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Saturday story
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DeadCarp    Posted 08-23-2003 at 14:14:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ever have an interesting event on a job? Thought i'd relate one snce it's sunny & i'm handy and can take all afternoon if need be.
We had a Weber team going to the desert by Palmdale to test some new ejection seats -there were 3 of us guys and Oscar the test dummy.

I should mention that though Oscar weighed about the same and was scaled like a pilot, he wasn't real high-tech, had a big hangup bolt out the top of his noggin and he had survived a few rather spectacular past rides and was likely now more white glue than dummy. But with a flight-suit and boots, at 400 mph he looked pretty real.

His seats were sorta simple too, no squibbed explosive wire around the apertures or anything - when the tube fired it drove a wedge upward to pierce the sled's canopy and the whole mess would go cartwheeling into the sky - hopefully a little drogue chute would deploy and stabilize everything, then the main chute was supposed to slow his sorry carcass's deposit to the desert. We haD no provisions for steering, righting or otherwise contro;ing trajectory.

The sled was an old f86 fuselage that was accelerated down the track by 9 rocket bottles, at the other end a coupla steel sheets were rammed into the water trenches, a neat roostertail sprayed the sky and the water stopped it.

Well this one day the sled crew was ready but something didn't work so Oscar took quite a ride, bounced and skidded, had his butt properly whooped by sand and we had to sorta rake him up. By the time we had gathered & loaded the cameras, films, Oscar etc into the company truck and tarped them in, we were running a bit late. And it was hot so we agreed to grab a 6-pack for the hour's ride back to Burbank.

Nicely got on the freeway, popped a beer apiece and were talking shop when a siren went off behind us. Oh jeez wouldn't ya know it? We pulled over, Barney drew his pistol and started yelling, our driver calmly stepped to the back, they chatted awhile and he came back chuckling. The cop just drove off and left. And here we quietly sat, thinking we were gonna die with 3 open beers!
It seems in our haste we hadn't properly stowed Oscar and here we'd been speeding down the road with one of his crumpled legs, a boot & pantleg flopping in the breeze from under the tarp. I can't imagine what the cop had thought and i don't think we ever did tell the boss. :)

paynts    Posted 08-23-2003 at 15:06:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Dead Carp-what time frame were/are you working out that way? I was wondering if you may have known my Dad.
He has not been working for 17 years though. he worked electrical Instrumentation and Flight Test at Edwards and was everywhere all the guys went when the contracts went bust. Burbank-Seal Beach-Plant 42...
His name was Jim Knight but folks called him Jimbo mostly. He worked at Douglas-Hughes-Northrup and mostly North American.

DeadCarp    Posted 08-23-2003 at 19:22:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
That was in the maybe late 60s ot so - long befor walter kidde took over weber a/c when their mainstay was seats & galleys. I later spent 10 years with Northrop largely overseas (on australia f18 co-production and the shah of iran's fighters) that was interesting duty too.

paynts    Posted 08-23-2003 at 19:41:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Those were some exciting times-I loved going to the roll outs for the new planes at Plant 42 before they went out to Edwards.
Born and raised out there and I miss it sometimes

Cindi    Posted 08-23-2003 at 18:17:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
What a trip! I bet that cop thought he was dealing with a bunch of serial killers. Great story DC!

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