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Chapter IV: Duties of the Crew


1. Duties of the crew during preflight: Before every mission each member of the crew must accomplish certain tasks before the aircraft is ready for flight. The following listed items contain the duties and responsibilities of each member of the crew during preflight of the aircraft.

a. Aircraft Commander: The aircraft commander is responsible for everything that is accomplished on a preflight inspection. He may help the pilot on the preflight inspection to insure everything is in readiness for the flight. He normally double-checks the rest of the crews duties because he is responsible for the complete aircraft. He further insures that all crew members are briefed on the mission and the tactical situation.

b. Pilot: The pilot is responsible for checking the aircraft log book and complete preflight inspection of the aircraft according to the standards set by TM 55-1520-211-10. He is advised by the crew chief of any discrepancies and reports to the aircraft commander all discrepancies. The pilot is responsible for the final check on the weapons systems after the crew chief and gunner have installed them. This check includes the following:

(1) Ammunition free in the trays and chutes.
(2) Rounds chambered in weapons properly.
(3) Weapons gas cylinder plugs safetied.
(4) Ammunition chutes connected properly.
(5) Machine gun hydraulic and electrical connections tight and check for leaks.
(6) Rocket pod wiring not broken.
(7) Intervalometers set in armed position.

c. Crew Chief: The crew chief is responsible to report any discrepancies on the aircraft to the pilot. He will normally follow the pilot through the preflight and assist him. The crew chief is responsible for having the aircraft ready to fly by the take off time to include the following preparations:

(1) Have proper supplies on board for the mission including:
(a) C Rations
(b) Water
(c) Smoke of proper amount and color to mark positions. (Normal load is 6 red, 4 yellow, 4 white)
(2) Drain all fuel lines
(3) Check all systems fluid levels
(4) Wipe windshields free of dust and moisture.
(5) Assist pilot with shoulder harness and lock pilots door prior to take off.




d. Gunner: The gunner is responsible for overall operation of the weapons system. He insures that all weapons are clean and in an operative condition. He installs all weapons and checks to see that all wiring and ammunition chutes are secure. Both the gunner and crew chief have their individual duties to perform in regard to the weapons system. These two crew members work as a team towards installing, loading and checking all the weapons systems. Usually the crew chief who flies on the left side and acts as the left door gunner will check all weapons on the left side. The gunner who flies on the right side will check out the weapons on his side. The gunner is responsible for seeing that the weapons systems are installed and checked out in the following manner:

(I) The M-6OC machine guns are installed in their mounts with the chargers pulled aft.
(2) Safety rods are in the XM-21 guns at all times when not in flight.
(3) Hydraulic and electrical connections are made properly and tightened.
(4) The feed chutes are disconnected at the guns and ammunition is run through to check for short and long rounds and also check the operation of the feed motors. After a satisfactory amount of ammunition has been run through the chutes, they are reinstalled and rechecked for correct installation
(5) A check should then be made to insure a round is chambered after installing the chutes.
(6) The gas plugs on the weapons are checked for tightness and for safety wire.
(7) Feed motor sprockets are checked for proper placement of ammunition in the sprocket.
(8) The rocket pods should be checked at the forward end for loose rockets not secured by the. catch in the pod
(9) The Intervalometers checked and in the armed position.
(10) The rockets are checked to make sure the contacts are touching and rockets are locked in.

2. Duties of the crew during starting: a. Aircraft Commander: The aircraft commander does the actual starting of the aircraft as per the starting procedure outlined in TM 55-1520-211-10.

b. Pilot: The pilot monitors and double-checks all starting procedures for the aircraft commander.

c. Crew Chief: Prior to starting, the crew chief unties the main rotor blade and advises the aircraft commander the aircraft is clear for starting.

d. Joint duties of Crew Chief and Gunner: When starting procedure -begins, both crew chief and gunner maintain a watch for fire and leaks on their respective sides of the aircraft. After the aircraft is running, each man locks in the machine gun barrels and installs the rocket electrical connection on his respective side. The crew chief and gunner then put on their equipment and secure themselves in the aircraft prior to takeoff.



