Once upon a time...at No 5 Squadron, RMAF Base, Labuan...
Nuri pilots...I'm sure you've experienced difficulties in starting the ever faithful Nuri using the batteries. During my flying days, it was a real problem and it could cause an embarassment to the RMAF, especially during VVIP communication flights.
Readers...remember my article entitled "MacGyver Of The Air Force"? The pilot was unable to start the Nuri at Tenom grass strip. The captain attempted to start the engine a few times until there was no more fuel in the fuel line. The root cause for this 'snag' was due to weak batteries.
Readers...There is no problem to start one engine at RMAF bases or at airports since the Auxiliary Power Units (APU), eg, Houchin, are available most of the time. At airports, I often used the services of MAS's APU, where possible, and they had never rejected my request.
Of course without the APU, the engine is started using 2 x 28VDC Nickel Cadmium batteries. One is located in the 'nose' compartment (picture on the left) and the other in the battery compartment (picture on the right).
Just like your cars, the batteries will be recharged during flight. However, if there are too many short 'hops', then the batteries have no time to recharge. This type of flight was very peculiar to VVIP/VIP communication flights.
Let me tell you something about 'engine start' limitations...
...When you press the starter button on the SSL (Speed Selector Lever), either you or your co-pilot presses the 'T5' button on the 'cyclic stick' to control the T5 (Turbine Inlet Temperature) so that it does not exceed 745*C. If it exceeds...abort. Wait for 3 minutes before the 2nd attempt. Maximum...3 attempts. If the T5 exceeds 940*C the engine experiences 'over temp'. If this happens, then the engine requires a check to ensure no damage to its parts, eg, turbine blades.
During my daily 'pow-wow' with all my aircrew, engineering officer and his SNCOs, we discussed this matter. Well, the Crewman Leader, WO1 Arumugam, suggested that what we should do was to have an 'improvised auxiliary power' using additional batteries. What needed to be done was to have 2 x Nickel Cadmium batteries set in parallel and connected by a cable which was then plugged to the aircraft using a NATO plug. Peanuts...isn't it?
WO1 Arumugam voluteered to undertake this project. Within a week, he demonstrated his innovation. 2 batteries were placed in a box complete with a cable and a NATO plug. The demonstration was a success. Of course, the electricians were in the team too. For no apparent reason...we called it "Trolley X". Mind you, this trolley was heavy...each battery weighed 50 lbs. Total weight was about 110 lbs. Sometimes we had to use the hoist to winch it in or out of the Nuri.
Well...it was worth the effort since I never heard my pilots complain of 'engine over temp' after this 'power booster' became part of the aircraft equipment.
Now...of course you don't have this problem anymore. Your Nuri is equipped with 'Power Pact Trolley X'...Lucky you!!
Power Pack Trolley "X"
Standing: Left to Right: Sgt Hood, Sgt Jaafar, Lt (U) Ali Ghani, 2Lt (U) Mohd Merejok (arwah), 2Lt (U) Sharbe, Lt (U) Lau, Lt (U) Muru, Lt (U) JH Loh, Lt (U) Ibrahim Hashim, Lt (U) Sabri Adam, Flt Sgt Azizan, Sgt Yeap (Taken in early 1982)
I'm very proud to say that No 5 Sqn was then the only Nuri squadron using this 'prototype' Trolley X before the Power Packs are introduced as part of Nuri standard equipment. It makes me wonder why the Power Pack is also called 'Trolley X'? Is it an established name for the Power Pack? In all honesty, I never knew of its existence then. Or... Is it in recognition of my Sqn's remarkable 'innovation'? If so...I'm greatly honoured! Or, is it purely coincidental? As far as I can remember, my squadron was the only one using this 'home-made' technology; the other Nuri squadrons, ie, No 3, No 7 and No 10, did not have this in their inventory.
I would really appreciate if anyone could enlighten me on this matter.
Encik Aru...wherever you may be...Thank you.