Random postcards from a National Guard Blackhawk crew chief.
Sunday, May 03, 2015
A Schweitzer 300C prepares to leave after paying a visit to the facility.
Drill this weekend was livened up a bit by a visit from this S300 operated by a local flight school. They were passing near the facility on a photo flight when the pilot noticed an unusual vibration and a reduction in engine performance. This is not the sort of thing you want to be troubleshooting in flight and the pilot wisely decided to make a precautionary landing. Nearby Sky Harbor tower pointed out our facility as the nearest safe place to put down, which he did. The pilot and photographer were then introduced to Army paperwork and spent some time talking with Operations, Security and the Phoenix police while waiting for a company mechanic to come out and look at the problem. (No, they weren't in trouble, it's just that the right process has to be followed.) As it turned out they had a fouled spark plug, a not unknown condition with that type of engine. After fresh plugs were installed and the ship tested, they proceeded on their way back to their home airport. While it was a bit of an administrative hassle for them, at least they didn't land at an Air Force base where security rolls out with loaded machine guns when an unexpected civilian aircraft shows up for whatever reason. We enjoyed the visit, and this being the first time this had happened at the facility Operations developed a standard operating procedure to use should it happen again. Good job on the pilot who made the correct decision for the situation.