3. Duties of the crew during flight: a. Aircraft Commander: The aircraft commander is responsible for the overall operation of the aircraft and it is his job to fly it and direct his other crew members when necessary.

b. Pilot: The pilot assists the aircraft commander by monitoring the instrument panel and also making radio transmissions when necessary. He is also responsible for control of the M-6OC machine gun operation.

c. Joint duties of Crew Chief and Gunner: Prior to takeoff the crew chief and gunner clear the aircraft on their respective sides by advising the aircraft commander on intercom " clear left" and "clear right". During takeoff both crew chief and gunner aid the pilots in looking for other aircraft and flight hazards. During flight the crew chief and gunner are primary observers until the time when they engage the enemy. The whole crew functions as a team to observe the ground for enemy troops or unusual situations, and spot other aircraft in the area. The crew chief and gunner have more time and a better position to see objects on the ground. They can also cover the pilots' blind spots on the rear and sides of the aircraft. The crew chief and gunner are relied upon to observe and engage the enemy.

4. Duties of the crew after flight: a. Aircraft Commander: After shutting down the aircraft, the aircraft commander normally reports to the fire team leader for debriefing or further instructions.

b. Pilot: The pilot is responsible for filling out the log book and writing up discrepancies on the aircraft. He also gives the aircraft a post flight inspection.

C. Joint Crew Chief and Gunner Duties: Upon completion of a flight the crew chief and gunner will de-arm the rockets, remove the barrels from the machine guns, and open the pilots doors. The crew chief and gunner then begin their duties for post flight. The crew chief will refuel the aircraft. The gunner will be dismantling the machine guns for cleaning and inspection for damaged or broken parts. The crew chief will reload the ammunition trays for the machine guns. While loading the ammunition a check by inspection is made for short or long rounds. While the crew chief pulls the daily inspection and cleans the aircraft, the gunner will clean, reassemble and reinstall the machine guns on the aircraft. The gunner then runs the ammunition through the chutes to check for stoppages. The gunner, upon completion of the daily, will record the amount of ammunition used for that flight and the day and close out the forms. In the event that the aircraft has another mission to perform, the refueling and reloading process is done as quickly as possible. Upon shut down the crew de-arms the weapons systems and opens the pilots doors. In order to expedite the reloading, the pilots will assist the crew in the loading of the rockets. The trays are reloaded by the crew chief and gunner after either the gunner or crew chief has refueled the aircraft. Here again the whole crew must function as a team.



5. Duties of the crew during emergencies: The idea of the crew always functioning as a team carries through from the time of the preflight to the post flight. The most important time for team work is during emergencies.

a. Starting emergency: During starting both crew chief and gunner are checking for leaks in the systems. It is their duty to inform the pilots of any unusual situation. In the case of a fire, they must inform the pilot immediately. While the pilot tries to extinguish the fire by running the starter, the crew chief stands by with the fire extinguisher ready to extinguish any of the start fuel expelled onto the tail boom.

b. Hydraulics emergency: In the case of hydraulics on the gun systems being shot out, it is the crew chiefs or gunners responsibility to disconnect the hydraulic lines going to the gun system. The pilot first turns the guns off and then the hydraulic line to the leaking system is disconnected. After this is done, the guns may be turned off or on according to the amount of hydraulic fluid lost. Remember that the other half of the gun system is usable.

c. Fire in a rocket pod: Normally the crew chief or gunner will be the first to detect a fire in a rocket pod and they must advise the pilot immediately. The crew chief or gunner must lean out and pull the manual jettison ring, to jettison the burning pod. If this fails, the pilot must jettison both pods with the switch on the pedestal.

d. Wounded pilot: In the event one of the pilots is wounded, the crew will have to function as a team in order to administer first aid. If the injured pilot doesn't hinder flight safety, then first aid is given while he is still in his seat. In the event a hazard to flight safety is created by the injured pilot, the crew chief and gunner must remove him from his seat and then administer first aid. If at all possible the seat will be removed from the tracks into the cargo area with the pilot in it to preclude unnecessary movement of the injured man. Newer model seats may be tilted aft by pulling the RED handles on the rear of each seat. Morphine is carried by one of the pilots and the crew chief and gunner should know its location for quick access in case of emergencies requiring morphine.