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History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk => Organizations and Equipment => Topic started by: besilarius on August 11, 2019, 08:20:36 AM

Title: Navy goes back to physical controls from touch screens
Post by: besilarius on August 11, 2019, 08:20:36 AM

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Title: Re: Navy goes back to physical controls from touch screens
Post by: besilarius on August 11, 2019, 09:20:59 AM
Thinking on this brought back a memory

However, there are always exceptions to the rule.  When Desron Twelve transited from the East Coast to the Med in August, 1972, we went across with an oiler.
On one refueling event, Manley was pulling away from the oiler and after getting about half a mile away, the refueling detail was secured and the normal watch was set up.
We had been on the port side and after pulling away, the conning officer took the ship to it's assigned screen station.  To get there, the helmsman put on a couple of degrees of right rudder.
Then, just like a movie, the ship lost electrical power.
All the lights went out, the radars, the comm gear.

On the bridge everyone was stunned as the helmsman tried to change his course correction.  The physical link showed that the rudder made no change as he turned the wheel.  With the rudder set in that way, the ship was on a slow motion, gradual turn into the oiler's course.
The oiler had a destroyer on the starboard side, and a new one was hooking up lines on the port, where we had just left.  They couldn't avoid us.
We still had steam, so we banged out six short blasts on the horn, the international signal of emergency maneuvering.  The signalmen hoisted the "Out of control" signal flag, and using a battery powered signal light informed the other ships.
After steering was told to set up the manual steering gear.  This was a difficult process.  Using a hand crank, it took something like 32 turns to adjust the massive rudder by one degree.  It took a really brawny guy to get the rudder to move.
Down in the engineering spaces, things were really spastic.  The battle lanterns automatically kicked on.  The Electrician Mates couldn't see any kind of electrical break or fault.  All they could think of was to open the generator casing and see if something had gone wrong.
Now, the engineering control room was in the forward engine room.  It had an electrical board that the watch used to monitor the output of the electrical generator, and the demand on available electricity.  The after engine room had a backup system just like the main one.
No one could figure out what was going wrong.  The elctrical power was being generated in copious amount, but it was going nowhere.  For some reason, the power wasn't leaving the engine room.  The electricians were utterly dumbfounded and were tracing power lines to look for something, anything.
And ever so slowly, Manley was moving into the path of the oiler and refueling destroyers.  The destroyers were preparing for emergency break aways, which are always a bit dicey.  Too sharp a turn on the rudder, and the wake of the oiler could pull the destroyer's stern in, and cause a collision.
The captain, who was not a good shiphandler, looked at the conning officer, Rob Crawshaw.  Rob just said, "We ate the green weanie."  They were getting ready to put out on the 1MC general announcing system, to prepare for collision.
Then, suddenly with no warning, the power came on!
The helmsman, Seaman Brush I think, twirled the wheel and screamed, "Rudder has control, sir."
After getting on station, we all wondered what had happened.
Later on the midwatch, the OOD was Elmer McDowell.  He was a no nonsense mustang who was Chief Engineer.
What had happned was that when the Refueling Detail was relieved, the electrican on the main board, took off his sound powered phone gear and hung it on a hook.  In his hurry, it slipped off the hook, and fell to the deck.  On it's way down, it snagged a toggle switch.
Flipping the switch, it routed all the electrical power from the Main control board, to the Secondary control board in the after engine room.
And, since the Secondary control was on standby, the barrel switch for electrical output was at zero.  All the electricity went to the after board, and stopped right there.

There is very little in life that is sailor proof.
Oh, and Rob Crawshaw had no recollection of making that comment.