Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, September 09, 2011

HMAS Farncomb's Recent Loss Of Propulsion: "Bad" On The Good/Bad Scale

I had read this article a couple of weeks ago about the Australian submarine HMAS Farncomb (SSG 74) saying that the boat had been forced to surface after a loss of propulsion, and decided there really wasn't enough to the story to make it a good topic for discussion here. This new article that came out today with new information, however, changed my mind. Excerpts:
For the 60 men and women aboard the Collins-class boat, the next few minutes would be among the longest of their lives. Like a Hollywood thriller, the sailors found themselves grappling with a double engine failure followed by a terrifying, powerless descent towards the bottom of the Indian Ocean, stemmed only by the cool actions of a veteran commander. This real-life drama, which took place at 12.30am on August 23 about 20km off the northwest coast of Rottnest Island, was not revealed by Defence at the time. When quizzed by The Australian the following day, officials gave only a brief, sanitised version of the incident, omitting key facts while praising the competence and training of the crew for following "standard operating procedures"... ...What is undisputed is that Farncomb was conducting operational training in the waters northwest of Rottnest Island soon after spending a month in dry dock where it had its emergency propulsion unit replaced. In charge that night was veteran submarine commander Glen Miles, a ruddy-faced archeology and rugby enthusiast who once served on the old Oberon submarines and who was dux of his submarine officer's course. Also on board was a Sea Training Group assessing the crew's competence. Shortly after midnight, the Farncomb was gliding at a periscope depth of 20m while undertaking a routine known as "snorting", where air is drawn into the submarine to run the diesel motor in order to recharge the boat's batteries. At 12.30am, without warning, a fault in the control switchboard of the submarine's electric motor caused the motor to stop. "Propulsion failure, propulsion failure" rang out across the Farncomb's address system, as crew ran to emergency stations... ...According to several crew members' versions, the Farncomb slowed to a virtual halt, tilted nose up and began to slide backwards towards the ocean floor. The tilt was so steep that sailors eating in the mess room had to grab their dinners as they slid off the table. Those in the sleeping quarters found themselves "on top of each other". In the control room, Commander Miles was not panicking, but was watching the sliding depth gauge hoping that the propulsion motor would restart before the Farncomb sank too deep. He knew that, as a last resort, he could take the dramatic step of blowing the submarine's ballast tanks to stem the descent... ...Crew accounts of how deep the Farncomb sank differ. The consensus is that it plunged to between 150m and 190m. If so, this is uncomfortably close to the submarine's permissible deep diving depth, the actual figure of which is classified. At some point during the Farncomb's powerless descent and without any sign of life from the motor, Commander Miles ordered a partial blow of the submarine's main ballast in which air expels water from the ballast tanks, making the boat lighter. "Because the submarine was still heavy as compensating water was being pumped (out), the commanding officer chose to blow main ballast to arrest descent," a Defence spokesman said. What happened next depends on whose account you believe. Defence says that the initial ballast blow stemmed the descent and that the Farncomb actually began to slowly rise. Some crew members maintain the submarine was still sinking, although at a slower rate. Either way, Commander Miles then decided to take the most drastic step available to a submarine commander: to order a full emergency blow of all ballast tanks.
The story is written in such a way as to make it seem more dramatic than I'm sure it really was, but there's no doubt that finding yourself left with no option other than an EMBT blow makes for some interesting stories to tell around the grill. Have you ever been scared sh*tless on the boat? The one time I had non-expected flooding called away on my boat, I was kind of surprised at how calm I remained -- partly because I knew everyone was looking at me, I'm sure. (Long story short: Alpha Trials on SSN 22, I was in Maneuvering, flooding in the Machinery Room called away when we first started changing depth from PD to the next deeper depth on the initial controlled dive. ADM Bowman (NR at the time and in charge of the Sea Trial), in Control, told the CO/OOD not to do an EMBT blow. It ended up being overflow from a trim tank.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

First ever dive on a sub (588 class), doing some trials just out of the yards with a shipyard toy that was supposed be position accurate +/-3ft in 3D space. Well, it wasn't and when the fathometer suddenly started showing a rapidly decreasing depth the OOD ordered a turn and up angle. We became a plow at a full bell somewhere north of 300 feet. I had only been on the board about a month and the best I could muster was to stay the hell out of everyone’s way and not piss my pants!

