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the Pilot, the Engineer and the Chief...

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Old 09-02-2008, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 793
Default the Pilot, the Engineer and the Chief...

The thread about western style steamboat boilers reminded me that I have a few questions about steamboat boiler operation in general.

Was/is there some kind of dynamic discussion underway between the pilot and the Chief about how much speed and power would/will be required and for how long? For instance, even on the DQ, is the Chief aware of where on the river the boat is, do the pilots let him know when less than Full ahead is required so that the firing of the boilers can be toned down a bit at just the right time, i.e. coming into locks and ports? If the pilots all of a sudden do not need full ahead anymore, do they let the Chief know ahead of time, or is it up to the Chief to figure this out very quickly by himself between the telegraph and the rising boiler pressure at full fire.

If the pilothouse calls for full ahead, what does that mean? I'm sure it means different things whether upbound or down, right? And is "full ahead" relative? Does it equate to the engineer opening the main steam valve just enough to provide a particular paddlewheel revolution speed? And if the pilothouse needs a tad more, say 10% more push than present, how is that conveyed to the engineer? Or if the pilothouse needs something in between "full" and "half", or "half and "slow", how is that requested to the engine room? And for that matter, how is that requested of the boiler room, other than wildly fluctuating steam pressure gauges?

And lastly, I take it the pilots are directly responsible for setting the speed on the AQ's is it still the same way with the AQ's wheel, i.e. the pilot requests via electronic telegraph and the engineer provides a certain set wheel revolution speed and the Chief tries to keep up with it all?

And a sorta related question about older steamboat boilers...I've heard/read the term: the boiler had a "bag" in it...What does this mean, is it a weakened outward bulge in the side of the boiler, with subsequent need to be cut out and new metal put in its place?
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