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Aviation History in Control Wheels; Yokes


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Hi All: Back in January I posted some photos of the restored control yoke from a Douglas B-66 Destroyer in my collection. Douglas built a beefed up version of that airframe for the Navy called the A-3 Skywarrior. Curiously, the functionality demanded by the Navy resulted in a control wheel that looked entirely different. Later in their operational lives, many Navy A-3s were converted into KA-3 tankers. The wheel/yoke in my collection still has the "Bomb Rel." switch suggesting it came from an aircraft that was not converted.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's an example of a control wheel from my collection that few people associate with military service. It's the co-pilot's side wheel from a Convair 880 airliner. The Navy actually flew one of these, starting around 1981-82 as a UC-880 out at the NATC Patuxent River, MD. The jet had been obtained from storage at Mojave, CA and extensively modified as an airborne tanker! One of it's first uses in that role was to support the test and evaluation of the in-flight refueling capabilities of the F/A-18 Hornet, which was in the middle of it's FSD (full scale development) testing at PAX River at the time.

 

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Grumman's "iron works" in Bethpage punched out an amazing variety of aircraft for the Navy in the 1935-1955 (and later) period. The moniker referred to the robust, no-nonsense character of the aircraft. And it extended down to the design of details, like the control wheel. The photos are of the wheel used in the G-21 "Goose". Kinda gives new meaning to simple and functional in design.

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Also from the Iron Works pantheon, came this more modern/sophisticated wheel design used in the HU-16 Albatross.

 

 

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Bluehawk:

 

The short answer to your question is--I don't know. The Ford Tri-motor appears to have had a mostly wood wheel. I'd be surprised if it didn't use metal somewhere in the center structure for rigidity.

 

Early in this string there is a photo of the largely wood wheel used in the early versions of the B-17. But for structural rigidity the wooden portion was assembled to a single piece center pressing of aluminum alloy. Similar designs were used in the earlier Boeing 247 and Junkers JU-52. Many early aircraft wheels of the 19teens and 1920s were similarly constructed to attain rigidity.

 

All that said....never say never. Early Wright or Curtiss aircraft might have used all wood in the decade before WWI. Early dirigibles may have used all wood wheels--have never looked into that.

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Here is a fine example of the control wheel used in the AVRoe "Lancaster" bomber--England's equivalent of the B-17 (though they had different missions).

 

 

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I've got question someone on this forum can hopefully answer. I got lucky recently and acquired a control wheel for a C-5 Galaxy. Not surprisingly, it's missing the center hub (sensor) assembly and related cover. And I know C-5 parts are generally not in the surplus pipeline.

 

1 - Does anyone know of a possible source for the hub/sensor assembly for a C-5?

 

2 - I know the hub/sensor assembly from a C-141 physically fits and can be mounted to the C-5 wheel (the elec connector is different). But that doesn't tell me if the center casting for the 141 (other than mounting) is the same as a C-5. Is there a former crew chief or other expert out there who can tell me the degree of similarity (or lack thereof) there is in the center hub/sensor assembly used in these two aircraft?

 

Thanks for any help offered......

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Here are some pics of a nice example of the co-pilot's control wheel out of a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy. I was surprised to find out the center hub assembly from the C-141 Starlifter has the same mounting geometry as the C-5. So the center hubs of the two aircraft can be swapped out. The C-5 wheel has more switches than the 141 wheel, so the electrical connector has more pins.

 

The top left switch on the right stalk is for "TA/TF Range Sel". Anyone know what the TA/TF stands for? I did a Google search and didn't get any relevant hits.

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Not sure if it would be the terms for a C-5, but its possible, TA: Terrain Avoidance and TF: Terrain Following. I know Special Ops helicopters can have a Multi Mode Tadar for TA/TF, perhaps C-5 had something similar for like a GPWS?

 

I did find something about an AMP they did to C-5s where then installed a Terrain Warning and Avoidance System (TAWS) so perhaps that is what the TA/TF is for. Ive usually heard it put as TF/TA vs the other way around.

