The “Helo-Pad” landing area for the Helicopters was a small area on the back of the Ships. And were only used for Take-offs and Landings when the Ship was Underway , when the Pad could be better controlled on the Oceans , by winds and speed . When the Ship’s were tied up at the Pier were they were based , we had our gear lifted onto the USS . The ship moved with the motion of the ocean , so the helicopters were never flown to or from the ships when they were in port.The ship and pier were filled with trash . that could damage the Jet engines of the aircraft , and also be a flying hazard for sure! When we went to sea for a 9 month deployment , our Helicopter flew out to the ship when it was away from land . The ship changed it’s heading so that it was pointing into the wind , giving the Helicopter added lift. the real adventures for me began when we were at sea in the Pacific . So I’ll have plenty more to say next time
“Deploying” From HSL-35 In California twice for 9 months each time was an Adventure for sure. When we were “Home” we worked out of a small-cage in the hangar , sometimes near our helicopter once in a while , so when we went to sea we were already used to the cramped quarters , sort of! But having the landing pad sway with the ocean was a challenge at first. Some days were smooth , but mother nature didn’t much care when the seas got rough in a storm. I found out early on as a troubleshooter , that sweat is a great conductor of electricity. I won’t explain the theory , but while removing a gage in the cockpit while the rotor blades were engaged , I got shocked a bit and jumped a little , but the pilot’s kept their hand firmly on the controls , so there was no danger , but scared me none the less. Needless to say , I made sure my hands were dry even when the heat was intense. The helicopters always hovered next to the ship as they took off at the same speed as the ship, just to be sure all their systems worked , and could land back on the ship if needed.
More to come..
While assigned as an Aviation Electrician on Helicopters in Ca. , My deployments in the Pacific-Ocean were quite the experience for me , but the Salt-Spray is very Corrosive , Not just to the Exterior of the Aircraft , but even more damaging to the Electrical Components too. And to make matters even more severe , Rough Seas and Helicopter-Rotorwash are more of a danger. When the Helicopters Hover over the Water , The salt-spray is stirred-up , dispersing the spray to the sensitive components. Especially during take-offs and landings. So we were all trained in crrosion-prevention , We Kept the Helicopter protected with a petroleum-based spray on the surface , and Rinsed it off with fresh water after each flight. But the ship made their own water , so when they couldn’t (The De-Salination Plant , Converted the Salt Water to Fresh-Water , was Down/Broke for Various Reasons Occasionally for Preventive Maintenance) And other Departments of the Ship Had Priority Over Us , The Kitchen for example was very Important. So We Often Did without Water. When that was the case , we made sure we wiped off the salt water from the Aircraft, As The Salty-Sea-Water is rather corrosive , And not to get too scientific , but the salt-water is a Great-Conductor-Of-Electicity. I found out the hard way years later , and will share that mishap in a later blog.