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Helicopter Crew Chief Duties?

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  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Seattle
Helicopter Crew Chief Duties?
Posted by Papa-Echo-64 on Sunday, April 5, 2020 9:04 PM

Boy its been a while since I have posted anything here Big Smile

I have just started my 1/48 Academy CH-46E and I have a question tho not about the kit but one of the main duties of the Crew Chief and I can not seem to be able to get any answers off the net.  

Watching videos of these two birds recently and I am curious about one particular function of the Crew Chiefs.  On start up I see them standing outside the birds with what seems to be a wire cable this is a guess but I think it may be an emergancy shut down button....that makes sense to me and I assume its part of the Chief being the eyes and ears to the flight crew as to what that can not see or hear from their stations. 

Am I close? 

Happy Modeling!

Straighten up and fly right.....
  • Member since
    October 2005
Posted by CG Bob on Sunday, April 5, 2020 9:23 PM

That's the cable for the crew intercom system. 

When I was in the USCG the last two cutters I served on had flight decks.  During startup, one of the cutter crew stood by with a fire extinguisher.  The helo's flight mechanic would stand near the fire watch, with the intercom cable in his hand.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Seattle
Posted by Papa-Echo-64 on Sunday, April 5, 2020 9:56 PM

OK ....That makes sense! Thank you Big Smile


Straighten up and fly right.....
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Sunday, April 5, 2020 11:38 PM

I can't remember about the CH-47 but all the Sikorskys I worked around had droop stops on the blades and they had to be verified to be working properly before and after flight.  The droop stops limit the flapping (up and down) movement of the blades on fully articulated rotor heads.  If they fail on shut down the blades can drop far enough to strike the fuselage, if they don't work right on spin up they can cause severe vibration and limit the rotor's ability to come in to balance. On an articulated head, each blade can move up and down (flap), move forward and back (lead and lag, usually controlled by hydraulic dampers), and of course rotate about their axis to vary pitch.  The flight engineer is also looking for anything elso going wrong during startup.  The cord is of course for an interphone for communication with the pilots.


To see build logs for my models:


  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: The NYC.
Posted by Ish47guy on Monday, April 6, 2020 9:31 AM

So far all the answers have been correct.  In the army, we call it the ICS cord (internal communications system).  here is a press to talk button on the end of it, along with a gator clip so you can clip it to your flight suit, survival vest, harness, whatever is handy.

This is one of my favorite pics that I took while I was a CH-47 crew member.  I'm on the end of the cord coming out of the front door.

The CH-47 does indeed have droop stops on both heads.  I have seen droop stop failures 3 times since 1992, and yes, they do damage the aircraft.

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Monday, April 6, 2020 11:30 AM

Most times when I watched a military aircraft get ready to leave the crew chief wouild be in front with his earphones and mic hooked up to to aircraft.  WHen it was time and all things were checked off the c.c. would unhook, close the door to the connection and then return to the front and direct the aircraft out with hand signals.  Sort of like a cop directing traffic.  

In a big rush like a combat surge or with small aircraft they just used hand signals.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Seattle
Posted by Papa-Echo-64 on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 8:23 PM

Thank you everyone for your help. I can not get started on my 1/48 Sea knight until my photo etch kits arrive ...I ordered the big ed kit for this one.  Happy modeling! 

Straighten up and fly right.....
  • Member since
    August 2020
  • From: Everett, WA USA
Posted by Gunny Dan on Monday, August 24, 2020 6:36 PM
Papa-Echo-64, I was a Marine crewchief on CH-53's for my whole career. The answers are all correct so far. I had my turn flying with my Phrog brethren when I was on a few of my West-Pac deployments. They would come crew with us and we would crew with them as a change of pace. These days, and basically since the gulf war we fly around with two crewman in the back, a crewchief and a first mechanic, 1st Mech as they are called. Most of the time a crewchief in training, but also can be an observer/aerial gunner. From auxiliary power plant (APP) light off, to flight control checks, then main engine start and the release of the rotor-brake the crewchief is outside on his "long cord" (the ICS cord the other folks referred to) assisting the pilots in the turning up of the aircraft. When on land the 1st Mech will man the fire bottle during APP start and main engine start. The crewchief will make sure the flight controls are responding to the pilots inputs, and then as the rotor brake is release as the CH-47 crewman said they will watch the droops and call clear when the rotors are at 100%. He does his final "walk-around" and checks over the helicopter for any leaks etc, then pulls the wheel chocks and winds his cord up and climbs aboard. If appropriate and the mission calls for it he may also arm up the Chaff/Flare pods ( ALE-39 PODS) on the sides of the sponsons prior to taxi. Mission dependent, as well as if there is a specific arm/de-arm area set up to are the systems prior to take off. Maybe more than you wanted, but, like I said I crewed my whole career, 23 years active, and 10 years as a DoD contractor so its home back there in the "rear with the gear". Gunny Dan

GySgt Daniel Hammer


1/48th scale WWII-present modeler



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