ATLANTIC CANADA AVIATION MUSEUM

Operational Flight Trainer (OFT)
Restoration Project
(Special thanks to Ken Brown for the updates and photos)


OFT arrives at the ACAM  OFT & TCPT together at the ACAM  OFT stripped to the metal

OFT-4.jpg (67882 bytes)  Cockpit centre  OFT Flight Engineer's panel
Click on photo for larger image

 

7 OCTOBER UPDATE

The Argus sim restoration team headed by crew chief Ken Brown, have been a busy group. These guys have been doing a lot of work that the Webmaster did not realize was being done and I overlooked reporting it. To Ken and his crew, I apologize for not acknowledging your work sooner. The Argus flight engineer chair has been reinstalled, missing instruments have had a cover manufactured and painted black with white lettering labelling what instrument is missing. As many instruments had been removed by individuals while the Argus was stored prior to it's arrival at ACAM. The yokes have been repainted and the observers chair has been cleaned up and wiggled (the hard way through the tunnel) down into the nose. Lastly, Ken and Bruce Paul repainted the antiglare panel on the nose of the sim on Sat. This has made a major improvement in the exterior look of the sim.

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21 OCTOBER UPDATE

Painting on the Argus sim continued this week as well. Ken Brown and Bruce Paul painted the black on the lightening bolt on the side of it. Next week, they hope to finish the red, completing the tri-colored flash.

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28 OCTOBER UPDATE

The Argus crew had a great day. They completed painting the stripes on the side of the simulator. With the exception of a little touch up the job looks excellent. It really sets the simulator off with a sharp look. Congratulations to crew chief Ken Brown and Bruce Paul for the fantastic job.

28oct6 OFT1.jpg (67759 bytes)  28oct6 OFT2.jpg (38328 bytes)

 

Flying the Simulator
by
Geoff Bennett

In 1981 several founding member of the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum (ACAM) purchased the CFB Greenwood Argus Simulator from Crown Assets. It was initially stored at Shearwater until moved to our present location in 1986. For years it was in the parking lot serving mainly as a storage containment. Last year a decision to restore the "front end", comprising the pilots and engineers stations, as a cockpit display. The "back end" has been made available to our good friends at the Greenwood Museum where the anti-submarine and navigational sections will be restored and displayed . It will be an effective complement to their preserved Argus and represent one of the major continuing functions of the Base. The Argus was, of course, a long range reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft that operated for many years from Bases at Greenwood, NS and Summerside PEI. Developed from the Bristol Britannia airliner it was built by Canadair in Montreal. With a wingspan of 142 ft 3.5 in, powered by four 3,700 HP Wright Cyclone R3350 Turbo Compound engines, and with a maximum weight of over 72 tons it was a very large aircraft representing much of the final development of the conventional piston engine era. It had a range of over 4,000 miles. A fully restored cockpit section will allow visitors to view the complex and impressive pilot and flight engineer stations of the historic aircraft. The displayed R3350 engine, and Argus propeller, will complement the overall display. As a result of many hours of dedicated work much has been accomplished by our members on this challenging project. The exterior paint has been completely removed and the surface polished. The interior has been completely cleaned and many components removed, restored and replaced. Many hours have been put into the restoration of the cockpit and engineer panel instrumentation and controls in the most infinite detail. A perspex nose cone has been installed giving the simulator really complete appearance. A search is now underway to locate interior fittings to complete the nose compartment. The following article was prepared by Mr. Geoff Bennett, former Argus pilot and later simulator, which is reproduced as follows: When Ken Brown asked me to write on my recollections about the Argus Cockpit Procedures trainer I thought it would be easy. But the more I thought about it the harder it was to organize a useful essay. The old Argus "front end" trainer used to sit in 6 Hanger at Greenwood just ahead of the "back end", a much larger mock-up of the tactical compartment of the real Argus. The two ends in theory being electrically unified but in practice the need for this was almost non-existent, so in my experience the "front end" and "back end" were two different worlds. The "back end" was navigator country, but my end was the empire of pilots and flight engineers. Of course the whole affair was really the empire of the simulator technicians who knew how it all worked. When some gizmo stuck or wouldn't respond , a tech would dart into a room full of humming lockers and do some magic trick, where upon it all started working again. Occasionally things would go royally wrong and the trainer would be u/s for a day or two. My experience with the beast was first as a trainee. I spent many hours in it learning the basics of the cockpit procedures before getting near a real Argus in the old, long extinct Argus Conversion Unit. Flight Officer Ken Allen, later Colonel Ken Allen, Base Commander, was my instructor on "the box" back in early 1967. He had a somewhat sadistic sense of humor and sometimes got the whole affair into perspective with practical jokes. I remember sweating through an exercise called, with classic understatement, Complex Engine Problems at Lajes. It simulated an arrival at the Azoreran Airport with one's little world gradually turning to worms. I was inexperienced and was at the edge of my skill and knowledge envelope; down to one outboard engine with the other three dead and dying, fire in various systems and other assorted calamities. As I struggled to keep the whole sorry mess airborne on short finals in the dark, my sliding window beside me in the cockpit slid back and Ken's grinning face inquired "How's it going in there Geoff ?" I guess you had to be there. Besides the actual cockpit accommodated a pilot, copilot, 1st Flight Engineer and 2nd Flight engineer there was also a "panel" outside. This was where the instructor pilot engineer monitor the performers in "the box" and created all the problems for them. Later in my Argus career I was in 449 Squadron, in effect the OTU, and for some months I instructed the simulator. The job has two aims . The instructing of Argus students coming through the MOAT (Maritime Operating Air Training) course as well as providing periodic simulator refresher/check rides on crews from the operational squadrons from Greenwood, Summerside and Comox. In all my time as the sadistic successor to a long line of fellow sadists, I had only one qualified crew captain stomp out throwing his headphones away and casting aspersions on my parentage. I guess he had been humbled, and such humbling was unfamiliar to him. I take some satisfaction from having initialed an improved procedure for dealing with engine fires on take off in Argus. This was a result of being on "the panel" and watching many crews proficiency checks getting into trouble unnecessarily. From such a vantage point, observing one's peers in action one can spot simpler ways to do things sometimes. For most of it's life in the box was firmly anchored to terra firma but near it's death it was equipped with a motion. This piece of complex electrical and hydraulic wizardry was secondhand. It had served for years at Trenton, Ontario to jolt and rotate the Yukon simulator. It was installed in 6 hangar at Greenwood at huge expense and worked quite well but after the novelty wore off it fell into almost permanent disuse, it's care and feed was too expensive in manpower and it's operational benefits were a bit marginal. It posed tricky safety catches, and the drawbridge to get in and out of it, and the big teaser; if the hanger catches fire and the power fails how do you get the occupants out of a cockpit slumped at an extreme attitude in the dark? I guess there just wasn't enough of the right stuff around. Despite all this the simulator was worthwhile. Trainees and qualified crews could either experimentally or incompletely screw up royally, and you create no injury or damage. Most of us left from our trainer sessions humbled but wiser."