PPRuNe Forums

Rotorheads A haven for helicopter professionals to discuss the things that affect them

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 2nd Jan 2017, 17:33   #1 (permalink)
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Somerset
Posts: 117
Calling all ex-Wessex personnel

Calling all ex-Wessex personnel (inter alia, 18, 22, 28, 60, 72, 78, 84, 103 Sqns, SARTU, SAREW, WSF, Muharraq SAR & The Queen's Flight; 700, 706, 707, 737, 771, 772, 781, 814, 815, 819, 820, 826, 829, 845, 846, 847, 848 NAS; ETPS & A&AEE; and any ex-Bristow people for Mk.60s etc etc).

I am currently writing the follow-up to my previous Sea King HU Mk.5 (2014) and Lynx HAS Mk.3 & HMA Mk.8 (2016) Haynes Owners Workshop Manuals, this time on the venerable Wessex.

Unlike the other two, however, this book will cover all British marks - RAF and RN.

To that end I would be pleased to hear from any ex air or ground crew from their days operating the aircraft who might have some hitherto unseen photographs of interest and/or feel they might like to contribute some of their tales of what it was like to fly and maintain (my own Wessex maintenance experience being limited to training airframes during my apprenticeship!).

If anyone thinks they might like to help, please send me a PM for more details.

Many thanks in advance.

Lee Howard is offline  
Old 3rd Jan 2017, 22:22   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Victoria, Australia
Age: 68
Posts: 3,618

I have a couple of Bristow training manuals for the Wx60; plus a myriad of stories!

Many photos were put into the Wessex thread here on Rotorheads should you find them of interest, too.
John Eacott is online now  
Old 4th Jan 2017, 06:47   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Age: 54
Posts: 118
Did PhamousPhotographer's outstanding collection of Op Banner photographs end up in some public place (Ulster Aviation Museum perhaps) after his unfortunate passing a few years ago?

I guess Tom Docherty would know, if anyone would. Tom?

Possibly the photos might not be particularly relevant to the more maintenance and basic flying characteristics quest of the OP, but I would love to know.
inputshaft is offline  
Old 4th Jan 2017, 08:32   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 5,524
Converted to the HC2 during advanced flying training, flew it on 72 as a first tour, 84 as a second tour, instructed on it at SARTU (with a visit to fly it on 28 Sqn) and at Shawbury. Competed in the French National Helicopter Champs at Le Mans in 1990 in a bright yellow one

I was going to point you at the Mil Forum but I see you have had more responses there - look forward to the book about the 'Queen of the Skies'
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 4th Jan 2017, 15:36   #5 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Cornwall
Age: 69
Posts: 295
Flew the RN Wessex Mk 5 and also the Bristow Wessex 60. Took my IR on the Wessex 60. Built the Skerryvore Lighthouse pad underslinging.

TipCap is offline  
Old 4th Jan 2017, 16:53   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,195
I flew the Wessex on a Madge trial at Wyton in 1978. It flew all right and we got the information required. Everybody thought I was qualified on the Wessex including the Navigator in the LHS whom I thought was the pilot.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 4th Jan 2017 at 19:49.
Fareastdriver is online now  
Old 4th Jan 2017, 21:37   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Very Low Orbit
Posts: 59
I still have a copy of the FRCs for the Wessex 3 if that's any help.
Mel Effluent is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2017, 08:53   #8 (permalink)
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Somerset
Posts: 117
Chaps, apologies, I hadn't seen these responses (I didn't post the request in this thread anyway, so can only assume some kind moderator copied it across - thank you, whoever that was!).

Wessex 60 is one of the variants that has had little coverage over the years, so I'd be interested to hear from those who flew it (please PM me rather than on the forum). But equally, I'd be very grateful to hear from anyone in any capacity - air or ground crew alike.

