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  1. Here is the P-3 aft observer seat partially restored and put back on its rails. Through helpful Navy friends I was able to obtain all the parts I need to completely restore the seat. I'd like to replace the back netting, but every former AM and AME I know who has done this has warned me that its a really difficult thing to do. Among the parts I acquired was a new cushion (installed here) and a new back net kit. The new back net would make a big difference but I really need to work up the courage to do the job as I am afraid that once I start on that there's not going to be any turning back. The back net that the seat came with cleaned up OK but there's a small tear that was repaired using olive green thread, which is what the AMs and AMEs always used, that you can see if you look really carefully at this photo. Regarding how I got my hands on this thing. That's a long story. I was an AW (SS3) on P-3Bs and P-3Cs in VP-8 on active duty from 1980 to 1983, was in the reserve with VP-MAU Brunswick from 1983 to 1990, and in the reserve with VP-92 from 1990 to 1999. I have a pilot license, but really miss my time flying on board P-3s as an aircrewman. For many years I've been trying to acquire a P-3 crew seat, in part to help recapture those long-gone days. I went down a lot of dead ends with Lockheed and the Navy, with DOD auctions, etc. In recent months I tried another approach. I reached out to a number of companies that operate P-3s in fire-fighting service. One company had two incomplete crew seat frames available - for $8,500 each! Another company told me that they had one starboard aft observer seat in a P-3A that they were stripping and using as a source of spare parts. They told me that they'd sell me the seat, as-is and where is, for $1,000. I immediately accepted. The seat was located in the parts aircraft in Tucson, AZ. I had to pay the private aircraft boneyard where the aircraft is being stored and stripped $390 for their people to remove the seat and the rails from the aircraft on a minimum hourly labor rate basis. I then engaged a professional shipping company in Tucson. These people were great. They made arrangements to pick the seat up at the boneyard, crated it up, and trucked it to Massachusetts. The crate cost $250 and shipping came to about $700. So, total cost so far is $2,300. One more thing. The seat came out of P-3A BuNo 151357. This aircraft was assigned to the VP-MAU at NAS Brunswick during the 1980s. At that time it was designated LB-4. I actually have time as an observer on that aircraft. So, I sat in this seat back when I was flying in the USNR. Which is really cool...
  2. Yes, I was stunned to discover this, after I had purchased the seat. It came out of P-3A Bureau Number 151357, which was retired in the mid-1990s, sold, and is now sitting in a private aircraft boneyard in Tucson, AZ serving as a source of spare parts for P-3 fire bombers. This aircraft was passed around to various squadrons over the years. During the mid to late 1980s it was assigned to the VP-MAU at Brunswick, ME. This was a reserve squadron augmentation unit that was intended to provide trained replacements for the regular Navy VP squadrons on that base. Each reservist in the VP-MAU had a mobilization billet in one of the regular Navy VP squadrons that they would be assigned to in case of activation. In my case, my mobilization billet was in VP-10. Anyway, this aircraft was designated LB 04 when it was assigned to VP-MAU Brunswick. At that time it had been stripped of all ASW equipment and was used as a so-called "bounce bird" for pilot proficiency training. The "bounce birds" were so-called because they spent most of their time in the landing pattern doing touch-and-goes or "bounces" as we called them. I was in college at that time and used to sign up to serve as an aft observer for as many weekend pilot training flights as I could. These pilot training flights generally had a minimum crew composed of two pilots, a flight engineer, and an aft observer. Once all the preflight work (pulling plugs and covers, fueling, etc) had been completed and you were in the air, there was very little for the aft observer to do on these flights other than watch out for other aircraft entering or leaving the landing pattern. So, these flights provided a good opportunity to get paid to study, which I did. I have many hours in my old Navy logbook sitting in this exact seat as an aft observer.
  3. Here is my P-3 Orion starboard aft observer seat. Through USN contacts I was able to find all the parts I needed to completely restore this seat. Its from an aircraft, LB 04, that I actually logged time in when I was in VP-MAU Brunswick during the 1980s. At some point, when I get the courage to do so, I'd like to completely disassemble the seat and replace the back netting. I have a complete kit to do this, but everybody that I've spoken to who actually has done this told me that its a real "pain in the rump" to do.
