Never knew the Crabs had a sense of Humor.

They didn't when Jinx painted those giant white crabs on the support helicopter pans at Kesh. SH 1 and SH 2 became Crab 1 and Crab 2 overnight. The RAF squadron commander complained to the OC, didn't get any change and the crabs stayed.
Jinxy did a tour with him at Kesh in 75. He was with 660 Sqn and they did half tours. I was 658 attached and copped for the full stint. Den Ward was AQMS. Never saw or heard about again. Normal for he was a good boss.
Mick Kemp ran the other crew, the only decent honest other crew I knew in all my time.
I remember Mick as a real nice guy and Den Ward was great.

The half tours was due to the inabilty to deploy the whole squadron as the Gazelle was disaster at the time and only the Scouts were fit for service.
Hence half the guys stayed in Germany to keep the Gazelles going.

'76 was adifferent story as by then most of the Gaz serviceability issues had been resolved (large round of applause for Alex Garty) and they sent a christmas tree as well (XW911)!!!!
I remember when Gaz came into service at Minden where I was.
We had one full screw, name slips my mind, who had worked on Gaz at Netheravon and he was The Expert.
No one need a course it's so simple.
First Clock up that crosses my mind was the tail stabalizer bolts. As you know they where immposible to move. We ended up with two cabs due at same time and I was doing open. I started trying to push out after removing nut. No go, gentle tap with copper drift and small hammer, no go bigger hammer, no go, F-ing Big Hammer and steel drift no go. All this was with many applications of WD 40 and the VMs penatrateing fluid.
By now the other team had complete destroyed the threaded portion of their bolts, smashed them ta fluck.
I was approaching this point. I ended up using a picketing spike and a sledge hammer to get mine out.
The other crew ended sawing off the securing braket on one side.
Simple zo Fudging simple.
The expert appeared and says oh nothing new that sort of things happens all the time.
If nobody had a course at 658 that explains a few things.

At Kesh in 76 I came across a group of 658 guys trying to jack a Gazelle.
Two jacks under the front, one jack under the rear standing on a piece of railway sleeper.

Me. Why are you using that bit of wood?

Sgt. The jacks not tall enough to reach the rear jacking pad.

Me. Why don't you use a jacking platform?

Sgt. What are you on about?

Me. See those bits of yellow tubing lashed together and never unpacked standing against the cage, thats a jacking platform, designed to be fitted to the rear jack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Strangely those stab bolts also spring to mind.

Me. Why are we still doing these crack checks on the bolts. The inspection calls for bolts with a stamped "P" to be checked. These bolts are all post mod and have an embossed "P".

OC LAD Just do as your told!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy days.

This was about the time that Bob Gorniak departed for pastures new.

At this point I sadly concluded that 658 didn't have a scooby doo about the Gaz. Different story where the Sioux was concerned.

Just remembered we had those bolts on a 25 hour regrease (instigated by Jinx) so they slipped in and out like a (use own imagination here). Job used to take about 10 minutes a side with no holes punched in the tailboom!!!!!!!!!!

About 8 years later I was working on 365C's which had a similar system for the stabs and yes they were wacking them out with a sledge and a picketting spike. Whatever happened to preventative maintenance.
I was on the 76 Kesh tour with 658. Sure by then I had done a course, me and the AQMS Tom Thorburn. Still Gaz was relatively new to 658 and still not a lot of practical expireance. Of course no one ever read the book.
Before we got our Gaz we recieved some of the stores, including a new Fuel filter. Visiting cab comes in over lunch break and pilot says fuel filter blockage.
Oh we have one of them says our EME, Sgt Will go change. We where only folk there.
Now he was laughing for he had heared the tale that when you did it this you copped for a neck full of Fuel.
Yeah where the F's it located. Pilot grinning shows me where and so in I go with a pile of rags wrapped around my neck & shoulders. Undo, drop bowl and remove filter, repace filter as it came out and refit lock up with safety pin.
Pilot and OC are pissing themselves. Cab runs up and leaves.
Later OC gets call from irate AQ from whatever sqn. Calls me in and says have a chat. I am told I had fitted upside down and get a bollacking. Fair enough but beleive me it went in same as it came out.
Live and learn.
Least they turned up for their see off's! Normally can't be buggered to move from the Tea bar!

With the common phrase "Their paid enough they can do it themselves" echoing across the hanger.
ok but a bit long
I seem to have partial loss of memory in that I remember the first Gazelle to visit Minden (and it seemed enormous after Sioux) and I remember our 658 Siouxs leaving Aldergrove as the last to fly in NI. However, I am buggered if I can remember the Gazelles being delivered or having any training on them. Bit worrying really as I was a bowser mong at the time. I assume somebody said "earf it ere and fil it yer"!

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