Tuesday, April 19, 2016

'P' is for 'P-3C'



After more than 50 years, can still manage to get it up.
I should be so lucky.

    Many people (and, by 'many,' I mean 'none') have expressed an interest in the type of airplane I flew when I was in the Navy. 

    Actually, the aircraft which I flew in, to be more precise.  You
"Yeah, and ya didn't get
'Happy Easter' either, didja?
Because up yours."
have no idea
how many times I'm asked by the guy at Starbucks whether I was a pilot.  I promise to tell him all about if he would just wish me 'Merry Christmas.'  Yeah, I'm still waiting.

    Anyway, I was a qualified aircrewman in the Navy P-3C Orion, a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.

    Originally designed as a land-based (meaning, it did not and
And peeking in sorority house windows.
cannot land on an aircraft carrier), long range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft, the P-3C's mission evolved in the 21st Century to include surveillance of the battlespace, either at-sea or overland (NOTE:  They don't look for submarines overland
).  

    Incidentally, a submarine on land would not be a very useful submarine.  But, you could at least install screen doors.
"But, a sub on land can also be a tasty, healthy treat.
Now with pedophilia!"

    Its biggest advantage for tactical warfare planners (aka "Thinkers
Few people realize that, before she became First Lady,
Michelle Obama oversaw the
"Box Lunch Weapons Program" for the Pentagon.
of Great Thoughts") is the multitude of weapons it can carry, from torpedoes to missiles to box lunches.  It also has admirable endurance and stay up for over 13 hours, if need be  (NOTE:  feel free to insert your own double entendre here.  I'm too tired
).


As another submarine goes gliding by....
Hey, I never said I was good.
Besides, I needed to have my picture taken.
And do something about that hair.
    My job on the P-3 was one of two Acoustic Sensor Operators. This meant it was up to me to detect (usually Soviet) submarines, track them as they ignored us, and then hand over said contact to the next P-3 which came barging in the neighborhood.  This usually gave us time to get back to the base while the bars were still open.  Or drink beer in our room since we wouldn't land until 4 AM.  (NOTE:  Another advantage to being land-based.  American warships don't allow alcohol).


"I gotta make coffee again??
What the eff's THAT all about?"
    Once we started going away from submarine warfare to overland missions because nobody was buying submarines anymore and the Russians were our friends (I think I got my tongue stuck in my cheek), I was responsible for other mission-critical duties.

    In consideration of the Orion's advanced age and fears that its wings may eventually snap off (this, I would think, would be of concern), it is being replaced by the P-8 Poseidon, a two-engine jet aircraft, based on the 737.

    It looks snazzy and no doubt can do quite a few things, maybe even better, than the venerable old P-3.  Apparently, it can even end up being refueled inflight, unlike my old bird.  So, instead of about a 12 hour flight, P-8 crews can be extended several more hours longer onstation.

    Which makes me think...I hope they did something about what I considered one of the P-3's disadvantages.  We didn't have a flushing toilet and needed to pee in a can (which we affectionately called "R2-D2").
Which we somehow convinced one of our pilots
was necessary to check out magnetic detection systems.
We emptied it, though.
We weren't assholes, after all.
    If not, those will be some long flights.


"WHADDYA YOU MEAN, I GOTTA HOLD IT?????"

23 comments:

  1. I just love all these war planes with letter-number names. I've heard about the F's, the B's, the A's and even the U's, but I never knew there were P's too! It's like discovering a whole new species of vulture! Does P stand for Pincher?

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    1. There's even a C and E.
      Oh, 'P' stands for 'Patrol.'

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  2. Piss in a can? Might not be heavy drinking on those flights anymore.

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    1. Truly nasty. No wonder the most junior person on the crew had to empty it.

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  3. Blah. Well I suppose if there was a flusher the descending "waste" may alert the subs as you returned water to the ocean.

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    1. It would hit the submarine on the poop deck probably.

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  4. I guess you quickly learn to check for sharp edges when you pee in a can.

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  5. good job all around. I'm not even going to joke - you took care of serious business (and did have access to alcohol)

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    1. And I never dumped that can on me. Although, I came close one time on a frozen ramp in Iceland...

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  6. Hubba hubba. Who's that hottie? No, not Michelle, the frat boy with the big, big...ear phones?

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    1. The guy who's having severe cramps because he didn't poop before takeoff?

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  7. You'd think with a "P" name, it would have a decent place to pee!

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    Replies
    1. The can was okay, actually. For the guys.
      Started putting women crew members onboard in the 90s. Not so convenient for them, I imagine.

      Delete
  8. 13 hours eh?? How much Viagra did you give it(nyuck, nyuck)? So pee in a can..ok but what if you had to do #2? was that can called CP30 and who had to dump that one?

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    1. Funny you ask. The plane DID have a bathroom (called the "head"). In it was the pee can and a toilet seat which sat over the "honey bucket." NOBODY used it, though, because like I said, no flushing. For those rare occasions when you had to use it, the stench went all over the inside of the aircraft. The unfortunate "pooper" then had to buy a case of beer for the crew. BTW, those 12-13 hour "burners" were murder!

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    2. Oh, and no matter how senior, if you crapped in the can, you dumped it.

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  9. Honeyman loves military aircraft stuff. I will see if he has heard of this one. Did you have a cool nickname like Maverick, Iceman, or Goose?

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    Replies
    1. No...haha...my "positional" designation was just "Sensor One."
      In a later command (another story for another day), I DID have a radio callsign: "Flamingo 1"

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  10. I so like old planes, wouldn't want to fly in one but I do like to look at them

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    Replies
    1. I've crawled around the P-3's predecessor and thought, "Man, that's old." Probably how people view me now!

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  11. I'm impressed with your duties as an Acoustic Sensor Operator. I'm also impressed that you did your doody in a can. You were under a lot of pressure at both ends.

    Julie

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    Replies
    1. We also carried a zip loc in our flight suit,
      In case air turbulence got a little rough.
      If you know what I mean.

      Delete