PPRuNe Forums


Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 27th Nov 2008, 07:27   #1 (permalink)
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: The Land of the Sabbath and of the Priest
Posts: 109
It was 30 years ago today...

A black day for the Fleet Air Arm - the last launch of the Buccaneers and Phantoms from HMS Ark Royal, delivered to RAF St Athan and future service with the RAF.

Seen at a cold St Athan:




Buccaneers were the first to arrive:



Seen carrying refuelling pods:




Later in the day the Phantoms arrived:




A significant day.
Chairborne 09.00hrs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 08:18   #2 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: shrewsbury
Posts: 332
A sad day indeed.

A lot of discussion has taken place over the years stating that the Ark should have been kept in commission.

Talking to an ex RAF toom pilot that flew off the Ark during that last commission, he states that the ship was pretty far gone with serious hull problems and compartments filled with concrete etc. So to keep her going without a lengthy and very expensive refit would have been impossible.

Is this correct?

If true it still doesn't excuse the fact that her replacement should have been ready by then!
dakkg651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 08:33   #3 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: At the bottom of a pint of Spingo
Age: 45
Posts: 116
By all accounts it was pretty tired at the end of the 70's.

A friend of my parents' was serving on 824 NAS on the Ark and he said that a bulkhead (?) had cracked in rough seas.

Big shame though
NickB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 09:06   #4 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: firmly on dry land
Age: 73
Posts: 1,534
Chap in our club was on her last commission. It was SOP to secure all water tight doors in unmanned compartments below the water line. before going below you needed clearance from Damage Control. On more than one occasion he opened a hatch to find the water level was the same as outside.

I remember her laid up on the slips for years before they eventually go down to completing her.
Wader2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 09:47   #5 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Colditz young offenders centre
Posts: 220
Well the crazy thing is that if all the money that had been spent re-engining the F4s with Spey engines, supposedly to enable them to fly off a boat the size of the Ark, had instead been spent on new build ships, the navy could have had three new carriers. But instead the money that was spent went to make work in the aircraft industry, and nothing too wrong with that I suppose; it seems it's the job of government to bail out struggling institutions.

However, what is odd is the industry chosen to be subsidised, in this case aircraft , rather than the shipyards. And that choice was made by the then Labour government , which according to PPRuNe myth and legend, is historically subservient to the wishes of the unions.
Jetex Jim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 10:14   #6 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: shrewsbury
Posts: 332
I always laugh at the part in Brian Davies' book 'Fly no More' when the F4K was experiencing even worse pitch up problems on launch than the USN Phantoms. Any slight rearward stick movement during the launch would cause a severe overrotation even with the extended nosewheel strut. A hands-off technique ala Buccaneer did not prevent the problem either because the stick would move on its own due to the violent acceleration required on the Ark's relatively short stroke catapults.

The solution was typically British. A Stick Positioning Device (SPD) was installed to keep the control column in the optimum position for launch. It consisted of a small metal ring on the end of a piece of cord which pulled out of the bottom of the instrument panel and hooked onto the front of the pole. I think this device must have had a weak link in it somewhere otherwise a pitch down on launching would have been exciting!

Any ex naval Phantom drivers out there remember this device?
dakkg651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 13:36   #7 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Not Ardua enough
Posts: 266
Didn't the Sea Harrier have this too ? Don't ask me why...
ARINC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 21:07   #8 (permalink)

 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: London
Posts: 389
Quote:
A friend of my parents' was serving on 824 NAS on the Ark and he said that a bulkhead (?) had cracked in rough seas
Thats not unusual..... Cracks in the bilkhead are normal. I once knew of a ship that had a crack along the flight deck which was fixed by welding a railway track along the crack....worked a treat
spheroid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 21:17   #9 (permalink)

 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: London
Posts: 389
Quote:
No phantom or bucc ever saw significant action

Quite true................. apart from.....


Vietnam
Korea
Arab Israeli conflict
Gulf war 1
Iran- Iraq war..... there must be some more.....Does anyone else have any scrapes the F4 was involved in....?
spheroid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 22:08   #10 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: MARS
Posts: 1,029
Yeah ...in the shar you needed to apply a bit of push on the stick when coming off the ramp........apart from Brave who pulled like a b@ast@rd!
Widger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th Nov 2008, 22:15   #11 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Victoria, Australia
Age: 68
Posts: 3,637
Early/mid 70's, Ark was often incurring equipment problems. Ships diver were quite adept at 'concrete fix' for leaking/rusty intakes/outlets underwater, trick was to insert a bucket into the hole to block it off, then pump out the compartment and concrete around the lot, then remove bucket

We ran out of feed water (or what we had was contaminated) off Gib in 1974 or 75, and we had to some from Blake to get into Gib to fix the problem.

