Now you know, ol’ Doc Newton was a right smart fella. His Three Laws (especially #3 - For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction…) have been put to the test more times than that “Press to Test” button on the cockpit overhead (inside joke to Hummer folks WRT T-handle lights). Each time, Doc was right and the tester, well usually worse for wear.
Our benighted PO had committed the cardinal sin of catapult shots – unstrapping when in tension. Sure enough, despite shouts of “SUSPEND” hollered over the ICS by the crewman in back and a chorus of aghast aviators, the catapult fired and worked as advertised. In the blink of an eye where once had stooped a 6’ 2”, 265 lb 2nd class PO, there now was nothing. Way up, all the way up…yes ALL the way up in the smallest part of the tail, where resided a couple of support structures for the cargo hatch called “chicken legs,” there, there resided the smallest ball of humanity imaginable. The load chief had unhooked as soon as we were airborne and trying to climb up the ramp to extricate the petty officer. Soon, this was accomplished and true to form, the tester was worse for wear with several injuries, the worst of which was a broken collar bone and mild concussion. We circled for a while to give the crew time to consult w/USS Boat as to whether to recover aboard or head for NAS Jax and eventually the power-that-be said to head to the beach and the hospital ashore. In the meantime, the safety officer had a quickie mishap board to convene and a plane load of not-to-happy aviators and staff to interview before we all headed back to Norfolk and scattered to the four winds.
Lesson learned – don’t screw w/Doc Newton. Man Law? Man Law…