  4. I recently acquired this starboard aft observer seat from a Lockheed P-3A Orion. The particular aircraft, Bureau Number 151357, was an aircraft that I flew while it was assigned to VP-MAU Brunswick during the mid-to-late 1980s. At that time this aircraft was designated LB 04. The seat is very special to me since I actually sat in it many time while serving as an observer on pilot training flights while a reservist with this unit. I am in the process of obtaining many parts to replace those that have worn out and have been pretty success ful so far in doing so. What I need, and am hoping somebody here can provide, is the federal standards number for the shade of gray paint used on the lower part of the frame. This is the same shade of gray that was used on all the painted interior parts of P-3s (sensor consoles, equipment racks, equipment bay doors, etc.). Marc
  5. Just acquired this P-3A Orion starboard aft observer's seat. I haven't actually received it yet but it is paid for. It was removed last week from a P-3A in a storage yard in Tucson, Arizona that is being used as a source of spare parts for similar aircraft employed in fire-fighting service. I was just informed today that it has been crated up and will be shipped to me very soon. I expect to receive it within the next week or two. I would like to restore it for personal use as a chair for reading, watching TV, or working on my computer. I spent twenty years as a non-acoustic sensor operator on P-3s and have many hundreds of hours as an aft observer on pilot proficiency training flights, cross countries, etc. Can anybody recommend somebody who's a specialist in restoring aircraft seats? I have a feeling that this thing might need a new cushion and some work done to the back and head rest. I'd also like to have it mounted on some kind of wheeled base. As far as I know, it was removed from the aircraft by cutting the floor around it with a skill-saw so it includes a section of plywood floor holding the two metal rails that the seat slides side-to-side on. Marc
  6. Here are a couple of books that I edited that are composed of various "sea stories" told by members of the reserve patrol squadrons that were based over the years at NAS South Weymouth. These books were put together as a fund-raiser for the VP Association, which is an organization composed of veterans of the Naval Air Reserve patrol squadrons that were based at NAS Squantum, NAS South Weymouth, and NAS Brunswick. All proceeds from the sale of the books goes to the VP Association. You can check them out at http://www.lulu.com/shop/marc-frattasio/vp-association-sea-story-library-volume-one-vp-association-fund-raiser/paperback/product-10277963.html and http://www.lulu.com/shop/marc-frattasio/vp-association-sea-story-library-volume-two-vp-association-fund-raiser/paperback/product-10634146.html . I have been slowly collecting more "sea stories" to put together a third volume, but at the rate I'm going that's still a way off in the future. Support veteran authors and please check out these books. Marc
  7. Here is a book that I wrote about VP-92. This was a Naval Air Reserve patrol squadron that was based at NAS South Weymouth, MA and NAS Brunswick, ME. The squadron was formed at NAS South Weymouth in November 1970 out of several disbanded predecessor reserve units. The squadron operated SP-2H Neptunes until 1975, when it transitioned to the P-3A Orion. In later years the squadron also operated the P-3B and P-3C. In 1996 VP-92 relocated to NAS Brunswick, where it remained until the squadron was disbanded in 2007. Please check this book out if you are interested in military history. It has 303 pages and has hundreds and hundreds of photos. I spent 20 years flying Lockheed P-3 Orions with the regular Navy and the Naval Air Reserve. I've always been interested in aircraft and in military history and putting this book together was a "labor of love". I'd be interested in knowing what readers think about it too. For the record, I served with VP-92 from 1990 to 1999 and I was able to draw upon my many friends and shipmates to make this book possible. You can check it out at http://www.lulu.com/shop/marc-frattasio/the-minutemen-of-vp-92-the-story-of-new-englands-naval-air-reserve-patrol-squadron/paperback/product-2479078.html . Please support veteran authors! Marc
  8. Here is a book that I wrote about NAS South Weymouth, which was located in Weymouth, MA between 1942 and 1997. It started out during WW2 as an ASW blimp base but in later years took over for old NAS Squantum as the home of the Navy and Marine Air Reserve in New England. Please check this book out if you are interested in military history. It has 740 pages (its as big as the old Boston telephone directory) and has hundreds and hundreds of photos. I spent 20 years flying Lockheed P-3 Orions with the regular Navy and the Naval Air Reserve. I've always been interested in aircraft and in military history and putting this book together was a "labor of love". I'd be interested in knowing what readers think about it too. You can check it out at http://www.lulu.com/shop/marc-frattasio/nas-south-weymouth-the-defender-of-freedom/paperback/product-22994107.html . Please support veteran authors! Marc