Sitting in the chiefs' quarters on a 594 class during a transit. The CO ran a jam dive drill that turned into a real jam dive for reasons I don't recall. Went from "damn, another drill" to "wtf is taking so long and why is down angle getting bigger?" to "Oh Shit!" I think I may have paled a bit. Lived to tell the tale with only a short excursion below test depth.

Old chief from the dark ages

9/09/2011 3:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standing OOD inbound to Bahrain, about to enter the buoy channel early morning with significant haze.

There was an outbound merchant in the middle of the lane, so we set up to the right trying to contact on B2B.

Shipmate Merchant Driver doesn't seem to be showing us any more of his port side than I'd hope for considering how close we were getting, but because you never turn left we kept following the Rules of the Road.

Eventually the skipper up there with me (who rarely utters a four letter word) says something along the lines of "What the f$%& is he doing??" and we end up with a right hard rudder, all ahead full as the merchant keeps turning left and settles his course on the wake we just made.

Seeing a merchant that close turning right into you is not something I'll forget anytime soon...and the contact coordinator let us know that it filled up the entire view on the scope in low power.

9/09/2011 4:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope. In 10 years of service on SSNs, one in & out of newcon, one in & out of overhaul, I never was truly scared shitless from operations. People and bullshit, yes...I'll admit. That got to me more than once. But not ops; that's just more controllable, or so it seems in hindsight.

Had some dicey shit happen, for sure. There's no avoiding that.

Had the inexcusably fubar, jury-rigged shore power connection at Carr Inlet come loose at the top of the aft escape trunk while submerged a few feet. We only noticed that when I happened to pull on the drain valve handle to have a look-see, and a 3" shot of water went flying in between the SSTGs. (A "Turn off. The. Shore Power." conversation ensued with the off-hull providers.)

Pre-first crit in shiphard, had a loss of all AC. Gets very dark in a boat when the battery's off-line. We turned the lights back on, and reconnected the EPCP dots.

Went aground once when the Nav looped in too close to shore to drop off the Commodore in AUTEC. EOOW at the time. We eventually got pointed in the right direction, deballasted best we could, and drove off.

As SDO in drydock, had a very worried EDO come to me once with the problem of rising you-know-where temps with max cooling applied. Per previous experience, told him to go check if the asswipes that run the truck cranes had parked on the seawater hoses again. Yep. Got my ass chewed by our former-marine CO for dealing with it on the spot without telling him...but he was bullying me a bit and so I chose to push back in a non-disrespectful way ("Captain, when I have a problem, I'll let you know." Furrowed-brow, red-faced, I'll-eat-your-spleen response: "You bet your ASS!" Whatever, skip. Y'gotta pick your fights, and I'm glad I picked that one.)

Was in Long Island Sound as OOD in deep fog with radar fubar and barely able to see the rudder. Turns out that the one very close contact that radar was capable of picking up was quite large. Got through that fine. Slow going and having full access to XYZ horsepower was calming. Didn't find that out that it was an LNG tanker til later, or that might've qualified.

Went to PD once in the Strait of Gibraltar at the CO's insistence. That was high pucker factor, for sure, but not a truly scared shitless moment. More like...very, very annoying.

Good question, though. I'm sure we'll see much better stories than mine. All things considered, I got off light. As an aside, to those in my 10 years who never thought to say 'thank you' at the right moment, I offer a not entirely cynical "You're welcome."

9/09/2011 5:12 PM

Blogger Ross Kline said...

USS Houston. Summer of 1989. Google it. There was a constant pucker.

9/09/2011 5:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Houston, we have a problem." Here's a summary.

9/09/2011 5:57 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"The story is written in such a way as to make it seem more dramatic than I'm sure it really was, but there's no doubt that finding yourself left with no option other than an EMBT blow makes for some interesting stories to tell around the grill."

Not quite. There is a least one instance (guessing more) of a U.S. SSN in similar circumstances during the Cold war that could not
EMBT blow (excessive angle).

We were steadily sinking. As recounted earlier, what saved us was providence, arcane training, and as we learned later, a minutely favorable error in ballasting.

