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Old 16th Mar 2009, 00:47   #101 (permalink)
 
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Sorry ZFT, all the contemporaneous magazines mention only the tailplane.

The fin would probably have been useless due to stress caused by the shock of the rear fuselage hitting the ground when the aircraft was demolished causing both twisting and lateral impact damage.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 14:05   #102 (permalink)
 
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When a RAF VC10 goes into the hangar at St Athan for it's 5-yearly deep servicing, the tailplane is removed at quite an early stage and is then given lengthy refurbishment. I'm sure that any contributors to this forum who work at DARA will be able to correct me, but I think that a newly-refurbished tailplane removed from the previous aircraft is then fitted to the current "patient". I also heard a story that the RAF originally purchased a spare tailplane to allow this process to happen. Notwithstanding that particular rumour, the number of airframes that the RAF has aquired/scrapped would have easily enabled such component swapping to take place from the early-80's onwards.

The fin (definitely not "the vertical stablizer" ) remains firmly attached during the major service and I believe that the only time a fin-change has been required was after the BAe test crew nearly crashed the first K2 tanker during the flight trials - although, again, I am open to correction.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 21:40   #103 (permalink)
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Go on....what happened?
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 17:45   #104 (permalink)
 
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Unhappy Tailplane

The rumour about the spare tailplane was true.

I saw it in store at 30MU (Sealand) in the late 70s. I was intrigued as to what aircraft had a white, one piece wing (it appeared to be the size of the Hunter wing) so asked the suppliers what it was - nobody knew!

Got the Section/Ref and identified it from that.

On a job to Filton I saw the "twisted" fin and asked about that. The engineer I was working with said it had been twisted in an over enthusiastic missle avoidance trial!
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 23:28   #105 (permalink)
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I'm told it was a surreal experience setting up the rear periscope and viewing the fin during Dutch roll training. The gyrations of the fin and tailplane were apparently extraordinary. I knew if I once viewed it, I wouldn't be happy flying it again! We did have a possible wheel problem in the Gulf once, and being 3rd pilot that leg, I went down into the electronics bay and dropped the periscope down to have a look at the wheels. It was set for vertical viewing and I was astonished to see us passing right over and along BAH runway, quite by coincidence.

The previous post does draw attention to the incredibly elegant design of the tailplane and fin. When you saw the detached tailplane, it had almost Spitfire-wing ellegance, totally artistic lines. I look up at the Boeing tailplanes these days and just sigh at their complete triumph of utilitarianism and functionalism over style! They just don't have the poetry!
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 06:36   #106 (permalink)
 
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I believe that the BAe flight-test crew were engaged in high-speed flutter trials with the first K2 tanker conversion ZA141 (formerly G-ARVG) . The aircraft was oversped in a dive and the crew deployed full speedbrake. This, of course, moved the centre-of-pressure rapidly aft and pitched the nose even further down. The pull-out from the resulting dive overstressed the aircraft and the fin broke at a previously undetected crack. The tail was removed and replaced with that from the RAE Bedford aircraft XX914 (formerly G-ATDJ).

As a result of this incident RAF VC10s were fitted with a baulk to physically prevent full speedbrake deployment above 15,000 feet. This device is a simple hinged plate that the crew fold into postion during the climb checks. It can be removed to allow full speedbrake deployment below 15,000 ft and is confirmed as "out" during the landing checks.

Observation from the periscope also shows how much of pounding the tail structure takes as the aircraft is taking on fuel inflight.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 08:09   #107 (permalink)
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You can read about the K1 incident in Brian Trubshaw's autobiog, though he wasn't a member of the crew. I think the details differ a little from Brain Potter's account, but the essential story is the same.

I expect the return to Filton was a little anxious!

The VC-10 is certainly the most beautiful airliner (for a jet that is), better I think than Concorde.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 11:20   #108 (permalink)
 
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Here is one I took at Harare in 1979 during the arrival of the "Monitoring Force"

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Old 18th Mar 2009, 18:37   #109 (permalink)
 
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I remember being quite surprised by the amount of movement I saw in the tail assembly of the Super VC10 during an enthusiastic short landing on one of its early appearances at Farnborough!
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 22:22   #110 (permalink)
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That's a lot of mass perched up there on top of the fin, near tremendous air loads and vibration from the engines (think reverse thrust). They would shake around, and in the air doing flight manouevres. The DC9 series look bad too, with their very thin airfoil sections and elevators that appear to move independently of their own volition on the ground!

The most efficient part of the VC10 and the 1-11 was their sheer ability to convert fuel more efficiently than anything else directly to sound energy! In the case of the VC10, a little got converted to thrust as well.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 22:44   #111 (permalink)
 
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Just out of interest and at the risk of thread drift (and this thread has wandered a bit already!) mention of DC9 elevators reminded me of something I've never cleared up.