  9. Here is a book that I wrote about NAS Squantum, which was located in Quincy, MA between 1917 and 1953. This is where the Naval Air Reserve began in 1923, but there is much more to the story of this historic base than that. Please check this book out if you are interested in military history. It has 431 pages and hundreds and hundreds of photos. I spent 20 years flying Lockheed P-3 Orions with the regular Navy and the Naval Air Reserve. I've always been interested in aircraft and in military history and putting this book together was a "labor of love". I'd be interested in knowing what readers think about it too. You can check it out at http://www.lulu.com/shop/marc-frattasio/nas-squantum-the-first-naval-air-reserve-base/paperback/product-21321857.html . Please support veteran authors! Marc
  10. This is the second insignia used by reserve patrol squadron VP-92. It was designed by squadron member Tammy Budlong in 1979 and is associated with the period when the squadron operated P-3 Orions. This same basic design was used from 1979 to 2007, when the squadron was disbanded at NAS Brunswick. This is the first version of the patch. In later years, slightly different (and smaller) variants were used. If you check elsewhere on this forum I put my collection of various VP-92 patch variants up here some time ago. I was in VP-92 myself from 1990 to 1999 and have a pretty comprehensive collection of insignia used by the squadron over the years. I flew P-3 Orions as a sensor operator in the Naval Air Reserve. I've written a couple of books about the Naval Air Reserve that you can check out on line at Lulu Press. Go to the Lulu Press web site and then do a search on keywords "naval air reserve" and you'll see them. Marc
  11. In November 1970 reserve patrol squadron VP-92 was formed at NAS South Weymouth. The squadron was the result of a major reorganization of the Naval Air Reserve that had all existing reserve squadrons disbanded and replaced by new units that more closely conformed to the regular Navy squadron organizational structure, took ownership of their own aircraft, and were composed of both active duty and part time personnel. This is the first of two insignias used by the squadron and is closely associated with the period when they flew SP-2H Neptunes. It was designed by squadron member Lee Bureau. I flew P-3 Orions as a sensor operator in the Naval Air Reserve. I've written a couple of books about the Naval Air Reserve that you can check out on line at Lulu Press. Go to the Lulu Press web site and then do a search on keywords "naval air reserve" and you'll see them. Marc
  12. There were two Patrol Squadron Master Augment Units during the 1980s, one at NAS Brunswick, Maine and the other at NAS Moffat Field, California. The VP MAUs, as they were called, were unusual reserve units. Technically, they weren't Reserve Force Squadrons or RESFORONS, they were Squadron Augment Units or SAUs. Unlike the RESFORON VP squadrons, which would be activated as a complete unit in time of national emergency, the SAU VP MAUs were intended to provide replacements for regular Navy VP squadrons. Each reservist in the VP MAUs was assigned a mobilization billet in a regular Navy patrol squadron either at NAS Brunswick (in the case of the VP MAU at NAS Brunswick) or at NAS Moffat Field (in the case of the VP MAU there). This is the patch used by the VP MAU at NAS Brunswick, which was operational between 1983 and 1991. The insignia was designed by an NFO, LT Terry Brissette. I flew P-3 Orions as a sensor operator in the Naval Air Reserve. I've written a couple of books about the Naval Air Reserve that you can check out on line at Lulu Press. Go to the Lulu Press web site and then do a search on keywords "naval air reserve" and you'll see them. Marc
  13. After Navy Reserve transport squadron VR-62 was transferred from NAS South Weymouth to NAS Brunswick in 1996 it adopted this insignia. The squadron adopted a new motto while at NAS Brunswick, that being "The Nor'Easters". I flew P-3 Orions as a sensor operator in the Naval Air Reserve. I've written a couple of books about the Naval Air Reserve that you can check out on line at Lulu Press. Go to the Lulu Press web site and then do a search on keywords "naval air reserve" and you'll see them. Marc
  14. Navy Reserve transport squadron VR-62 was transferred from NAF Detroit to NAS South Weymouth in 1995 due to its former base being closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Unfortunately, the BRAC soon closed NAS South Weymouth, so VR-62 and its C-130s did not remain there for long. During the two years the squadron was at NAS South Weymouth, it used this patch with the motto "Mass Transit". The "Mass" stood for "Massachusetts". I flew P-3 Orions as a sensor operator in the Naval Air Reserve. I've written a couple of books about the Naval Air Reserve that you can check out on line at Lulu Press. Go to the Lulu Press web site and then do a search on keywords "naval air reserve" and you'll see them. Marc
  15. Here is a patch from carrier antisubmarine squadron VS-733. This was a Naval Air Reserve unit that was based as NAS Grosse Ille. It was activated for the Berlin Crisis in 1961. Since Michigan was too far from the ocean for operational purposes, the squadron was deployed NAS South Weymouth between November 1961 and June 1962. It operated S2F Trackers. I flew P-3 Orions as a sensor operator in the Naval Air Reserve. I've written a couple of books about the Naval Air Reserve that you can check out on line at Lulu Press. Go to the Lulu Press web site and then do a search on keywords "naval air reserve" and you'll see them. Marc
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