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About this blog

Odd, disjointed and occasionally amusing ramblings of an 40+ Shaved Great Ape.

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How To Operate a Helicopter Mechanic


  A long, long time ago, back in the days of iron men and wooden rotor blades, a ritual began. It takes place when a helicopter pilot approaches a mechanic to report some difficulty with his aircraft.  All mechanics seem to be aware of it, which leads to the conclusion that it's included somewhere in their training, and most are diligent in practicing it.

  New pilots are largely ignorant of the ritual because it's neither included in their training, nor handed down to them by older drivers.  Older drivers feel that the pain of learning everything the hard way was so exquisite, that they shouldn't deny anyone the pleasure.

  There are pilots who refuse to recognize it as a serious professional amenity, no matter how many times they perform it, and are driven to distraction by it. Some take it personally.   They get red in the face, fume and boil, and do foolish dances.   Some try to take it as a joke, but it's always dead serious.   Most pilots find they can't change it, and so accept it and try to practice it with some grace.

  The ritual is accomplished before any work is actually done on the aircraft.   It has four parts, and goes something like this:

1. The pilot reports the problem. The mechanic says, There's nothing wrong with it."

2. The pilot repeats the complaint. The mechanic replies, "It's the gauge."

3. The pilot persists, plaintively. The mechanic Maintains, "They're all like that."

4. The pilot, heatedly now, explains the problem carefully, enunciating carefully. The mechanic states, "I can't fix it."

  After the ritual has been played through in it's entirety, serious discussion begins, and the problem is usually solved forthwith.

  Like most rituals, this one has it's roots in antiquity and a basis in experience and common sense.  It started back when mechanics first learned to operate pilots, and still serves a number of purposes.  It's most important function is that it is a good basic diagnostic technique.  Causing the pilot to explain the symptoms of the problem several times in increasing detail not only saves troubleshooting time, but gives the mechanic insight into the pilot's knowledge of how the machine works, and his state of mind.


  Every mechanic knows that if the if the last flight was performed at night or in bad weather, some of the problems reported are imagined, some exaggerated, and some are real.  Likewise, a personal problem, especially romantic or financial, but including simple fatigue, affects a pilot's perception of every little rattle and thump.  There are also chronic whiners complainers to be weeded out and dealt with.  While performing the ritual, an unscrupulous mechanic can find out if the pilot can be easily intimidated.  If the driver has an obvious personality disorder like prejudices, pet peeves, tender spots, or other manias, they will stick out like handles, with which he can be steered around.

  There is a proper way to operate a mechanic as well.  Don't confuse "operating" a mechanic with "putting one in his place."  The worst and most often repeated mistake is to try to establish an "I'm the pilot and you're just the mechanic" hierarchy.  Although a lot of mechanics can and do fly recreationally, they give a damn about doing it for a living.  Their satisfaction comes from working on complex and expensive machinery.  As a pilot, you are neither feared nor envied, but merely tolerated, for until they actually train monkeys to fly those things, he needs a pilot to put the parts in motion so he can tell if everything is working properly.  The driver who tries to put a mech in his "place" is headed for a fall.  Sooner or later, he'll try to crank with the blade tied down.  After he has snatched the tailboom around to the cabin door and completely burnt out the engine, he'll see the mech there sporting a funny little smirk.  Helicopter mechanics are indifferent to attempts at discipline or regimentation other than the discipline of their craft.  It's accepted that a good mechanic's personality should contain unpredictable mixtures of irascibility and nonchalance, and should exhibit at least some bizarre behavior.

  The basic operation of a mechanic involves four steps:

1.  Clean an aircraft.  Get out a hose or bucket, a broom, and some rags, and at some strange time of day, like early morning, or when you would normally take your afternoon nap) start cleaning that bird from top to bottom, inside and out. This is guaranteed to knock even the sourest old wrench off balance.  He'll be suspicious, but he'll be attracted to this strange behavior like a passing motorist to a roadside accident.  He may even join in to make sure you don't break anything.  Before you know it , you'll be talking to each other about the aircraft while you're getting a more intimate knowledge of it.  Maybe while you're mucking out the pilot's station, you'll see how rude it is to leave coffee cups, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, and other trash behind to be cleaned up.

