He flew an AH-64 Apache gunship out of harm's way on a transmission that had lost all its oil. Had the Timken tranny seized while being run dry, he'd be a dead man. Instead, Jim Hardy is here with Timken at HeliExpo 2011 to tell the tale of how the vital helicopter drivetrain part performed above and beyond the call of duty.
The retired Army chief warrant officer 4 left the service in 2004 after logging about 4,000 hours in all types of helicopters. On the day of the incident, some helicopters in the security detail he was flying with were shot up by RPGs and small arms. One had taken rounds through the oil cooler and lost all its transmission oil. The crew landed and Hardy helped pour six quarts of spare oil into the machine, then fired it up and took off. "I was thinking about Mogadishu," he says, referring to an incident when U.S. Army helicopter crew members were killed an d their bodies dragged through the streets.
Today, the jocular Hardy describes himself as an "idiot" for having pulled off the daring flight, for which he earned the DFC. In acceptance trials, military services may specify that a transmission be capable of "running dry" (without fluid) for a few minutes, but, as Hardy says, "It's not published anywhere in the flight manual." He's enjoying the opportunity at Heli-Expo to tell the world what a reliable transmission Timken makes.