Lee Howard is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2017, 08:54   #9 (permalink)
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Somerset
Posts: 117
I corresponded briefly with PhamousPhotographer when I was finishing off the FAA Helicopters book in 2011 and he kindly sent me a photo of a SK4 in NI. I, too, wonder what happened to his magnificent collection of rare images!
Lee Howard is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2017, 09:55   #10 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Age: 54
Posts: 118
Lee, see your PMs
inputshaft is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2017, 10:39   #11 (permalink)
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Somerset
Posts: 117
Lee Howard is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2017, 12:46   #12 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: balmedie
Posts: 37
Wessex 60

Back in 1970 Garth Parfitt (Horse) appeared in the hanger at Bristow Redhill. I knew him on 78 squadron in Sharjah. He told me he was there to do a WX 60 Conversion and was being seconded to the Sultan on Brunei Airforce. Correct me if I am wrong but I think they operated at least a couple at that time.
ken knight is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2017, 16:07   #13 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: The Hague
Age: 50
Posts: 3,804
Interesting to note that the Brunei version (of which two were built) was the Wessex 54, and one ended up with Bristow! 5N-AJK AMDB-101 G-BBCE PK-HBW VR-BEB westland Wessex Mk.54 C/N wa695 - Helicopter Database

PS. googled, not general knowledge! I knew Garth and also worked in Brunei, so was intrigued to know more......
212man is online now  
Old 6th Jan 2017, 16:20   #14 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: West Sussex
Age: 77
Posts: 98
The Sultan of Brunei did indeed operate Wessex, one of which was bought by Bristow, and turned out to be the biggest jinx ever. It had Three accidents in its life, luckily with no major injuries.
The first was when being operated by Bristow in the far east, it had a tail rotor drive shaft failure, which resulted in a heavy landing and much damage.
It was shipped to Redhill where I was given the task of rebuilding it. It was then flown to Port Harcourt in Nigeria and registered as 5N-AJK. It operated there for a couple of years until it was turned over on take off as a result of ground resonance. ( one engineer standing on a pair of steps servicing another a/c had a rotor blade whistle past his head). It was rebuilt again, and operated for another year or so until its final demise in the Nigerian swamp due to a tail rotor servo sas motor failure.
Dave B is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2017, 20:56   #15 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: devon
Age: 70
Posts: 31
Ref. the 2 RBMR (Royal Brunei Malay Regiment) Wessex they were uplifted onto HMS Albion late in 1971 and shipped to Singapore. Memory hazy, but I recall a few beers with Garth at the time , and a late night sortie to unscrew the fuselage insignia - it's not on my wall now , whether a success or not.... as stated, memory hazy.
Bless him, Garth was an entirely innocent party that time...wardroom hospitality to blame.
lsd is offline  
Old 7th Jan 2017, 16:19   #16 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Warboys
Age: 47
Posts: 284
You will need to include the fixes that didn't appear in SOPS, such as freeing off the starter solenoid by whacking the nose 4" down from the captain's windscreen with the side of the fire axe and cleaning the crackers by firing a water fire extinguisher down the intake whilst spinning the starter with the LP & HP cocks off.
also the only way to put the tip covers on when you didn't have a landrover to stand on was to sit astride the tail facing backwards and turn the tailrotor blade by blade...

We also were in the habit of landing in a suitable field and switching the fuel computers off and back on again long before Microsoft was even formed!
Wessex Boy is offline  
Old 7th Jan 2017, 18:20   #17 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 5,524
Trouble was, ofetn the crewman used to smash the crap out of what he thought was the starter relay solenoid when he was in fact beating the Acc drive/Main drive selector relay!

The one that always amused the pongos was throwing a bucket of water down the exhaust to help it start - seem to remember it helped the ignitor plugs.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 7th Jan 2017, 23:51   #18 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Inverness-shire, Ross-shire
Posts: 1,038
Glad I am only hearing this stuff long after my last flight in one!
jimf671 is offline  
Old 8th Jan 2017, 03:55   #19 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Second star on the left
Posts: 114
Hi Crab,
Funny how the cure seems to be for different reasons, I was told that the water cooled the thermocouples which seemed to lead to a change in fuel flow.

It is academic as the Fire Crew at Shoreham Airport who gave me a bucket of water to throw down the exhaust pipe thought that the Wessex was steam driven, not far wrong I guess.

Heads down, look out for the flak.
Cabe LeCutter is offline  
Old 8th Jan 2017, 06:54   #20 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 5,524
Hi Cab - Happy New Year mate Hope all is well with you and Mrs Cab.

The Wessex was also the best machine in the world for wingovers - especially at the Southern Cliffs
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  

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 11:04.

1996-2012 The Professional Pilots Rumour Network

SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1