When tasked to find where smoke in the cockpit had originated, I first got the SHAR onto a tie down spot, and duly tethered securely to the deck. Didn’t particularly want to go flying!
Completed my inspection of the exterior of the A/C, ensuring all blanks, pins etc were duly removed, except for the U/C ground locks.
Climbed in, plane captain removed the ladder , and off I went, started the engine and idled for a while waiting for the smoke. No smoke? OK lets try more power, exercise the nozzles, taking care not to “smoke the tailplane”. While at a high power setting, I got a frantic waving from the plane captain to shut down the A/C, which immediately complied with.
I was then informed by him that the nosewheel declutching pin had gone down the intake. Sure enough the engine was “fodded”
Now I know that pin was not in it’s location in the nosewheel. It had happened before, and we were all wary of it happening again.
I was under a cloud, who would believe me when I said ,it wasn’t in the nose gear. Ship heading to a potential war zone, only two spare SHAR engines aboard, Chief Tobin not popular! Boss says, get down the forward hangar, change the engine. After we got it out, boss shows up and starts looking into the internals of the engine and pulls out a piece of material which must have come from whatever had gone through the engine.
He somehow managed to convince the “powers that be” that none of our pins had the type of material, it must have come from one of the helo’s parked up forward. I have a reprieve. While ashore at Stanley as SMR of two SHARS from the ship doing standby duty for the RAF Gr’3s. I am in the bar, having a few. The young lad who was the plane captain that fateful day said he had something to tell me.
It was the nosewheel steer pin that fodded that engine, I had removed it and rolled it up in the nosegear ground lock flag and tucked it inside the nosewheel bay, and not put it into the ground equipment box as I should. So that’s where it came from!!! What was said after that I will leave to your imagination. Never did get any smoke!!!