Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
Cruising back into Darwin just before dawn in September 1998 on the first operational use of NVG for RAAF Caribou. We had been out for about eight hours at low level, dropped off a patrol of "bad guys" (we were enemy air), and watching the NVG sunrise as we approached Darwin. You could see the 'sunrise' creeping in from the east - until you flipped the goggs up and realised it was still pitch black outside. After teaching night tactical nav by moonlight through an open cockpit window, it was a God-send to see what we were trying not to hit...
Early 80's, Biggin Hill OASC - as a naive 18 year old in my ill-fitting suit, walking out of the block towards the Mess for breakfast as the sun was rising early on a beautiful cold, crisp Autumn day. It had the unmistakable atmosphere that only traditional stations have - old brick buildings and barrack blocks, along with the beautiful waft of bacon and eggs cooking.
My first taste of life on an RAF station and enjoyed (nearly) every minute..
Laying in the grass on stag at a rail head near Hereford. The lights getting low, suddenly all hell breaks loose and a pair of Tornados come through the valley. presumably having targeted the facility and blow through with the burners on. Great feeling watching them do the business! Sounds corny I know, but it's what we were all there for.
If I am allowed another one. As the captain of the airborne spare Viictor for ihe Paris Air Show/Buccaneer crash mentioned earlier, seeing the looks of horror on the faces of the lead Victor crew as they climed out after the trip and then the relief when they learnt that the Bucc crew had survived
As a very green first-tour engineering officer in the 1960s, accompanying SASO on a post-servicing air test on the Auster AOP9 which was used as a hack by group headquarters. Numbers complete and noted, was amazed to be taught by said officer how to fly round a cumulus cloud with port wing inside the cloud, and cabin and starboard wing outside it.
Being given the phone from one of my staff nurse's when in charge of a major Cardiac and Chest ICU in the UK. She said it was the MoD checking about a young VSI patient who had been admitted following an RTA. They said it was to check his condition because his brother was far away in harms way. I replied he was a Comp A, knowing I'd set in motion a system that would bring his brother to his bedside soonest. Just the very humble and outsider now start of a long chain of amazing people. Best thing I'd done in many years, with just one phone call and the lad was eventually discharged from hospital.
Early morning in a vertical roll watching the snow topped mountainís being replaced by the white beach and blue yoggin on the wing tip. Feeling only as you have as a six, ten or 12 year old with that vibrancy of just being alive as if you can feel every molecule of air that you are breathing and every bit of sunlight touching you with this feeling being compounded and multiplied by getting out of a shite desk job and back into the air.
Watching fog spilling over an escarpment and flowing down onto the plains as the sun rose to crystallise and magnify the colours.
The sudden realisation that I was no longer working at it and that is was just happening which meant I was now a professional amongst the other professionalís.
And possibly more than anything else.......... being surrounded by like minded people.
I was a bit tense pre-solo in the Bulldog. An ex-Lightning Instructor took me up on his night SCT. "We aren't supposed to do night aeros any more. Here's my sequence". Next morning I went solo. Two days later I arrived at Binbrook on a week's visit. We spent the first 13 1/2 hours drinking as it was the Boss's leaving do. At the end of the week, thanks to an ex-UAS Sqn pilot, I was airborne in a Lightning. I got 15 minutes stick-time. When we landed, it was announced that Argentina had invaded the Falklands.
Hell of a week.
Last edited by Fox3WheresMyBanana; 25th Dec 2012 at 03:13.
Three of the ages of aviation man: Pulling the release knob in a glider and feeling the winch cable fall away. Sitting in the mid-upper turret of a Shackleton on a dark, dark, arctic night and looking down on the strength of those long tapering wings, the steady glow of the Griffons' exhaust stubs and up at the millions of stars stretching right down to the horizon. Sitting down with a Nimrod crew for a pre-dawn breakfast and realising that I hadn't put my teeth in. .
Hullavington Mess in the early 1960's - tea time and a steward enters the ante room bearing the first tray of toast. By the time he reaches the table the gannets (aka students) had swooped and cleared the lot.
231 OCU (canberra) - winter 1973ish...we were doing a 3 tank change outside (large bag tank in rear fuselage)...one of our sergeants was being helpful and taking a turn lacing up the tank,it was a very cold job and the snow was getting quite deep...so the rest of us repayed that kindness by rolling a huge snowball (at least 6 feet dia) and placing it behind his car... but what with the weight/pressure under that huge snowball...it froze solid to the ground and he could not move his car
Location: Why oh why would I wanna be anywhere else?
Honington. 0-dark-00, the night frost and the fog transformed to an eerie orange hemisphere with the Buccs lurking in the gloom and the shadows of the northern H dispersal. The flashing lights and the air of anticipation as the first of the nukes is trucked out from the SSA. Nobody allowed within the 'ring of steel' exclusion zone except for the cops and the plumbers and the certifying aircrew.
Exercise yes, but that was what we were there for if the real thing had happened.
2nd treasured memory: The trip in the BBMF Lancaster for the rehearsal for the RAF 75th at Marham. Was just before I left the RAF after 30 years and what a memory! The rehearsal was done in stupendous CAVOK weather but the 75th itself was an almost complete wash out.