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.
My father flew the Meatbox F4 with 502 (Ulster) RAAF in the early 50's. He has told me that this was a very unpleasant experience. I flew the Victor B1a in the 70s. Assy. overshoots heavy at night were plain dangerous but we still did them even after a PR Mk. 2 went in at Wattisham doing the same exercise in daylight. Needless to say there were no survivors. I resigned from 232 OCU and am here to tell the tale.
I had been searching for some info on this plane crash, I worked at R.A.F. Strubby as an operations clerk and remember how deeply upset we all were at the deaths of FS Black and his crew whom I believe was a Squadron leader. En route to Strubby tower from Manby, I remember seeing the Padre outside married quarters, in all probability that of FS Black. From time to time the controller would allow me to give Foxtrot Golf his taxiing instructions,(I am sure that was his call sign). Thankyou for your entry, I feel a little closer to the past now but still regret the deaths of these two good men. Anna.
I was Instructing at the School of Refresher Flying in the early '70s and we had to, as part of the syllabus, go up to FL 350 (ish) in the (unpressurised) Jet Provost Mk 4. Try doing that 3 times a day!!
"Jock" Black was my instructor when I did the refresher course at Strubby in 1960/61. Although tacitern on the ground he came to life in the air and was an excellent teacher. I believe the story at the time was that the sortie was one that included a test of the students assymetric minima which could have gone horribly wrong.
I was intrigued to find this website a couple of weeks ago. In consequence, this is my first entry. This forum brought back many memories. I was the Station Adjutant at Manby from 1960 to 1962. In consequence I knew many of the folk from Strubby as it was a satellite base of Manby.
On completion of my ground tour I also went through the Meteor Refresher. My instructor (Fg Off Lamont) had been a student of mine when I was instructing at CFS. These couple of months were my last contact with the Meteor. My main Meteor experiences were between May 1952 and May 1955 when I converted to them at 203 AFS Driffield before going on to 541(PR)Squadron in Germany. I may post some more memories about these earlier days when I get the hang of posting items to this forum.
Happy memories of Strubby and the nissen hutted Messes (only the Officers' Mess had messing and accommodation in '64, the others just provided food). Seem to remember that the first into the block would switch off the other half's radiators as the system was not man enough to do all the radiators. Great bar with Les looking after us AFTS students.
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
My instructor (Fg Off Lamont) had been a student of mine when I was instructing at CFS.
f11367c29261da620e61, if that's the Colin Lamont who later flew the Meteor T7 with the Vintage Pair, his final RAF years were as the DCFI and IRE at the University of London Air Squadron. He then became an Oxfordshire County Councillor for Harwell, before retiring finally in 2009.
If you look under 'Share Holders' on the fascinating Jever Steam Laundry website Jever Steam Laundry - Home Page , you should be able to find his current details - and a mugshot taken quite a few years ago!
There I was, Tengah 1960 with 60 Sqn meteor 14's. Arrived line late January after "cruising" with the Oxfordshire for three weeks with 500 non fare paying passengers ! First job help removed the wing drop tanks. First thing, make sure that they are empty! Next action hold onto the front and back end of the tank. Next sound is the ventral tank hitting the ground. Woop! Wrong handle. Vision of the ventral tank lying there leaking fuel from many rivets, and nobody spoke a word !! Happy days on 60 with the Meteors then after a year the Javs arrived
I have just reincarnated myself to this user name, as my rather inept initial registration landed me with an unintelligible string of characters. (Starting with f11367c2926 etc.)
My instructor at the School of Refresher Flying at Stubby was Colin Lamont. however I have no record of what he got up to after I left.
Finding this site inspired me to get a copy of 'Meteor Eject' by Nick Carter. Before this I was begining to wonder if some of my memories were a figment of my imagination as they seemed so unlikely by modern day standards.
The story of the the meteor that collided with a fish train on the appraoach to Full Sutton airfield is of particular significance to me. The student in question was Lou Levitt who was a great friend of mine throughout nearly all my Meteor days. Poor Lou was extremely accident prone. While returning from the Canal Zone, after one of our regular detachments to 13Sqn, he had a mid air collison over the Med causing the other pilot eject and spend some hours in his dinghy before being recsued by a ship heading for Bizerte. Lou managed to land at Istres in th eSouth of France with a bit of tailplane protruding from his nose cone. Both pilots were relatively unscahthed.