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Thanks for chiming in Mohawk. That's something to think about. In my mind's eye I'm loving this....the idea of a C5 on the deck along one of the "oil burner" training routes....even though it seems more in line with what an F-111 or F-15 would be doing. :unsure:

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That would be a hoot to see, though C-5s now arent what they used to be. Now with the new GE engines, they sound like nothing more than a heavy airliner, no more unique whine the As and Bs made with the TF-39s. I used to live in New England between a C-5 guard unit in NY and a C-5 reserve unit in MA so I got to see them around alot and hear that beautiful sound. Id say the TAWS or TF/TA stuff is for interesting approaches abroad that might have mountains, valleys and steep approaches/departures etc.

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Thanks for chiming in Mohawk. That's something to think about. In my mind's eye I'm loving this....the idea of a C5 on the deck along one of the "oil burner" training routes....even though it seems more in line with what an F-111 or F-15 would be doing. :unsure:

There are C-5's used for Special Ops. I heard a comment about they begin training at 200 feet AGL. When they used C-141's for that, someone whose brother had a farm under a training route said that his brother told him he could see the faces in the cockpit.

 

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... training at 200 feet AGL. When they used C-141's for that, someone whose brother had a farm under a training route said that his brother told him he could see the faces in the cockpit.

 

That WILL shake the earth! :P

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I saw they did have Special Operations Low Level II aircraft, so maybe that yoke came from one of them if all C-5s yokes arent marked like that. Curious to see another one and how its marked

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Some good potential thoughts for what "TA/TF Range Sel" might be. The "range sel" part seems to suggest tactical as opposed to terrain avoidance. Have to say, I'd have never thought of jets like the C-5 and C-141 in tactical roles. Time for some research on my part. Need to find a Dash 1 manual for the C-5. Thanks guys.

 

C-5 wheels are not common in the collectors world. This one from Ebay is the only one I've seen there....and that's after 15 years of active collecting. I do know of one other in private hands. C-141 wheels are far more common. Speaking of which--attached are some pics of the 141 wheel in my collection. The little brother to the Galaxy. At first glance the differences are subtle. But the wheels (not including the center hub) are actually entirely different castings.

 

 

 

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Not sure if it would be the terms for a C-5, but its possible, TA: Terrain Avoidance and TF: Terrain Following. I know Special Ops helicopters can have a Multi Mode Tadar for TA/TF, perhaps C-5 had something similar for like a GPWS?

 

I did find something about an AMP they did to C-5s where then installed a Terrain Warning and Avoidance System (TAWS) so perhaps that is what the TA/TF is for. Ive usually heard it put as TF/TA vs the other way around.

The original radar and autopilot on C-5A had terrain avoidance/terrain following. My memory of what I heard people say was that when they went to the small radome and color weather radar, they decided that they really didn't need TA/TF. Kinda like after the airplane had to be designed with leading edge slats and in-flight tire deflation so that it could operate from 5000 ft unimproved runways, they decided that they would never want to use it that way after all. They use night vision goggles now for the low altitude night flights so I guess the lack of TA/TF isn't so important.

 

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Probably around 2000, the Lockheed C-5 Program Engineering Manager had some decals made for the C-5 & C-141 control wheels to be given out on base visits. Apparently, this coincided with the various bases deciding that they needed to do something about all the missing emblems and they made their own with base name, squadron name or aircraft tail number on them.

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The original radar and autopilot on C-5A had terrain avoidance/terrain following. My memory of what I heard people say was that when they went to the small radome and color weather radar, they decided that they really didn't need TA/TF...........They use night vision goggles now for the low altitude night flights so I guess the lack of TA/TF isn't so important.

 

Hi bobatl: Thanks for the recollections. If nothing else, at least there is a consensus on what TA/TF stands for. The inference I get out of the various posts above is that my wheel had the TA/TF function that it would (likely) have come from an earlier aircraft. The photo below is of the data plate on back of the wheel. I have some experience with gov't contracting. The "09" in the contract number means the wheel was acquired with FY2009 funding....so it's only about 10 years old now. Wierd. Anyway, glad I got the wheel.

 

Thanks for that tidbit on the hub cover decals too ! post-162703-0-52387500-1566623451_thumb.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

hi swifter,great information,question is there a way to tell real from repro center hubs from different aircraft control wheels?..................dave

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Hi Dave: Your question broad based, but the short answer is (generally) yes. What aircraft/cap are you referring to? Post a photo or two if able.

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