Otherwise, the episode was very, very similar:

During GQ, souls mpiled out of racks onto each other in almost total darkness at a very steep down angle. We recovered, barely.

The next day was bizarre considering our sensitive North Sea location. We were granted a
brief, submerged R&R!

Unfortunately, our excellent CO had a coronary upon return to port and commnand turned over.

For another view:

Many remember that submerged midwatch.

9/09/2011 6:51 PM

Blogger Erica R. said...

Holy crap. I was getting ready to come back and mention that the USS Nevada snagged a towline a couple of years ago. Then I kept reading...


9/09/2011 8:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Houston had a rough six months in 1989.

9/09/2011 9:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a certain royal navy V class boat ( no names) was doing exercises and one such exercise routinely carried out was a reactor scram. anyway, to cut a long story short, we were sinking backwards at an incredible rate of knots. as you are aware, once you pass a certain depth, blowing the MBT's becomes useless as the boat is just too heavy. we went 300+ metres. we obviously got the reactor back, got steam, got propulsion and eventually drove ourselves back up. the thing that sticks in my head is how eerily quiet it was. everyone was watching the depth gauges. i've never been deeper since

9/10/2011 1:26 AM

Blogger DDM said...

Two different boats:

Under the ice with a loss of PLO.

All rods on the bottom, DG won't start, about 3 minutes left on the battery.

9/10/2011 7:04 AM

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

Nub ENS on Guardfish. We were at PD snorkeling on the EPM, you know the drill. Head valve fails open and DG was shut down before it floods out. Still boat is slow, heavy and descending.

Wound up descending to 300' before the COW, an ICC(SS) as I recall, orders the TMOW to isolate and blow the negative tank. Didn't have to EMBT blow, but it was on the menu.

9/10/2011 9:16 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Standing CDO watch in local op areas while working up for a north atlantic op in the early seventies. Exercises were going to start at sunrise so we needed to get a broadcast before starting the days festivities. The diesel boat we were using as target had the shallow zone so the OOD sounded safety signals on the underwater telephone while proceeding to PD. After getting to PD, his watch relief came to the conn and I noticed that the OOD was paying more attention to the relief than watching out the periscope. I told him I would so scope watch while he continued his relief. I spun around the scope and the only thing I saw dead ahead was a black tube surrounded by a wake. I am told I said " HOly S**T, Emergency Deep, Lower All Masts, Down Scope." We proceeded deep and could hear our partner pass close aboard through the hull. I knocked on the CO's door to inform him of the close call and he thanked me for the report and went back to sleep for the next half hour before his morning call. The rest of the day was routine workup.

9/10/2011 10:02 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

USS Buffalo, my first Westpac (1989). Playing with the skimmers, supposed to be doing a Standard bell when it's noticed speed is WAY down (like under 4 knots) and we're 1--taking a down angle, 2--going deep.

Hit 700' with a 20+ down angle, and COW can't get trim pump started. That's when the pucker factor REALLY increased, but right about that time whatever we had snagged broke and we leveled out and recovered just before the order for EMBT went out.

Divers found some stuff fouled in the screw and the stern planes when we pulled in. Aw, shit indeed.

Second time was on TRE on Pogy around 1994-95. One of the smoking areas was at the bottom of the ladder from Crew's Mess to AMR1/laundry/Torpedo Room. Someone screwed up on a simulated torpedo launch and all we heard was a loud "THUMP" and a rushing noise coming from the TR. Me and MM1(SS) both reached for the flood control levers at the same time but stopped when we realized it was only 700# air. At least laundry was open so we could wash out our shorts.

9/10/2011 10:43 AM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

Once upon a time on usta 637-class fish we departed San Diego after something over 30 days in port. My friend SCPO Mark was Dive, and I was COW. DCA wanted to do the first dive out and obtained appropriate permission. My friend Mark stood with the DCA (acting DOOW.) Down we went to 150, well, we did get to 150 and passed it. It seems the ship had other plans.

We continued on or way down. DCA(DOOW) ordered me (COW) to pump "x" from depth control to sea, and I did. We continued on the way down. Ran short of water in Depth Control 1 and switched to #2, kept pumping. At that point we were passing half our test depth. Control was quiet except me reporting thousands out. Switched to Aux and continued pumping. The ship's control party was waiting to see who would decide that I should pull the handles first. Just after we passed that number ending with 00 I heard Mark's quiet voice saying "I relieve you, sir."

