Wednesday, April 6, 2016

PMS Check

Some years back, I wrote about the Planned Maintenance Subsystem, known as "PMS". I mentioned, briefly, about PMS spot checks, in which the officers were required to audit the conduct of PMS checks.

So there was this one ship where the XO got the idea to put some meat into the spot checks. He had a list of the various work centers. Each week, he would assign the spot checks for some work centers to other division officers: The Communications Officer would have to go do a spot check in the forward fireroom, the Boiler Officer would have to do one on deck, the First Lieutenant would have to do one in Repair 3 and so on. It was a way of making really sure that the checks were being done, since while the Gunnery Officer might have an interest in not making his men look too bad, the Auxiliaries Officer would have no such compulsion.

Now, this is no shit: I was in the Weapons Department. The XO told me that I had to do a spot check in the Operations Department, more specifically, a spot check in ET02, a work center crewed by the Electronics Technicians. Cool, I thought. Since my own division had its share of electronics, I figured that this would be a piece of cake: Watch some guy hook up a test set and check the calibration of something or other. I could sit there, cup of coffee in hand, and watch ET2 Twidget do his thing.

Ah, no.

The check that I drew was to check the TACAN antenna. The TACAN antenna was mounted at the top of the highest mast that the ship had.[1] A "man aloft" chit had to be run on both our ship and the neighboring ones to ensure that nobody turned on any radars or radios.[2] Once that was done, the two ETs doing the check carefully inventoried their gear, we donned climbing harnesses and then up the mast we went. Maybe 110 feet above the upper deck that we'd hit if we fell and 150 feet or so above the water.

Not that it mattered much, for if anyone fell, we weren't landing in the water or on the pier. We'd quite literally hit the deck. The end result from falling a hundred or so feet onto a solid metal deck would have had the same results as falling five times as far, at least to the person doing the falling.

This is probably where I should say that I don't like being on a ladder. At least any higher than the fourth rung. We were one hell of a lot higher.

I don't remember much about the check itself. But the view was pretty spectacular. I wished I had thought to bring my camera. But with my luck, I'd have dropped the damn lens cap on some poor squid.

I did see one person walking by the ship that I had beefed with from time to time. The things that you see when you don't have a wrench handy.

The ETs did their work, I observed and we all came down in good order.
[1] There was one antenna that was higher up, but never you mind about that one.
[2] This PMS check could only be performed pierside.


s4e4 said...

"Do not rotate or radiate...."

jon spencer said...

I helped change the light bulbs on the mast light while underway. Over water, over steel, over water repeating until done. The going up and the work up there did not bother me, the almost rusted through safety piping the we hooked our fall restraints into did.