had many hours as a crewman aboard the HU16E, I had never even seen it done, so guess who pulled the job of mooring.

After the water landing I crawled between the pilots into the nose of the aircraft and dropped the hatch. An ADC joined me to walk me through the procedure. We were both standing in the open hatch which is about 36" by 36" or less. Not all that big for two guys to stand in.

 

The buoy is like a car tire with a looped cable in the center. The trick is to reach out with a boat hook and snatch the loop with a hook on the end of the pole, then give a quick jerk and disconnect the pole from the hook.

So here I am, standing in the nose hatch of the plane with one eye on the pilots through the windshield and the other eye on the mooring buoy.

The pilot did a beautiful job of slow taxing toward the buoy. As we got close, I reached out and with the first try hooked the loop, gave a quick jerk, disconnected the pole and took a couple of loops around the cleat on the nose of the plane. What I didn't know was in practice I was only suppose to touch the loop and not actually hook it. The pilot hadn't taken into consideration that I was going to actually hook the loop and had not slowed the plane sufficiently to bring it to a complete stop. As the line got tighter and tighter, I saw the look through the windshield on the pilots faces and turned to look at the ADC standing beside me.

The Chief ( whose eyes were as big as banjos) and I both had the same idea as we both dropped like a rock into the hatch. There was one big bang as the cleat tore loose and the line snapped over our heads like a bullwhip.

No one was hurt and no one got angry except the metalsmiths who had to replace the broken cleat.

I had only one comment: " BUT NO ONE TOLD ME I WAS JUST TO TOUCH THE BUOY DURING PRACTICE AND NOT ACTUALLY HOOK IT. "


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