The next thing I heard was Mark (DOOW) saying "Officer of the Deck, I require ship control." OOD granted ship control to DOOW and DOOW ordered up a 2/3 bell, I could be mistaken with the bell. He then gave a rise order to the planes to proceed to 150 feet, and for me to continue pumping from Aux to sea. At 150 proper trim was obtained.

I don't recall being scared S#$tless but certainly was interested in our situation. If I recall correctly, the Captain invited the DCA to his stateroom. Have no idea what they really talked about, but that is the only time I have been on the BCP while a commissioned officer was DOOW.

9/10/2011 10:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Late seventies on a 594 somewhere in the Western Sea of Japan. Soviet SSN firing live warshots into a target barge. Another Soviet SSN launches a torpedo at the target barge we are in the weapon's acquisition envelope. Weapon acquires. Flank bell, depth excursion and course change ordered to keep it out of the baffles. Zero bearing rate to weapon. Weapon begins range gating. still going deep, test depth passed, still accelerating, still going deep. Zero bearing rate to weapon ping interval getting real short. Low level noise from weapon shuts down. Rig for silent running get back up to test depth. Request relief from passive sonar stack. Go down to my rack get a new set of skivies clean my self up and resume the watch. A good time was had by all.

9/10/2011 12:03 PM

Anonymous Cupojoe said...

"Also on board was a Sea Training Group assessing the crew's competence."

My guess is that the assessment was not good.

It wasn't my boat, but I remember hearing a story (I think it was Columbia) that was struggling to get to a required speed on the surface for some test. So, to get more speed, they flooded MBT-5 to get the screw lower in the water. Worked like a charm. Until they did a backing bell and almost submerged the ship.

The OOD that day told me that the whole boat was under water except for a foot of the sail sticking out, and him thinking to himself "I wonder which one of these harness D rings is mine?"

He said new OOD came up to relieve him, the relief went like this:

Oncoming: I'm here to relieve you. What you got?

Offgoing: (vomiting)

Oncoming: I relieve you.

9/10/2011 12:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Underway on the the ustafish. First night out and back aft they are getting ready for drills the next day. When it came time to do stby checks on PLO, it was found (the hard way) that the mechanic who did the pre-startup VLU left a relief jacked open... So as we sit there stopped and locked, it becomes apparent that the dive has been a bit sloppy in keeping track of just how heavy the boat is and we start sinking out. I awake to the very distinctive shudder of an EMBT blow whilst standing on my head in the rack. I remember thinking to myself "I didn't know we had this URO scheduled..." Followed shortly by the inevitable 1MC "Nukes lay aft"

9/10/2011 12:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of these stories, I am not liking at all...even though it's been a while.

9/10/2011 1:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Down at DDTP, mid Atlantic and I'm busy reassuring all the non-quals that 'these things are as safe as houses, been down here loads of times and nothing ever happens'.....then an almighty CLANG from the casing above the RC. Nothing else happens as we rapidly come shallow for a look around, no visable ship contacts or anything on passive sonar, nor did we hear anything beforehand. We continue on our way after phase one, two and three damage checks. On surfacing, the casing party proceed to the casing prior to coming alonside. Amidships, we find the imprint of an anchor swivel, it has dented the casing to about two inches in depth and was about six inches across. The casing was over two inches thick at that point and made of tougher than your average steel.
The main talking point though was not the dent but what the odds were that we'd run into something that hard and heavy at DDTP. The whole of the Atlantic to play in and somebody loses and anchor and we find it on its way down to the seabed!

9/10/2011 1:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sidebar: Joel, have you ever thought about turning your blog into a book? I'm sure that over the years you've accumulated quite a collection.

Why would someone pay for something that's free online? Same reason people that pay for salted peanuts -- it's entertainment that someone else has had to do all the hard work for.

9/10/2011 2:34 PM

Anonymous ex SSN Officer said...

My submerging the boat while on a surface transit in 50-kt winds in the Med story is here.'s been four years since telling that story.

