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Old 14th Jun 2017, 00:27   #1 (permalink)
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Around The World @ 90 Kts

A friend of mine, 'Charlie DeHavilland', who lives in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, but keeps his Chippy in California (odd that! ) has been posting daily installments on FaceBook commemorating the flight around the world by two RAF Chipmunks in 1997 - Exercise Northern Venture.

Charlie has a particular interest in this epic flight, because he owns WP833, one of the two Chipmunks that flew around the world.

I felt his posts deserved a wider audience and so with his permission, I am going to re-post them here. The only things I will add are maps from gcmap.com and calculated average speeds.

Charlie started posting on 20 May and in his daily posts, the Chippies have reached Alaska, so I have a bit of catching up to do!



Around The World @ 90 Kts
ATW: 1997-05-20
As the Beatles once sang: “It was twenty years ago today …” – and it was twenty years ago today that two Chipmunks embarked on a global circumnavigation, Around The World, eastbound in the northern hemisphere.

Three bold Royal Air Force pilots, Squadron Leaders Tony Cowan, Ced Hughes and Bill Purchase, set off on ‘Exercise Northern Venture’ with two DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10s, accompanied throughout by two almost-as-bold chaps, Flying Officer Tony Severs and Mr. Dave Gill (only ‘almost-as-bold’ because they had two engines on their BN-2 Islander support ship!). Others accompanied them from time to time, as will be recorded.

The purpose of Northern Venture was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Chipmunk, and maybe forge a new GA route to North America across the Russian Federation – let me know how successful you think that has been!

I thought I might ‘post-blog’ this trip by providing a (brief) daily update so as to relate the tale of these three pilots and their support team who took on more discomfort than most of us would care to suffer (You think only two hours in a Chippie cockpit is a long time? – You want hot running water in your shower?? You want to eat regular meals???) to make a journey which will never be repeated and which set a number of unofficial records for that wonderful aeroplane which we all love to see and fly (no, not the Islander, though that too is a great plane, which passed its own 50th anniversary in 2016).

Btw, the Chippie’s 50th was of course in 1996, but nature intervened that year and the Exercise had to ‘RTB’ having only reached Moscow. Thanks to the persuasive efforts of those involved in the ’96 venture, a second attempt was organized, and succeeded, in 1997.

Disclaimer: anything published herein and hereafter in connection with the ATW exercise is of my own editorship, selection and phrasing, and is not endorsed by anyone actually involved with the event (just to keep their reputations intact).

The first day's flying:
Cranwell (EGYD - GB) – London City (EGLC - GB):
125nm; 1h30; Hughes (Lead - 962) / Purchase (#2 - 833)
London City (GB) – Manston (EGMH - GB):
50nm; 0h45; Cowan (962) / Purchase (833)
Manston (GB) – Munster (EDDG - DE):
255nm; 2h40; Purchase (833) / Cowan (962)



Here’s the ‘polar’ view of the route. Looks a bit like a squidged Africa, doesn’t it?


The blue ‘you are here’ is actually WP833’s present position.

If you want to put the whole trip into ForeFlight or your preferred aviators’ app, copy this:

EGYD EGLC EGMH EDDG EDDB EPWA EYVI ULOO UUEE UWKD 55.7875N/49.1953E UWKD USCC UNOO UNEE UNKM UNKS UIBB UIKK UERL UEEE 63.2430N/143.1730E UESU UESS UHMK UHMA UHMD PAOM PAGA PAEI PAOR CYXY CYQH CBF8 CYYE CYMM CYPA CYWG CYQT CYAM CYZD CYRO CYBG CYZV CYYR CZUM CYKL CYVP CYFB CYVM BGSF BGGH BGBW BGKK BIKF BIEG EKVG EGQK EGQL EGVA EGYW EGYD

Last minute preparations at Cranwell on 1997-05-19 - Ced Hughes (nearest) closes-up WP962 while Bill Purchase tends to 833, and the Red Arrows provide a backdrop.


Cranwell departure, 1997-05-20: Air Commodore Jon Ford, Commandant Air Cadets, and Bill Purchase share a last-minute laugh – the joke is, allegedly, “Check lipstick”.


The big send-off at EGLC. From here the flight headed down the Thames to Manston, where the crews consolidated everything, took a breath, and then set forth in earnest.


‘Scrambled egg’ and luminaries on the pan at EGLC. Not really a great shot, except for the additional opportunity to go ‘Aahhhhh, de Havilland’!!


Three RAF Chipmunk pilots outside the Hotel Zur Post, Munster (DE).

They were accompanied by Air Training Corp Cadet Warrant Officer Steve Kirtley (leftmost) and Tony Severs (Islander pilot, and incidentally the only pilot in the team who actually flew the WHOLE way Around The World - rightmost).