By coincidence they both arrived back on the squadron on the same day, but Lou had scars all over his face. He was cycling back to Istres in the dark after a visit to the town when he hit a pile of gravel, sending him, over the handlebars headfirst into the gravel.
Later he crashed his car fracturing a few bones.
Sadly he did not survive his last accident in 1956 when he was the Meteor 7 display pilot at the Battle of Britain open day at Worksop Airfield. I understand that the horn balance on the elevator came adrift when pulling out of a loop, leaving him no elevator control. He plowed almost vertically into the ground in front of the crowd.
Lou was a sad loss, a more amiable chap you could not hope to meet.
If any one of the era want's the picture below (118 of 300), please drop me a note. Framed as shown. Framed, non-reflective glass. Contribution to Home for Heroes. Collection (Brighton) or postage paid (I ain't that rich...) Only to a good home...
Thanks for putting me straight on the date of Lou Levitt's accident. I remember Dave Goodsir ringing me up to tell me while I was a QFI at RAF Ternhill. (1956 to 1958) I thought it was nearer the beginning of my tour.
Having just revisited PPRuNe. I thought I would post another memory to see if anyone remembers the occasions.
In March 1952 on returning from No.4 FTS at RAF Heany, Southern Rhodesia I went to RAF Moreton in Marsh for acclimatisation training (to get used to UK weather). Whiile there I learnt that I was to be posted to RAF Driffield for conversion to Meteors (Mk4). On the last few days of the course we were told that a Meteor was due in. All of us who were scheduled for Meteors rushed out to the tarmac to witness the event. We watched in awe as the meteor turned onto finals. To our complete horror the aircraft entered a steep diving curve and crashed about half a mile from the end of the runway. The pilot (a RAF Doctor. I think Doc Mack) was killed. Not a very good introduction to the Meteor.
On arrival at Driffield things didn't get much better. I remember well that when it came round to the Night Flying phase the instructor warned us to 'listen up good' as the last three courses had all killed someone on Night flying. The odds were not good as there were just ten of us on the course. Luckily we all survived as it was decided that flame out single engine landings at night were just too dangerous for us fledgeling pilots.
I then went to RAF Bassingbourn to convert to the Meteor PR Mk10, before being posted to No.541 PR Squadron at to RAF Gutrersloh.
I've only just joined and feel compelled to correct some errors in previous entries and (I hope) put the Meteor record straight as far as I can. Apologies to people who have already posted corrections.
Firstly, the u/c and airbrake controls were completely different. The first was vetically mounted in front of one's left knee and moved up and down. The second was by one's left forearm and slid horizontally.
Secondly, the double fatality night at Westonzoyland, where I was flying myself. A student landed wheels-up forcing two other aircraft to divert to Merryfield where there was a sudden weather deterioration with fog and low cloud. Two pilots (P/O's Tilley and Fry, both Halton "brats") were misled by lights and flew into the ground. No-one else was involved.
Finally, the Meteor was very easy to fly on one engine (2,000 more RPM on the live engine and exactly the same circuit pattern. Unfortunately the service had an obsession with asymmetric overshoots which were really hard work due to the footloads involved, especially if the u/c and flaps were down because the starboard engine, which powered the hydraulics, were shut down. What many people didn't realise (sadly at the cost of their lives) was that it was absolutely fatal to use aileron when you ran out of rudder control. The very first fatal accident at Westonzoyland saw a Meteor 7 spin into the ground while on Exercise 3, the medium level asymmetric lesson on the syllabus, obviously because of aileron use when rudder authority had run out. Unfortunately Pilots Notes actually suggested use of a small amount of aileron which was the fist step on a disastrous path. Life would have been much safer if people simply resigned themselves to landing alongside a blocked runway or (if too fast) running slowly off the far end.
I hope that this info. will be of help to others. I'ts surprising to see how these events all those years ago still capture the imagination !
Was wondering whether anyone on the forum could let me have any details of an accident that occured on 1st April 1955 at Worksop.Flying Officer Stan Jenkins was killed together with I believe a student.Stan was my uncle's closest friend,both of them having been boy entrants at Halton,done their basic flight training together before my uncle was chopped and re-streamed as a flight engineer.Stan gained his wings and went on to become a flying instructor.