9/10/2011 2:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NORPAC on the NYC. Standing midwatch QMOW with the WEPS as OOD. He is staring mindlessly at the chart when we hear a soft boom directly beneath our feet. We look at each other and both said at the same time "What the f#@& was that?" Turned out it was the O2 generator blowing several circuit cards and had a runaway reaction. The AMR watch shut it down by purging it with nitrogen.

Local OPS on the Bremerton off Hawaii after eons in the PHNSY. Just left PD passing 300 feet when there is a boom up forward and the boat shook. Brought me out of my rack to the control room where all hell is breaking loose. Immediately came shallow for preps to return to PD. All compartments reported no leaks. Sonar reported more flow noise. Surfaced and looked around and found no obvious damage. Returned to PH and after mooring divers went into the water and reported our sonar dome was dished in below the surface water line. Seems a large piece of rubber left over from the shipyard worked its way into the equalizing line causing the dome to implode when it couldn't equalize. Spare dome was found in San Diego. Longest transit to the west coast I ever remembered. Limited to 15 knots and 400 feet.

9/10/2011 6:24 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I don't think it goes down like that. The first emotion is a sense euphoria, this situation is outside normal and it is interpreted as a adventure. You just don't have the information in your front brain with the totality of the accident.

It is only hours later as you replay the tapes in your head and talk to the people in the situation, it is then you realized you should have been shitting your pants as incident was occurring.

9/11/2011 9:42 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Wasn't scared, but was definitely concerned when a drill took away propulsion and we learned the watch to watch comp and left us very heavy. Gutted it out for a while, then just put the ship on the surface.

Scared was on my second underway in command when we stayed on the surface too long. I finally pulled the plug on trying to figure out how to get the pilot off the ship when a wave went over my head. Fortunately, other than being extremely wet and cold and spooked, nothing bad happened. Not even significant water down the bridge trunk.

9/11/2011 10:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helena was finishing a mini-deployment and was west of Midway doing ORSE workup. They did a loss of lube oil drill and the shaft was placed on the jacking gear. The drill ran its course and lube oil was restored prior to taking the shaft off the jack. The jacking gear blew into a million pieces and dropped into the reduction gears and proceeded to make hash out of the reduction gears. The boat blew to the surface
and was making 2 knots on the OB. Tech Reps were flown out to the Willamette who was standing by to lend assistance and they transferred over to the Helena. They tore into the reduction gears and stated not to turn them after the inspection. They got towed back to PH. All 2000 miles. I was working in CSS-7 Ops at the time.

9/11/2011 12:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was EO doing Delayed Recovery and was bringing on the Diesel. We broached and the DOOW immediately ordered hard right to get us back down, completely ignoring the fact that we were on the EPM at min amps. We started watching the depth meter in Maneuvering start going up, followed by asking for 2/3 on the EPM. At a certain depth, the ENG gets on the 2MC and announces "Secure from Drill! Get the plant back now!" RO was pulling rods before the 2MC finished and we ended up doing a partial blow. That DOOW got a very public reprimanding in Control for that stupidity.

9/11/2011 3:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daah-yum. If we don't PMS something to death, we run drills on it to death.

But seriously, difficult would it be to design a turning gear clutch that disengages at excessive RPM? And what's the cost of not having one when you need it? Guess we need to ask Helena.

9/11/2011 3:35 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

How about a electrical propulsion explosion directly off the coast of a North Atlantic country...we were electric motor driven. It took out our propulsion system for two days. We were making bets on how many re-ups it would take to get us back home if we couldn't fix the commutators.

Ever do a spine tingling startup on battleshort? We again were in the North Atlantic, a raging winter storm above us. We scrammed and could not find out what caused it, kept scramming again. Then went to PD, DG's kept tripping because of the high seas, surfaced and the DGs still kept tripping from same. Almost out of juice when the CO ordered us to 200 feet and then do a startup on Battleshort.

We were back to normal in a half an hour!

9/11/2011 5:50 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Anon @ 9/11/2011 12:16 PM:

I remember that episode. I had just gotten off my first 'Pac when that happened. The day Helena came back, I was carrying RC-Div equipment for cal (we were at S-9, the Cal Lab was by the Radcon Barge) and Helena had just been moored to S-11.