2.  Do a thorough pre-flight.  Most mechanics are willing to admit to themselves that they might make a mistake, and since a lot of his work must be done at night or in a hurry, a good one likes to have his work checked.  Of course he'd rather have another mech do the checking, but a driver is better than nothing. Although they cultivate a deadpan, don't-give-a-damn attitude, mechanics have nightmares about forgetting to torque a nut or leaving tools in inlets and drive shaft tunnels.  A mech will let little gigs slide on a machine that is never pre-flighted, not because they won't be noticed, but because he figures the driver will overlook something big someday, and the whole thing will end up in a smoking pile of rubble anyway.

3.  Don't abuse the machinery.  Mechanics see drivers come and go, so you won't impress one in a thousand with what you can make the aircraft do.  They all know she'll lift more than max gross, and will do a hammerhead with half roll. While the driver is confident that the blades and engine and massive frame members will take it, the mech knows that it's the seals and bearings and rivets deep in the guts of the machine that fail from abuse.  In a driver mechanics aren't looking for fancy expensive clothes, flashy girlfriends, tricky maneuvers, and lots of juicy stories about Viet Nam.  They're looking for one who'll fly the thing so that all the components make their full service life.  They also know that high maintenance costs are a good excuse to keep salaries low.

4.  Do a post-flight inspection.  Nothing feels more deliciously dashing than to end the day by stepping down from the bird and walking off into the sunset while the blade slowly turns down.  It's the stuff that beer commercials are made of.  The trouble is, it leaves the pilot ignorant of how the aircraft has fared after a hard days work, and leaves the wrench doing a slow burn.  The mechanic is an engineer, not a groom, and needs some fresh, first hand information on the aircraft's performance if he is to have it ready to go the next day.  A little end-of-the-day conference also gives you one more chance to get him in the short ribs.  Tell him the thing flew good.  It's been known to make them faint dead away.

  As you can see, operating a helicopter mechanic is simple, but it is not easy. What it boils down to is that if a pilot performs his pilot rituals religiously in no time at all he will find the mechanic operating smoothly.  (I have not attempted to explain how to make friends with a mechanic, for that is not known.) Helicopter pilots and mechanics have a strange relationship.  It's a symbiotic partnership because one's job depends on the other, but it's an adversary situation too, since one's job is to provide the helicopter with loving care, and the other's is to provide wear and tear.  Pilots will probably always regard mechanics as lazy, lecherous, intemperate swine who couldn't make it through flight school, and mechanics will always be convinced that pilots are petulant children with pathological ego problems, a big watch, and a little whatchamacallit.  Both points of view are viciously slanderous, of course, and only partly true.

by William C. Dykes
Jolly Green



Engineer In Hell

engineer-in-hell-300x157.png.6880f39c124An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, “Ah, you’re an engineer — you’re in the wrong place.”

So, the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After awhile, they’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day, God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, “So, how’s it going down there in hell?”

Satan replies, “Hey, things are going great. We’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there’s no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next.”

God replies, “What??? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake — he should never have gotten down there; send him up here.”

Satan says, “No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I’m keeping him.”

God says, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”

Satan laughs uproariously and answers, “Yeah, right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?”


Hotas.jpg.bb98dac7ca72e31c25685271d3b4d0So a while back, 2003 to be precise, I bought a Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar.  At the time it was something like £250.00.  Not a small sum of money and let’s face it a huge extravagance but I wanted it.

In 2014 I replaced it.  ELEVEN years!  Eleven out of a joystick.  It worked really well with virtually daily use and little maintenance.  So when the Warthog HOTAS came out I was itching to buy it but couldn’t really justify it.

I talked myself into buying it eventually. 

So I got the Warthog and it immediately replaced the Cougar.  But the lack of resistance/back pressure messed with me for a while until I got used the difference.  The Cougar has huge chunky springs.  The Warthog doesn’t have quite the same resistance.  It’s hard to describe but if you have tried it before, you’ll probably be nodding right now.

_DSC6010.JPG.d0bb993da134b039a2217c34ad9So after a year of flying, testing, messing and crashing Helicopters, Planes and the occasional spaceship I find myself asking how can I improve it?

