Here is my sighting of the one, on the Victorious 66/67 commission The last free take-off on the Vic, when we arrived back in the English channel in 67. The FDO LtCdr Robinson. Did a Free Takeoff with the last AEW Gannet to go ashore. He was lined up aft at the round down for an Axle deck launch. The Aircraft started to roll ok , But at about mid-ships she started to drift to port. as she passed the point wher the angle deck met the Fwd part of the main deck it was obvious her port wheel was about to go over the deck edge. As the A/C past the Port side Fwd Twin 3.5 Turret the wheel was just about over the edge. Luckly Robinson had gained enough Fwd speed to keep horizontal and get airborne on reaching the bow. We had just started to breath again when Commander Air (Promoted to Captain some months before) Piped, "That is the last time we will attempt that".
Last edited by david parry; 15th Apr 2010 at 10:31.
Perhaps not very informative...but I well remember accompanying the then FO Plymouth (VAdml SAC Cassels) to Culdrose in 1981 when Roger Dimmock was Captain and seeing a Gannet with wings extended and engines running outside a remote hangar.
I recall the Admiral and the Captain musing on the lack of AEW cover for the fleet and the possible use the Gannet might be in extremis. I seem to remember that the conversation was revived in '82, perhaps because FO Plymouth's SOO was an ex-Gannet pilot.
That was around the time when CAMBRIDGE was presumed to be Devonport's point AAW cover, IIRC.
Anybody care to add detail (contradictory or otherwise!)...?
Last edited by goofer; 14th Apr 2010 at 21:21.
Reason: Sorry wrong HERMES captain
Sorry to resurrect this, but something needs clarifying When the Falklands war kicked off, the Navy got the FAA Museum at Yeovilton to resurrect one of its AEW3 Gannets, using apprentices for labour. It was completed too late to take part, but when finshed was airworthy. Eventually it was sold for prop research, but I don't know if it was the one that went to Dowty-Rotol, or the one that went to Hamilton-Standard. They had to do a major hunt for parts, and found a cache of unused Mambas which had been purchased for potential conversion into electrical generators during the 1970's miners strikes Hamilton got XL482, while Dowty got XL500 - but I can't remember which was the one the museum rebuilt in a hurry Was one fixed at Yeovilton and one at Culdrose???
Stumbled on this thread and had forgotten my contribution of almost a year ago. The free take off from Hermes at anchorage in Langkawi (Jan 1969) was in fact not the COD but an AEW3 from 849B flight - I came across the b/w piccie in a montage of Hermes 68-69 commission- I'll have a go at uploading my piccie - haven't tried that on PPRuNe for a looooong time
There is an element of truth to the first post, but not from an ASW aspect (ASW Gannets were withdrawn early 1960s and had been superseded by various rotary's by the early '80s). The R.Navy was interested in the idea of being able to operate a couple of Gannet AEWs as airborne early warning for fast and low attackers against the fleet off the Falklands, some sources suggest that some of the losses, such as HMS Sheffield, wouldn't have happened had the type been available. Four Gannets were kept in LTS at Culdrose during that period, that is long term storage with the option to make serviceable at short notice, two of the Gannets, AEW.3s XL482 and XL500 would have been fit for the job, the other two were T.5 trainers, XG888 and XT752. My understanding is that the AN/APS-20F radar equipment in the AEWs had indeed been removed at that point for use with 8 Sqn Shackletons. I don't really know why the idea failed, but assume due to lack of any secure land base within range to operate from, and that the carriers were unable to support the type due to lack of catapult and arrester equipment and other mods.
The two Gannets pictured at Yeovilton, T.2 XA508 and T.5 XG883 weren't in any state to be made airworthy, and indeed not versions considered useful for operations.
Of the four Gannets in LTS, all had a happy and long life with three flying again, XL500 from Culdrose with Dowty Rotol, while XL482 was flown across to the States to be used by Hamilton Standard. XL500, XG888, & XT752 moved from LTS at Culdrose to storage at Lee-on-Solent c'85, before being disposed of c'95. Of course XT752 was recently airworthy in the States, and as with XL500 (which I'm involved with now), is currently being worked on to return to the air. XG888 was kept in very good condition and was taken by sea to Australia for display at Nowra, seem to remember mention of this one being made airworthy again at some point, but came to nothing.
Another twist to AN/APS-20 story, I was contacted a while back by someone who was sent to St Mawgan to investigate the use of the radar out of Shackleton WL795 which was being considered for ground use on the Falklands.
ZC, The Gannet AS.1 & T.2 was certainly RATOG capable for which I would assume clearance trials were held, but I've never seen reference to them or service use, hopefully someone here will know more?
Could somebody please help me with the correct aircraft markings for XL-500 when in service with 849 HQ flight in October 1963.
The nose number would have been 414 at that stage but how was the propeller boss marked for HQ flight ? (B flight = black and yellow / C Flight = black and white etc.) I assume the aircraft would have had CU for Culdrose on the tail.
Thanks for any help you can offer. I am having a model made for my father who was a "Looker" (SOBS) with 849 at that time and flew in that aircraft many times with the C/O Butch Barnard as pilot. I hope he is still around when XL-500 gets back in the air again.
Thank you for any help you can offer.
P.S. Lt. Cdr. Andy Robinson is my sisters Godfather !
Last edited by Zebra Child; 15th Jun 2012 at 01:50.
The Pilot's Notes for the Gannet ASR 1, T 2 & ASR 4 mention RATOG but other than where the cockpit switches are located give no details of its operation. RATOG is not mentioned in the notes for the AEW 3 or the T 5 so it seems the Admiralty didn't specify it for those marks.
Thanks Rosevidney1 ... what do you think the chances are that a AEW3 could get off Hermes with a 12 degree ski jump and RATOG ??? Or would the angle be all wrong for the "bump" and also exceed maximum "High Alpha" ? Just a theoretical question, looking back 30 years.