The COB was standing on the pier, screaming up a storm and almost literally jumping up and down, chewing the pier sentry's ass up one side and down the other over a sign that some smartass had taped to the pier sentry box. The sign said:

"For Sale: slightly damaged. 25 percent off."

9/12/2011 5:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former RAN submariner I've got to say I'm disappointed that someone had to go crying to the media over this incident. What should have been (and probably was)a fairly routine response to a propulsion failure is being made out to be a near death experience. Yes it could have been a disaster if incorrectly handled, however that's what all the endless hours of training and drills are for.

It does seem that there was a delay in restoring propulsion, whether through a technical problem or operator error is unknown at this stage.

The Navys official response is here:

9/12/2011 10:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure would like to hear about the pucker factor when the British and French SSBNs collided back in 2009 but I guess we will never hear any more about that one.

9/13/2011 6:09 AM

Blogger David said...

I worked with Cdr Miles in SUBPAC during his staff duty working for N7. He is an exceptional commander. 23 years in Navy so several AwCrap moments. Glad he was calm and they all made it home safely.

9/13/2011 8:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was ANAV on un-named trident at AUTEC. CO had conn and full bell heading toward shoal. This place is like a giant steep bath tub. CO would not turn until I yelled that "I highly recommend turning, or we will ground sir. I am noting this in the deck log." He turned, and based on advance and transfer, we probably came within 200 yards of smashing into the shoal at a nice full bell. I doubt we would have recovered.

9/14/2011 8:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANAV---As a former QMOW, I can attest that this kind of stuff happens in AUTEC frequently. It is a wonder why we have not had more groundings down there.

9/14/2011 1:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't the OK City exceed test by 400 ft in the late 90s? Now that will make you pucker!

9/14/2011 1:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK City had a depth excursion back in PSA in the late 80's.

They had a t-shirt made:

60 down....

Rods down....

Still around....

It was quite the conversation piece.

As I understand it, they where doing max rudder angles at a flank bell during sea trials and the vernier rudder system failed and tossed a full rudder on suddenly.

They snap rolled and as my friend said..

.. it was quite exciting...

The EOOW was new (something like his 3rd qualified watch) and asked Con to check ships angle..

When the throttlemans feet shifted from deck to the bottom of the SCP, he (the EOOW) ordered back emergency on his own.

At about this time the RO noted uncommanded outward rod motion and proceeded to initiated a SCRAM to safe the plant.

This could have been a BAD day....

EOOW told my friend (who was the throttleman)to continue to answer the bell....

They stopped the depth excursion, and by this time, people had gotten their faces off the ships control panel and hit the switches when the angle came up to about 40 down. I was told they blew till the air noise slacked.

They then proceeded smartly to the surface.

He said post evaluation, they figured they had a 60 degree down angle with a 45 degree roll. Hi and low level alarms had been going off all over the place.

Remember, this had taken place at a Flank bell.

Those of you know know the recovery envelope know just how clase that could have been.

9/14/2011 6:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At about this time the RO noted uncommanded outward rod motion and proceeded to initiated a SCRAM to safe the plant.

For anyone who might know...

Is the rod control system on S6G much different than the S5W/S3G system? Just looking for yes/no not details. I can come up with a couple of ways it might happen on the older system but damn remote possibility!!

All I can say is what a bad pair of failures to occur together!!!

Old Chief from the dark ages

9/15/2011 12:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Currently working on the last S5W and yes, it's way different than S6G.

9/15/2011 6:48 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

RO/SRO qualified on both 637 and first-flight 688. Yeah, different enough.

9/15/2011 8:00 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

This is not about the bridge, it is a metaphor for all the problems in world.

'Mike Mulligan and the Hinsdale Route 119 bridge'

The chatter in my town, crazy mike jumps on youtube, he should have jumped off the bridge with his ratty raggedly sign, then Gov Lynch today says early he is not running for governor next election?

I think there is serious corruption issues with bridge inspection program?

How many Route 119 Hinsdale NH bridge problems does the Navy have?

When was the last time the Navy used rivets on their ships?

9/15/2011 12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the uncommanded outward rod motion,consider the operational conditions at the time.

The rods were more in a horizontal than vertical position. Couple that with flow dynamics and that may help understand what happened.