Also accompanying them was Corporal Steve Spencer, photographer and presumably the man behind this photo.

Dave Gill must have been inside, buying the beer!



Day 1: EGYD-EGLC-EGMH-EDDG 430 nm, 4.92 hrs, GS 87 kts. Cumulative 430 nm, 4.92 hrs, Average GS 87 kts.
Note: The distances are from Charlie's post. They don't always agree with the gcmap distances.

Last edited by India Four Two; 20th Jun 2017 at 06:46.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 16:09   #2 (permalink)
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Day 2 - 1997-05-21

ATW Retro-blog (purely for Chris's benefit): 1997-05-21
Munster (DE) – Berlin Schönefeld (EDDB – DE)
233nm; 2h20; Cowan (962) / Hughes (833)

Delayed by WX until the afternoon, so just a hop to Schönefeld. A largely uneventful day, apart from their wx briefing that morning which was, allegedly, conducted by the most flamboyant meteorologist of the whole ‘Around The World’ trip: silver nail polish, long bouffant hairdo, earrings, gorgeous blouse and shining silk trousers rounded-off with chunky high heels. The overall image was somewhat tarnished by the fact that, having been on duty overnight, HE was badly in need of a shave!

[Hey, I'm not making this up!]



Day 2: EDDG-EDDB 233 nm, 2.33 hrs, GS 100 kts. Cumulative 663 nm, 7.25 hrs, Average GS 91 kts.

Last edited by India Four Two; 20th Jun 2017 at 06:47.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 17:44   #3 (permalink)
 
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Was fortunate to meet Tony Cownan shortly after this epic event when he was still with 5 AEF and I was sorting the paperwork to place one of the Chippies in the RAFM. He was kind enough to present me with a signed copy of the book about the flight. Happy days.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 19:15   #4 (permalink)
 
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I42 - keep this going, please.

I'm starting to think every Chipmunk person in the whole world knows "Charlie"...
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 23:38   #5 (permalink)
 
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I am with Dora-9, keep feeding us more stories!

At 90 kts at least you wouldn't get jet lag, but being a DH product you would get a wet backside or feet or a combination of both and the heater would fail on the coldest sector!
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 19:04   #6 (permalink)
 
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Ced taught me to fly the Chippy as a staff cadet, then let me fly cadets as a qualified RAF pilot, Tony Cowan let me scare him from the back seat, Bill let me fly his Grob and Sevs taught me to fly the Wessex. Bill's ac is on the RCAF museum in Trenton Canada. I've flown all the Northern Venture Chippies. If I ever have the dosh, I'd love a Chippie

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Old 15th Jun 2017, 20:17   #7 (permalink)
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Day 3: 1997-05-22

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-22
Grounded at Berlin due low OVC & RA. Chipmunks kept dry in a Lufthansa Technik hangar.
Sadly ironic, since this was the Chipmunk’s birthday, the venture's raison d'etre. Ziemlich beschißen!

Last edited by India Four Two; 16th Jun 2017 at 04:47.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 20:20   #8 (permalink)
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Day 4: 1997-05-23

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-23
Schönefeld (DE) – Warsaw (EPWA – PL)
283nm; 3h25; Hughes (833) / Purchase (962)

Rain and low vis initially - not off until just after mid-day. WP962 giving cause for concern as its oil pressure fluctuated between 40 and 60 psi (Vicar - take note!!).

This was Cadet Warrant Officer Stephen Kirtley's final leg before returning to the UK, so he was given the right seat of the Islander and allowed to practice his flying skills. Polish beer was given top marks.


Sunshine at last, at Warsaw


Day 4: EDDB-EPWA 283 nm, 3.42 hrs, GS 83 kts. Cumulative 946 nm, 10.67 hrs, Average GS 89 kts.

Last edited by India Four Two; 20th Jun 2017 at 06:49.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 20:23   #9 (permalink)
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Day 5: 1997-05-24

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-24

A planned non-flying day. Attempts to get out the following day were thwarted by bureaucrats who couldn’t possibly bring forward the scheduled transit through Lithuanian airspace, so nothing was going to happen until Monday 26th.

This gave Dave Gill the opportunity to address the oil problem on ’962, replacing the oil relief valve, which was found to be badly scored and corroded.

’833 gets TLC from DG.

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Old 15th Jun 2017, 20:25   #10 (permalink)
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Day 6: 1997-05-25

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-25
Stuck in Warsaw, so why not go sightseeing?


Old Town Market Place, Warsaw, completely rebuilt after WWII.


Warsaw War Memorial and 24-hour guard.

