I was working at the last squadron that I was at when this happened. It was a happy day, the sun was shining, birds were staying well clear of the flight line because of the aircraft turning there so the sparrows were chirping away on the other side of the parking lot. Kind of wandering around on the flight line as a troubleshooter I am waiting for something to do, (your tax dollars at work here, as usual.) Something comes in the form of one of the plane captains in front of one of our aircraft waving frantically at someone.
I sort of look over, bobbing my head slightly to the background happiness being dispensed by Type O Negative, and notice that the plane captain is waving at me. This is confirmed by my looking behind me, pointing at myself and pointing at everyone around me until I get a big yes nodded at my direction. Grand, get to go and do something now. I wander over and make motions indicating that I want to wander into the rotor arc, I get waved in and walk toward the turning helicopter. Climbing into the cabin I notice the aircrewman shaking his head and pointing forward with a hand encased in green Nomex. This does not bode well. As I hunch over and make my way between the avionics racks it suddenly occurs to me that this is the aircraft being rented out for the day to a certain high ranking officer going through a refresher course. There is a sudden sinking suspicion that whatever I am about to encounter I am not going to like it in the least.
When I arrive a half-second later at the back of the cockpit and lean over the center console I notice the red warning light. I know why this light is there, I jack into the ICS and ask the HAC, (the high ranking officer and Helicopter Aircraft Commander,) what the problem is, which goes something along these lines:
"Yeah, we've got an IFF fail here."
"Hmm." Yurei flips a switch on the center console, extinguishing the light on the box. "There you go sir, anything else?"
"Son, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Flips switch back up, failure light goes back on about as quickly as Yurei realizes what it is that is going on here. This man is a student pilot at the moment and is going to make stupid student pilot mistakes. "This switch does not go there. We fly in LAMPS with that switch in the position that it is in right now. I thought I asked for an avionics tech."
"I am an avionics tech, sir." Yurei says with some reservation.
"Well, you know then that we don't fly with that switch there then, right?" The officer asks.
"Uhh sir, I don't mean to be impertinent but, the thing of it is if you don't have that switch in OUT then the fail light goes on." Attempting to be meek is doing nothing helpful. Mainly this is accomplishing not getting Yurei sent to talk to the Old Man and subsequently busted down. "This aircraft doesn't have the equipment installed to support that mode of operation. Furthermore I cannot install it due to type model compatibility."
"Do you know what you're doing?"
The somewhat crappy thing about being stuck in a situation like this is that you are legally required to happily smile and tolerate this sort of lunacy. The end argument to being in the military and dealing with a customer service type job is that no matter how bad it is, no matter how moronic the people you worked for: You asked for it, whether you knew at the time you signed the papers or not.
(However, I can report that due to this incident I was moved to mid-check as the supervisor and spent the next two years working in the middle of the night. Ahh, blessed silence.)