I had thrown the BS flag when first told. My Eng, who was a DAMN fine officer, sat down and explained how it could happen and the forces involved.

The more detailed explaination >would< violate NNPI disclousure rules and I have probably pushed that far enough as is.. Needless to say, the rod motion was a direct result of the orientation of the plant and the operational parameters at the time.

The SCRAM springs did their job and provided enough force to end the matter.

9/15/2011 4:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! I was thinking more along the lines of a loose piece of metal rolling around and making contact during the extreme angle.

The fact the rods could move at all because of angle alone is a damn scary thought for me.

Old Chief from the dark ages

9/15/2011 11:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Currently working on the last S5W and yes, it's way different than S6G.

Did one of the MTS boats go away?

9/17/2011 5:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"On the uncommanded outward rod motion, consider the operational conditions at the time."

Sorry, but regardless of op conditions I'm calling BS on the idea of uncommanded rod motion in this case. The RO jumped the gun under stress, that's all.

The scram springs are always doing their job in a certain fashion...if you ken my meaning here. If they couldn't do their job before the scram, they wouldn't have done it afterwards...which they did.

Gonna have to leave it at that, but it's not like they don't design-plan for extreme conditions, including these.

9/20/2011 11:54 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

High pucker moments:

1. Fire in #1 Oxygen Generator, ended up being okay, but those first few minutes trying to get to PD were extremely fun.

2. Loss of all hydraulics (COW induced), but resulted in us blowing to the surface with no scopes, rudder, or planes. Good times.

3. Deep boat flooding in 3" launcher, quite impressive I must say.

4. Seal Training Ops 50' with the hatch open. Lots of water really damn fast.

5. First night ever underway and we have a hydraulic rupture in the ER at the hydraulic power plant that whites out the ER in oil mist. Oh memories. Ended up being the first of three ruptures, luckily getting smaller each time.

There are a bunch of other little ones not really worth mentioning, but those were the ones that make me thankful that training does really take over and things are handled very professionally.

9/22/2011 6:28 PM

Blogger MMC(SS) said...

The USS Nevada became half submarine, half helicopter during our initial dive coming out of port one day in the early 2000's.
It started with a small down angle that became a larger down angle. Most of the crew was mustered on the mess deck. We thought it was just an aggressive decent, instead it was a failure of the aft main ballast tank vent.
Funny thing was we actually had an A-ganger on phones stationed at the MBT vent for just such an occasion. However this A-ganger, who earned the nickname Petty Officer Death after his performance, failed to realize that the MBT vent failed to open. It took a Chief who ran "uphill" all the way from the Chiefs Quarters to Shaft alley and looked at the VPI to figure out what happened. Then when the EMC told the MM2 to inform control about the failure, he argued and said that it operated properly. The EMC had to take the phones himself and tell control. We had to emergency blow in order to get back to the surface. This was ordered by the DOOW, another seasoned Senior Chief, who acted to prevent us from diving to the bottom of the Pacific.
The only 2MC/1MC's throughout the entire time were concerning high bilge levels in the Missile compartment. After all was said and done the CO announced that everything was fine and that we were going to be investigating the failure of the MBT vent, carry on.

9/30/2011 2:53 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Sandy Salt, click on my tagline and send me an email.

10/02/2011 11:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the SSN-22 flooding. It ended up being pretty funny. MM1 R the A-Div LPO had been bragging for 6 months that he was to be the initial dive COW over all of the CPOs. He overflowed the trim tank with a trim pump forcing full flow through the relief valve. This scared everyone in the AMR except the phone talker ET1 C. When we sat down for chow with MM1 R sitting at the wanna=be Chief's table all of the sarcastic nukes piped up with "It turns out it wasn't flooding in the AMR. The water coming into the people tank was exactly the capacity of the drain pump."

10/21/2011 5:15 PM

Anonymous said...

The chap is definitely just, and there is no doubt.

11/01/2011 12:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cameron Stewart (author of this piece of fiction) wishes he was writing blockbusters for Bruckheimer!! Nice that you can reminisce about "shit yourself" moments but this wasn't one - the truth is nothing like what was reported here - and that's from the men on the boat.

11/14/2011 6:54 PM


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