Well step one is a HOTAS Extension.

This may sound a bit odd bit it makes a world of difference!  By extending the length of the Joystick shaft it mean you get much more precise control over the aircraft.  Now the Warthog doesn’t have mechanical potentiometers.  It uses Hall Sensors so is actually incredibly accurate.  The problem is the short length of the stock stick means you can’t really take advantage of that accuracy.  So the solution is to increase the length of the control stick...

Longer joystick throw comes with several benefits which among others include:
  • Increased precision during manoeuvres, in particular, fine adjustments (when flying in formation or during aerial refuelling)
  • Eliminates the need for joystick’s curvature in settings
  • Lessens the effect of “snapping to center position” when moving the stick through/or close to/ central detent. 
  • Smaller stick’s centering force
  • Extension allows installing the joystick in off-center (twisted) position. It is useful feature when joystick is placed between legs. It allows the user to rest hand more naturally on the joystick and decrease tension in wrist.

LINK: BEST Value for money extenstion I've found by far - For ONLY £40


Installation Movie:
Just for the record:
  1. I am NOT affiliated with the Seller.
  2. I get no kick backs
  3. I paid full price for my extension
  4. I'm posting because this is the best value, hightest quality all steel extension I've found for the cheapest price and wanted to spread the word.

Positive reception and feedback. 

2376584-a.jpg.c432b4735923edba5a46396644Hindsight is a wonderful thing...

I bought a new triple monitor stand. It's a great well made device. Good price too...

...the only downside is that to install it I've had to completely rip my home office apart...

I so wish I hadn't started this on a school night...




So it took me:

  • 2 hours to clear the office.
  • 30 mins to Vac and clean up.
  • 2 hours to re-cable.
  • 1.5 hours to re-fit peripherals.
  • 30 mins to realise i'd forgotten to plug the network cables.
  • 45 mins to plug & cable my chair back in.


 And a further 2 hours to tidy everything else up.


9 hours and 15 minutes to swap out a monitor stand...

...yes in hindsight there is NO FECKING way i would do this on a Wednesday night again.



chemical_symbol.png.cf6205280ed5a3cc3cda     I appear to have inadvertently created the perfect chemical weapon...

...I freely admit it was stupid.
...I was not really thinking when I did it.
...I just wanted to get rid of some mold off the grout.
...I took the dregs of 4 cleaning products and put them in the same spay container...

...EVERY window in the flat is open.
...My front door is open.
...I have a desk fan sucking air out of the bathroom.
...My face has melted.
...My breathing is reminiscent of Darth Vader with a severe chest infection.
...I'm pretty sure I just committed genocide against every creepy crawly in my house. (I hope Karma isnt real or im screwed)
I may have discovered a way to fuse Ceramics, plastics, metal and organic tissue into one super material.

On the upside:
I definitely don't have mold anywhere in the bathroom.


This has been doing the rounds for a little while now.  Its funny, very true and with the exception "pissing my pants and drowning my phone" I've done all of them...or had them done to me.


CIVILIAN FRIENDS - Disown you for running around their house naked in front of a bunch of people none of you have ever met before
MILITARY FRIENDS - Take photos and then join you
CIVILIAN FRIENDS- Think its disgusting that you got so drunk you pissed your pants and drowned the phone in your pocket - in their bed
MILITARY FRIENDS-Upon hearing what happened say "That's fucked - that's why I don't sleep with my mobile in my pocket anymore" and help you turn their mattress over
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you are too busy to talk to them for a week
MILITARY FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after many years; and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having last time you met.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Never ask for food
MILITARY FRIENDS: Are the reason you have no food
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr and Mrs
MILITARY FRIENDS: Call your parents Mum and Dad
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Bail you out of jail and then tell you what you did was wrong
MILITARY FRIENDS: Would be sitting next to you saying, 'Mate...we fucked up but what a giggle?
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you
MILITARY FRIENDS: Could write a book with a shed full of direct quotes from you
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that is what the crowd is doing
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will kick the backsides of whole crowds that left you behind
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Would knock on your door
MILITARY FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, 'I'm home, got any beer!
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Share a few experiences.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Share a lifetime of experiences no civilian could ever dream of.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, "You had better drink the rest of that, don't waste it." Then they carry you home and put you safely to bed.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will talk crap to the person who talks crap about you.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will knock the crap out of people who use your name in vain
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know where you buried the body
MILITARY FRIENDS: Helped you bury the body
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will call you 'mate' as a term of endearment
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will call you a 'wanker ' c*‪#‎t‬ or 'tosser' as a term of endearment
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will forward this to their military mates


OK so before i mentioned i might want a Darth Vader Toaster for my birthday... Ive changed my mind...