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Old 15th Jun 2017, 20:29   #11 (permalink)
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Day 7: 1997-05-26

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-26
Warsaw (PL) – Vilnius (EYVI – LT)
235nm; 2h25; Purchase (833) / Hughes (962)
Vilnius (LT) – Pskov (ULOO – RU)
230nm; 2h20; Cowan (962) / Hughes (833)

The usual administrative hassles in Vilnius. On arrival at Pskov, RU customs functions were perfunctory and no entry forms were completed (file this for future reference). The Russian Air Force had furnished a ‘navigator’, one Major Yuri Vostroknukov, who got a surprise to find the support ship was a BN-2, having equipped himself with baggage for a C-130. Most of that got left behind!

The team also discovered the common eastern bloc practice of showing hotel prices in US$, expecting to be paid in roubles, and charging at least double for non-Russians, in addition to it typically requiring three people to (1) make a booking, (2) make payment and (3) receive a room key. Facilities were ‘acceptable’.

Pskov airfield


Maj. Yuri Vostroknukov – lying on one of the Chipmunk canopy covers!!


Day 7: EPWA-EYVI-ULOO 465 nm, 4.75 hrs, GS 98 kts. Cumulative 1411 nm, 15.42 hrs, Average GS 92 kts.

Last edited by India Four Two; 20th Jun 2017 at 06:50.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 20:34   #12 (permalink)
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Day 8: 1997-05-27

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-27
Pskov (RU) – Moscow Sheremetyevo (UUEE – RU)
360nm; 4h05; Hughes (833) / Purchase (962)

Procedural conflict to start with: ATC insisted the aircraft fly at 3,300m altitude along airways; aircrew insisting they could not do that, having no oxygen and the aircraft not being equipped to follow airways. The compromise was to fly ‘as high as possible’ and report “Level 3,300m”. - and remain clear of cloud. Fueling and settling bills took an age and they finally departed 5 hours after arriving at the airport. Such practices were to be the norm across Russia.

ATC insisted on vectoring the flight some 30 miles off course and then towards Sheremetyevo for a close base and landing, in between commercial traffic. Met by the British Air Attaché who had four 25 litre drums of oil , to be stowed in the Islander, for consumption by the Chipmunks.

Unusual visitors at the Sheremetyevo Business Terminal


Islander and a Tu-154 [a jump-seat ride on which is quite an experience, trust me!]


Day 8: ULOO-UUEE 360 nm, 4.08 hrs, GS 88 kts. Cumulative 1771 nm, 19.5 hrs, Average GS 91 kts.

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Old 16th Jun 2017, 04:43   #13 (permalink)
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Day 9: 1997-05-28

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-28

A day frustrated by bureaucracy, described by one team member as “swimming in treacle”. A route had been ‘selected’ for them in advance – no matter that it didn’t include anywhere with Avgas available! Repeat of the previous discussion re. flight procedures and an agreement again to report “at 3,300m”, irrespective of actual altitude. This was of no real concern with regards to other traffic, since everything else in Russian airspace would be cruising at 3,300m or above.

Finally it is determined that they can depart in the morning for Bykovo, and then Kazan, both of which have Avgas available.

The opportunity was taken at the end of the day for a little sight-seeing.

The Kremlin – presumably taken from the Brit Embassy.


Like it says, Hotel Ukraina


Собор Василия Блаженного (You know the name of this place in your own language, surely?)
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 04:45   #14 (permalink)
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Day 10: 1997-05-29

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-29 (Day#10, for those not counting)

More frustration … On arrival at Sheremetyevo airport they’re told that Bykovo has no Avgas and the nearest airfield with any is Kazan, 415nm down-route. For the venture to continue there would be no option but to fuel the Chipmunks with the highest available octane Mogas. (Whilst traversing Russia it became SOP to take-off and approach/land on the wing tanks filled with Avgas and cruise on Mogas from the aux tank.)

Ced Hughes was despatched with jerry cans to make three runs to get the Mogas. The actual fuel cost was about $140, but after charges levied by airport personnel for the driver, gate official, fuel office and ‘security’, it came to a total of $600, for just 36 Imperial gallons. One almost has to admire such inventiveness!

These delays leave insufficient time to launch for Kazan today. Later there appears to be some positive signs when an Air Force Major General gets involved and visits the team in the evening. Perhaps ‘the authorities’ are now taking an interest and wanting to see things succeed.

Corporal Steve Spencer returned to the UK on a commercial flight. Now its down to the core team of five, plus Major Yuri.

Authorization for the journey across Russia, including an exhortation to “help the British Military wherever possible”. In practice, this was oft met with the response “We’re a long way from Moscow here, and we do as we please”!!

Last edited by India Four Two; 16th Jun 2017 at 05:03.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 05:02   #15 (permalink)
 
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Charlie is here too !

