Howdy! - AX on P-3B Orions

Let us know what your connection is with the aircraft, tell us where you're from and what you like!
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  • Posts: 26
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2014, 15:38
  • Location: Brunswick, GA

Unread post16 Feb 2014, 08:06

Hi, all! My name is Ivan and I've been lurking on this forum for a few months. I finally joined last week - not that I have anything to contribute, but rather will probably ask lots of questions.

My history is as thus: As a 6 year-old I had my life planned. I would join the Navy after I graduated from college and become a fighter pilot (and of course a multiple ace). After 10 years or so of terrorizing enemy pilots, I would join the astronaut program, fly around in space and go to the moon. After about 10 years of astronauting, I would retire from the service and fly jet liners on international routes and have many wonderful layovers with hot stewardesses (Hey, it was 1961, I was just 6 and the world was my oyster!).

Well, the dream came crashing down about 5 years later when I was fitted for glasses. 20/200 in the right eye, 20/400 in the left and astigmatic. I was blind as a bat and there was no way back then of going fighter piloting, astronauting or jet liner flying with vision like that. It was a strict 20/20 or better policy for all of the above. No corrective lens allowed and Lasix was many years down the road. I was crushed.

However, I did start taking flying lessons when I was 13 yo. They propped me up on two seat cushions in that ratty, old, straight-tailed Cessna 150 (you knew you were in a co-ordinated, 45 degree banked turn to the left in that airplane when the dash would start vibrating and buzzing. :D ). I soloed on my 16th birthday, got my private pilot's license when I was 17, then ran out of money and reasons to fly. All I could do was bore holes in the VFR at $18/hour wet. That's not much now, but back then it was a Kings Ransom when I mowed lawns at $3 a pop.

I was lost after HS graduation, as I had no plans or ideas. My buddy Howard, talked me into going to the Navy recruiters office with him for moral support (no way I was going to enlist! We had just pulled out of Vietnam 3 months prior). The recruiter, Chief Sullivan, talked me into taking the ASVAB ("No strings - just to see what you know."). I aced it and he said to me, "Why, you can be anything you want to be in the Navy!" Me, being a smart-a$$, replied, "Well, I want to be a fighter pilot", knowing full and well that that wasn't possible. He responded that, while that wasn't possible, there were aircrew positions available. I about swallowed my false teeth! I didn't know that you could fly as an enlisted man! He hooked me and I was gone in a week.

Long story short, I failed my 1st class swimmers exam and lost my aircrew position. However, I went to avionics school instead and became an AX (avionics tech, specializing in ASW electronics systems) on P-3B Orions. One of the highlights of my P-3 career occurred during a R&R flight from Barbers Point, HI to Atlanta, GA. We had launched with a broken autopilot, requiring the pilots to hand-fly the bird for 12 hours non-stop. As soon as we got leveled off at altitude, they were on the intercom asking for anybody who wanted to fly, to come up forward. And thus I got 1 hour right-seat time in a heavy! It wore me out. I chased that plane all over the sky until I got my instrument scan down and relaxed my grip on the controls. I was surprised by how sensitive to control input it was.

Anyways, that's my (long) story and I'm stickin' to it!
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Unread post16 Feb 2014, 08:16

Hello Ivan!

Glad you joined this forum. I'm really looking forward to more posts from you.


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