Can i have one of these instead please?



This luxury all-wheel motorhome captivates by its clear-cut lines, optimum functionality for long stays in off-road terrain and exclusive, homely atmosphere – all this in a motorhome for globe cruises.

Even the driver’s cabin has undergone a facelift. The result: sheer driving pleasure.

Hi-Tech in interior furnishing combined with convenience and exclusive materials in this 6x6 motorhome, and in addition to that, an extraordinary layout that provides separate areas for lounging and sleeping.


C'mon guys if you all pull together you can do it! :)


Thought for the day:


I just bought a 4 slot toaster last week. But I have questions:

                 Why is the toaster designed NOT to take a normal slice of bread completely?

There is an inch sticking out?


To evenly cover the bread you have to swap it around, then you end up with a burnt middle.

I means to say, is it just me buying over size bread?

Or have I a bought a toaster for mini bread?


Carol Jean Coverdale

You've not been around for a while...!?

In October last year my job got a lot more complicated for various reasons and at the same time my Mother’s health began to deteriorate drastically.  My available time to mod just vanished.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts my Mum has lived with the diagnosis of “terminal Cancer” hanging over her.

Twenty Five years ago she was diagnosed with terminal Breast Cancer and given just weeks to live.  She beat that prognosis by a period that amazed all of us. 

Nearly seven years ago now, while one holiday in France, she lifted an arm over her head and ended up screaming in pain.  After a scan the Military Hospital in Poitiers diagnosed her with Bone Cancer and its spread was extensive.  Another prediction of 2-3 months before the end; obviously that didn’t happen.

Stubborn determination does run in our family if you are wondering.

She became very ill in October last year and began to decline.  The family took the decision to move her into Bolton Hospice to ensure that she had the best possible care in the last days.  I spent most of November travelling the 80miles back and forth between my home and the hospice 2-3 times a week.

December 9th at 0650 my mother passed away.

You can imagine how we all felt.

My mother always encouraged me to be creative as a child.  It’s due to her in no small part that I make addons.  If you’d like to say thank you for that you can make a donation to Bolton Hospice in her Memory.

Carol Jean Coverdale 1948 - 2014

Donate to Bolton Hospice

Please consider supporting one of these charities. They really do make a difference to the lives of those living with Cancer. And one day the programmes they fund my just help save your life or the life of someone you love:

Donate to Macmillan   Donate to Cancer Research


Rock - January 30th 2015



Eater of SocksOK so I've just come to unpack and I am missing two socks.  They aren't even the same pair but one from a casual grey pair and rather expensive Sealskinz waterproof pair.  What is weird is that I hadn't even worn them on this trip.  I've got everything else. I left with fourteen socks, seven pairs. Now I have twelve socks, six pairs and two completely unmatched ones. How?

The Answer : Eater of Socks

A pseudo-mythical creature that lives only to eat socks, and leaves a trail of odd pairs in its wake.

I say "pseudo" because there is evidence to prove it exists but not many can claim to have seen it. Sightings of this elusive creature are rare and unsubstantiated. It's habitat is thought to be somewhere between the sock drawer and the washing machine. Other theories place the sock eater closer to the tumble drier, but this is thought unlikely, as socks can go missing even when left hanging to dry.

My house must be infested with these little buggers. I even bought a "sock bag" to prevent foot wear loss but they still go missing.  Based on the consumption of socks in my household we either have about 10 of the vermin or one honking huge one that could probably eat the dryer in one go.

My mission today - after i've done the other 1001 things I actually need to do today - is to hunt the little fecker down!


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