Good morning India Four Two. Great job you are doing here. Keep up the good work.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 05:14   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks Charlie. I'm slowly catching up with your FB posts!
I42

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-30 (Day#11)
Sheremetyevo (RU) – Kazan (UWKD – RU)
415nm; 3h50; Purchase (833) / Cowan (962)
Kazan (RU) – Kazan-2 (uncoded – RU) – Kazan (RU)
26nm; 0h20; Cowan (962) / Hughes (833)

Usual admin delays at Sheremetyevo, plus negotiation of a US$2,000 charge for spilling Avjet on the tarmac! Reduced to US$80 after a strong rebuttal by Bill Purchase, blaming it on inefficient fueling facilities.
Once on their way, 120kts GS indicated on the very capable GNS 250 [still works to this day!] as the flight traversed a land of fertile cultivated fields. On arrival Kazan, no sign of the promised Avgas, but it was available at Kazan-2, just 13 nm away, so a round-trip was made to uplift fuel.
Only a Mars bar for lunch, so by the end of the day a dinner of salad and chicken, once checked in to the hotel, was welcome.

Dave Gill, Tony Cowan and Ced Hughes (rightmost, overseeing) put ‘Lada Juice’ into 833’s aux tank.


An inquisitive crowd at Kazan


Day 11: UUEE-UKWD-Kazan 2-UKWD 441 nm, 4.17 hrs, GS 106 kts. Cumulative 2212 nm, 23.67 hrs, Average GS 93 kts





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Old 16th Jun 2017, 05:37   #17 (permalink)
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ATW Retro-blog: 1997-05-31 (Day#12)
Kazan (RU) – Chelyabinsk (USCC - RU)
436nm; 4h10; Cowan (962) / Hughes (833)

Left-over chicken (now cooked in a batter and billed as ‘chicken-burgers') was not so welcome for breakfast, but it ‘filled a hole’.
Crossing the Urals, the team left Europe and began their traverse of Asia. The airport hotel proved to be well-equipped with working showers AND loo paper (very unusual, hence there was a sizable stash in the Islander)!
The evening meal saw the town’s complete stock of beer depleted by the team – all six cans!!

The Islander on the Chelyabinsk dispersal. Note the list of sponsors on its flank.


Yuri gets interviewed at Chelyabinsk by the local press.


Day 12: UKWD-USCC 436 nm, 4.17 hrs, GS 105 kts. Cumulative 2648 nm, 27.84 hrs, Average GS 95 kts.




Last edited by India Four Two; 20th Jun 2017 at 06:53.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 05:54   #18 (permalink)
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Day 13: 1997-06-01

ATW Retro-blog: 1997-06-01 (Day#13)
Chelyabinsk (RU) – Omsk (UNOO – RU)
412nm; 3h40; Hughes (833) / Purchase (962)

Yuri proved his worth – the hotel didn’t serve any food until noon, but he arranged breakfast in the airport VIP lounge, with “lashings of ham and eggs”.

Once airborne, the flight enjoyed tremendously clear visibility and a tail wind which at times gave the Chipmunks a GS of 142kts. That same wind though became less favourable on arrival at Omsk, where it presented a 35 kt cross-wind. Having arrived in the Islander some 30 minutes ahead of the Chipmunks, Yuri and Tony Cowan were able to scout-out a transverse patch of 2ft-high grass at one end of the runway. It wasn’t a very long roll-out for the Chipmunks!

Without transport to the town, 1 hour away, the team checked-in to the local hotel: no showers, questionable quality of water, a single loo described as ‘unsavoury’. Again Yuri came up trumps on the catering front, organizing an exotic meal in the Omsk airport VIP lounge.

Omsk tie-downs.


The single-loo ‘hotel’ by the airport [don’t think this place got a Michelin anything].


[Incidentally, this narrative started on 05-20 by stealing the opening line of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band:
Well, “It was **FIFTY** years ago **TODAY** ” … that that album was released. That seems incredible.]


Day 13: USCC-UNOO 412 nm, 3.67 hrs, GS 112 kts. Cumulative 3060 nm, 31.51 hrs, Average GS 97 kts.




Last edited by India Four Two; 20th Jun 2017 at 06:54.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 09:22   #19 (permalink)
 
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A great trip. However no way is it "around the World".
Google the rules on records (yes, I know they were not claiming one)
Crossing the Equator is barely enough, antipodal point would be better.
Again, a great trip in older aircraft.
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Old 16th Jun 2017, 23:59   #20 (permalink)
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Tankengine,

I appreciate your point, but having done two 1100 nm trips at 90 kts, I have great admiration for this team and as far as I am concerned, the trip definitely qualifies as "Around The World".
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