C-5 Aircraft
Work History

At Dover AFB

While at Dover, I worked on a complicated system called MADARS (Malfunction, Analysis, Detection, and Reporting system) on C-5A cargo aircraft. This system was the main reason Dover had such a bad rep as a base to serve at. The system was constantly breaking, and for access to the engine SAR's (Signal Acquisition Remotes), wing panels had to be removed. The engine Vibration System was practically guaranteed to break every flight and one of the troubleshooting procedures was to tap a screwdriver handle on the transducers while some one else watched the appropriate SAR channels (9 and 8) (front and rear transducers) on the ODRU (Oscilloscope and Digital Readout Unit) to see if the waveform displayed showed the taps.
Over the years, I made a reputation. There came a night when a particular aircraft would break every time the crew tried to taxi out to the runway from the "spot". Job Control did what they always did. They called for progressively "smarter" people. They called for a "7 level" (experience level), then they called for the shop chief. I think I remember being on another aircraft up to this point. If I remember right, the dispatch truck came out and got me. I was informed they had asked for me by name! Fairly unheard of stuff! Keep in mind that at Dover, C-5A reliability rates and on-time take-off's were EVERYTHING in those days. Our mission was to continue to embarass Travis A.F.B. in California, the other C-5 base. When I got to the plane and got a good story on the situation (From Walter, who did not like his name), I realized that there were four or five SAR's in question ( there were 5 SAR's in the SAR groups. The group that was indicated was the leftover group and, I think, only had four SAR's).  Two of them were the right wing engine SAR's. First I disconnected the two or three SAR's that were inside the aircraft and had the crew taxi. The problem recurred. Next I disconnected a cannon plug (55 or so pin electrical connector) from the wing root and had the crew taxi again. The problem was gone. At this point, the Line Chief, almost literally God at night on the flightline asked ME if he should have the crew hold while we tried to fix it or whether they should go back to the "spot". I was in the position of being able to say, with absolute certainty, "back to the spot". We worked on it all night. They called the Lockheed tech rep (Bob Campbell) and woke him up to call him in early. He told them not to let me go home until he got there. Never had I been happier not to go home. By the time he got there, we had taken all the wiring bundles and connectors apart at both #3 and #4 engines and shaken all the wires and the system had continued to work. I gave Bob the "turnover" (the situation) when he arrived, and went home. I found out later that after they put everything back together, the system worked fine.
I consider my reputation at Dover with quite a bit of pride to this day. There was a required green log book where one wrote about hard to fix problems so people would know what to do on a problem that had already occured. For some months, I was on every page to every other page of that book.