Eagle was a far better ship, and had better accommodation and workshop refits done, but the funds ran out to modify her to operate F4K's, so she was scrapped early, and Ark soldiered on costing more in repairs than the Eagle refit would have run up in the first place
John Eacott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th Nov 2008, 15:30   #12 (permalink)

 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: London
Posts: 389
OK...delete the Arab Israeli thing then....but apart from the others....the F4 did bugger all....
spheroid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th Nov 2008, 22:28   #13 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Lincs
Posts: 453
Quote:
Quite true................. apart from.....


Vietnam
Korea
Arab Israeli conflict
Gulf war 1
Iran- Iraq war..... there must be some more.....Does anyone else have any scrapes the F4 was involved in....?
No wonder the USAF shot down so many MiG-15s in Korea with the F-4 in service!

Of course, it could also be pointed out that the RN operated the Bucc for less time than anyone else and was the only operator never to use the type operationally!

Nice pics though; I've always thought the Bucc looked good in the all over RN grey.

Regards,
MM
Magic Mushroom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th Nov 2008, 03:50   #14 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: troon
Age: 54
Posts: 552
Quote:
Of course, it could also be pointed out that the RN operated the Bucc for less time than anyone else and was the only operator never to use the type operationally!
.... Which proves just how good a detterant the Bucc/Carrier combination was - what happened less than 3 years after the old ark was scrapped?
althenick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th Nov 2008, 07:51   #15 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Lincs
Posts: 453
The decision to invade the Falklands had very little to do with the capabilities of the RN and everything to do with internal Argentinian economic and social stresses.

Last edited by Magic Mushroom; 29th Nov 2008 at 12:22.
Magic Mushroom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th Nov 2008, 09:46   #16 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: England
Posts: 441
The 1966 Defence White Paper that cancelled CVA-01 also authorised the major modification of Ark Royal to operate Phantoms. It came out of that refit in 1970 and was withdrawn from service in 1978, which is quite a poor return of investment by anybody's standards. Once the decision had been taken to abandon fleet carriers, it would have seemed logical to scrap the whole idea of sending the F-4 to sea, and withdraw the carriers as they became due for maintenance.

Was there any particular reason why the Wilson government invested so heavily in a capability that it had already decide to abandon? My suspicion is it that was just to ease the pain for the RN, rather than to counter an identified threat.
Brain Potter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th Nov 2008, 13:24   #17 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Colditz young offenders centre
Posts: 220
Quote:
Was there any particular reason why the Wilson government invested so heavily in a capability that it had already decide to abandon? My suspicion is it that was just to ease the pain for the RN, rather than to counter an identified threat.
More likely it was there to ease the pain for the British airframe and engines industry, who lobbied hard to get a piece of the action following the cancellations of the TSR2 and other aircraft. As noted elsewhere the RAF wanted F4s with the original engines, the rational for the Spey Phantom was the need to give the Phantom the bolter performance it needed to operate from the Ark. The result, 166 copies of the worlds most expensive and slowest F4s.
Jetex Jim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th Nov 2008, 13:49   #18 (permalink)

Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Chichester West Sussex UK
Age: 83
Posts: 2,207
As far as I can recall only one aircraft of the Harrier family was fitted with an SPD - G-VTOL.

It was useful in the early ski-jump trials days as a tool to obtain a genuinely stick fixed launch. It was not enough to let go of the stick as inertia effects caused it to move both ways (aft during acceleration, forward when nozzles were selected). Asking the pilot to try and and hold the thing still had a tolerance band which muddied the traces.

When using the SPD we could break out by pulling back with a modest force (a pound or three) as the clip on the front face of the stick that held the ring on the end of the wire was suitably weak. We could adjust the length of the wire to set whatever particular tailplane angle we wanted for that launch.
John Farley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th Nov 2008, 14:03   #19 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: troon
Age: 54
Posts: 552
Quote:
The decision to invade the Falklands had very little to do with the capabilities of the RN and everything to do with internal Argentinian economic and social stresses.
MM

I would say it was a combination of both. My father was a CPO Mech working in NATEC on the SHAR at the time. He told me that in 1980'ish the Argentine Navy sent a delegation to look at SHAR wrt possibly ordering it. They came away saying it was a toy. Suffice to say - they didn't call it that 2 years later.
althenick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th Nov 2008, 15:06   #20 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: England
Posts: 441
Quote:
More likely it was there to ease the pain for the British airframe and engines industry, who lobbied hard to get a piece of the action following the cancellations of the TSR2 and other aircraft.
Sure, but the Spey F-4 programme for the RAF could still have gone ahead without going to the expense of converting a very tired ship to operate the jet for only 8 years.

Why was the Ark Royal so tired anyway? After construction that began in WW2, it finally entered service in 1955 and so had only served for 23 years when retired - and that time included a couple of extensive re-fits. Compared to the USS Midway 1945-92 (47 years) or USS Kitty Hawk 1961-2008 (47 yrs) it seems like a very short life. Was it's basic construction sub-standard due to wartime practices and poor materials? The USN do seem to have a record a getting more out of their vessels than the RN.
Brain Potter is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT. The time now is 15:35.


1996-2012 The Professional Pilots Rumour Network

SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1