Gas Turbine Start-up Program
During the mid-1960s, following the Great Norheast Blackout of November 1965, the Gas Turbine Department (GTD) decided that it needed start-up enngineers for all the new MS5001L & LA package power plants (PPP) being installed. The GT Start-up Program was born. The late George Kennedy, in GTD Product Sercice, was selected to head up the group of young engineers. Larry Mitter and the late Geoffry Jarvis would lend their support. Candidates for the GTSP were selected from the FEP grads.
The first group included started in 1967. It included Steve Griller, Ron Query and Lou Melagrano. Later that year, guys like Bill Lynn, Harry Moulton, Larry Cammack and Dave Lucier were tapped to join the Program.
The GTSP was expected to last one year and include controls and start-up training by Kennedy, Mitter and others. Mr. Jarvis gave mechanical support, which most of us sorely needed! From Geoff, they learned never to spell his name JEFF. They also learned to LISTEN and never to ask the same question TWICE in a liftime. Geoff would remember, even if he had answered the question perhaps years before!
A typical assignment was when Harry and Dave were sent to help the Chicago office of I&SE install and start up the twelve M50001LA package power plants for CommEd at Crawford Station. They were configured in three 4-unit powerblocks, a popular arrangement back then.
Who would ever believe The General would trust either of these young tigers to start a gas turbine?
By the early 1970s, when Speedtronic Mark I was first being applied to MS3002J, MS5001N and MS7001B gas turbines, Kennedy's Raiders had the likes of Dave Smith, Al Shuman, Dick Abel and Phil Todd replacing the first wave of start-up engineers on the GTSP.
The Program waned in the mid-1970s (1973-74 Oil Embargo time) and was essentially abandoned for several years.
By about 1978, I&SE and GETSCO saw the need to breathe life back into the Program. People like Bob Skladony and Donna Watson were selected to join a new crop of start-up engineers. By that time, the Program was run out of I&SE headquarters with Ed Greibel at the helm.
Dave Lucier was GT Supervisor for training at the time at the FEDC. Program members were sent to the FEDC for Level II training schools like Fuel Regulator Controls, Speedtronic Mark I & II, Digital & Analog Circuits and Start-up School. The staff at the FEDC taught the courses. Former GTSP members like Dick Abel, Dave Smith, Al Shuman and Dave Lucier were now instructors who taught the new memebers. The late George Kennedy was also often a guest instructor during those days.
Heaven help the current crop of new start-up engineers with these guys teaching them!
Guys like Sal Paolucci, Tom Constantine, Robin Ashley, Brent Homes, John Cunningham, Rob Sigond and others joined the GTSP in the early 1980s, when Speedtronic Mark IV was first entering the picture. Knowing some of the old timers, some would say that the quality of start-up engineers was finally improving!
By the late-1980s, the product department started a "Hot Suitcase" group which virtually sounded the death knell for the Gas Turbine Start-up Program. We surmise that GE felt that controls engineers didn't need to know about the gas turbine (mechanical stuff), as the products entered the computer era. Some would say this was a HUGE mistake. This is because we oldtimers know that the controls exist because the turbine is there, not the other way around!!!
Written by Dave Lucier (with appologies to GTSP members I've either unfortunately forgotten or never knew, since I left GE in 1986).
Last modified Saturday, Jun-03-2006 11:29 AM