From the 1960s to the 1990s I regularly saw DC9s in service around Europe and the USA. Often when parked at a gate one elevator would be up, the other down as if they were decoupled. Don't recall seeing this on any other type, T tail or not.

Anyone know the reason, if this was just a DC9 phenomenon and why?
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 22:49   #112 (permalink)
 
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One is Avionics so please excuse any errors in terminology.

DC-9 series aircraft do not have powered Elevators, they use Servo Tabs ? and therefore assume random positions when at rest. Airflow is needed for them to work normally.

This has been covered on multiple previous occasions.
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 09:22   #113 (permalink)
 
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Yes - the DC-9's elevators effectively 'float' and are manually powered by their servo tabs. Any forward airflow will tend to align them flat, but parked on a stand with a wind from behind and they'll each be blown either full up or down - often in different directions.
You'd have thought actually there'd be gust locks as a strong gust would surely damage an elevator at it's stops ?
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 12:03   #114 (permalink)
 
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Thanks Wodrick and DH106.
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 12:57   #115 (permalink)
 
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The VC10 tailplane is, in fact, bigger in span than a Phantom's wingspan!

I'm told by a chum, who did a BAC university sandwich course and worked on the EAAC Super VC10s at Brooklands, that on top of the tailplane was a good place to snooze off the effects of a good lunch without 't management spotting you.

He also told me that a colleague had pinched some VC10-destined Skydrol to use in his car's brake system. It got about half a mile before all the seals failed - and was a bit of a bugger to stop as he'd also used some in his clutch system - which had also failed in gear. Some cursing, swearing and lots of handbrake finally stopped it, whereupon it sat in a puddle of red gloop!
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 13:21   #116 (permalink)
 
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Indeed, it was the buffeting from the the four Conway's reverse thrust! I believe that there was an important foreign delegation in the President's tent and the pilot (i can't remember if it was Jock Bryce or Brian Trubshaw) put on a display of some verve, followed by a short stop in front of said tent, probably helping to secure an order in the Middle East or Africa.

Last edited by SincoTC; 19th Mar 2009 at 18:14. Reason: to correct typo!
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 14:45   #117 (permalink)
 
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I once took some BAe structural engineers on a tanking trip. They came along to see the effects of receiving on the tail assembly - pertinent as the tailplane sits in the efflux from the tanker's jetpipes. I had a look through the aft periscope while we were in contact and I can say I was "impressed" by what I saw. The whole tail assembly seemed to be flexing about a foot. But it wasn't that the engineers were concerned about. They seemed to think the tail could take it. What they were worried about was they way we were using the taiilplane incidence - in short bursts rather than longer applications. The stop-start nature of the short applications was stressing the mecahnism apparently.
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Old 20th Mar 2009, 05:13   #118 (permalink)
 
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The description of the ZA141 incident came from those who were flying the aircraft in the service at the time. Of course it may have become over-embellished by numerous crewroom and classroom re-tellings; no doubt this version also contains touch of antipathy towards BAe and feelings of schadenfraude towards the "higher-beings" of the test pilot world. On the other hand, Brian Trubshaw's account, written with the bias of the project manager, may have been slightly modified to spare the blushes of his colleagues. It is all water-under-the-bridg, happily no one was hurt and the jet went on to give nearly 20 years more service.

Dan,

Of course there is slightly less TPI use if one holds the out-of-trim force when in-contact whilst quickly getting ones's 10 strikes. But an AARI would never do that would he?.....
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Old 21st Mar 2009, 00:18   #119 (permalink)
 
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g/day all.did boac and british airways use the vc10 on their round the world service? i think it went out via the usa down to NZ and home via australia and the middle east.i seem to remember BA had another service using vc10s from joburg -seychelles to india or singapore.
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Old 21st Mar 2009, 08:49   #120 (permalink)
 
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G/day wayoutwest ...

In the early 70s, a typical VC10 westbound service operated as BA591 LHR-JFK-LAX-HNL-NAN-MEL and returned as BA592 MEL-SYD-NAN-HNL-LAX-JFK-LHR. For crews, it was a 15/16-day trip.

Around the same time, a typical eastbound service might have been LHR-BEY-BAH-CCU-SIN-PER-SYD; however, at that time there was great variety of different routes and stops through Europe and the Middle East.

The VC10 service across the Indian Ocean operated initially NBO-SEZ-CMB-HKG-TYO and back, and then later out of SA as JNB-SEZ-CMB-HKG-TYO and return. SEZ-HKG/HKG-SEZ was BA940/941, HKG-TYO/TYO-HKG BA910/911 and the NBO-SEZ/SEZ-NBO flight number varied, according to the LHR-NBO service that it extended.

The first services to SEZ on the VC10 were, I believe, in 1971; I first visited SEZ in July 1972.


JD

Last edited by Jumbo Driver; 21st Mar 2009 at 09:15. Reason: More info ...
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