View Full Version : Did You Fly The Vulcan?? (Merged)

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14th Sep 2004, 23:21
It would be great if you could have a dig. The facts may have been warped by family.


12th Jan 2005, 22:07
Just to return this to the top, perhaps only briefly (following on from a query on the history forum) - some might recall that I offered to - well, I think it was be the thread archivist, with some notion of doing something in print to commemorate the V-Force (sorry, but two family bereavements and two serious illnesses, one for Mrs A distracted me from cracking on with this).

I'm meeting a publisher next month to discuss a variety of things. Is using this as the basis for a popular history something people would welcome? Although there was some initial enthusiasm, it seemed to die away, and then (as noted above) it dropped off my radar. Still happy to move on with this is there is sufficient interest in having a new set of recollections of the V-Force (PMs to establish my bona fides, etc more than welcome).

13th Jan 2005, 01:36
Sounds like a good idea to me. It was, after all, a very significant part of our heritage.

13th Jan 2005, 09:09

Sorry to hear of your problems. But I was thinking of posting an enquiry asking how well this proposal of yours was going. So I for one would enjoy reading the results.

There have been several fascinacting threads. The Vulcan and Banana Bombers ones for a start, that could produce good books and/or dvds based on Ppruners memoirs, film, photos etc. If you have the enthusiasm to do the hard work, then I'm sure there will be a market for the end results.

Cheers, H

13th Jan 2005, 13:57
Archimedes, hope everything family-wise is on the upturn. Good wishes for the future.

I'm sure that if you wish to take to project forward there will be enough ex V people out there who would willingly contribute - me for one.

PM me for my background details and what you are looking for.


13th Jan 2005, 14:00
Archimedes Sorry to hear of your bereavements.I don't think my Uncle (Tiny Matthews) is on the net but if you ever want me to contact I will do my best.He is living in B.C. now.

Beags Although not ex RAF(ex ARMY) because of Tiny I contribute as much as I can afford every 6 months.Do hope my contribution helps.Anything to see one fly again.Both Tiny's cousins worked at AvRoe's as telephonists and I remember going to the Christmas parties in the late '50's.

Old Hairy
13th Jan 2005, 21:37
I was recently told about this forum,I have avidly read virtually every post. I had the pleasure and the privelege to have flown all three "Vs" on 199,18 and 57 Sqns. plus the Vulcan at A&AEE between 1957 and 1964. I have throughly enjoyed all the posts,brought back many happy memories.If I may add a small story.
We became quite concerned ,when despite being assured that new aircraft would be fitted with rear ejection seats,the bean counters decided otherwise.This resulted in an amendment to the startup checks on 57 Sqn. It was the AEOs responsibility to remove the seatpins of both pilots and stow in the stowage on the side of the seat,resulting in a change to the standard check of seatpins removed and stowed,to "Seatpins out,padlocks in,keys stowed at the back" at least in my crew! caused quite a bit of consternation flying with the occassional change of pilot:E :E

I wonder if the Tiny Matthews referred to in several posts was ex Merchant Navy? I had the next room at Honington and he brought back a small dinghy from leave,which he intended to revarnish.Being winter,he decided to do it in his room,unfortunately,he forgot to tell his batman,who on bringing his morning tea,ended up ass over tit in the bottom wondering what the hell had happened:confused:

Thanks for all the stories,I for one would love to buy the book.

Old Hairy

14th Jan 2005, 09:39
I wonder if the Tiny Matthews referred to in several posts was ex Merchant Navy?

Definitely not Old Hairy tho think where he lives now has a large enough lake to play on.

14th Jan 2005, 09:54
Just for the record, there is a picture in my 'V-Force' book of Tiny Matthews standing with Ted Flavell and the two crews sent to drop the first British atomic bombs at Maralinga. Not a plug as it out of print. Tiny helped me greatly at Marham. He was larger than life in all respects.

Pontius Navigator
14th Jan 2005, 17:14
Archemedies, welcome back how things are better now.

There are now some useful additions that could be pulled into any book. There are two relevant articles in Air Power, one by the MA student into survivability of the V-force really from an air staff perspective. It is quite revealling what she found out from their airships papers and what Bomber Command actually did and didn;t tell them.

Then the most recent one has an article by Chris Finn that is also complimentary.

As was mentioned earlier in this thread Peter Hennessey's book, Secret State is also revealing if, in places, a little too focussed.

Finally the FOI might well enable a few more snippets to surface. I have one request in and a second is being formulated. However on Wednesday I was offered a radar photo from someone's loft. "They were Secret" I said. "I know" came the reply!!!!

25th Jan 2005, 19:23
Old Hairy

As you were at BD around the time could you enlighten me on the cause of a Vulcan crash near Andover in May 1963 - I think. I did have the aircraft number but seem to have misplaced it. The interest in it came from a Glider repair tycoon based on the side of the M4 who happened upon the crash site in a Thruxton Jackaroo just after it had happened and took some aerial photos. Found out I had flown the tin triangle around that time and asked me if I knew what happened.

Can you enlighten me. The aircraft was out of BD.

25th Jan 2005, 19:46

thanks for that.

ACW - XH535 crashed at Chute, nr Andover on 11/5/1964 (with four fatalities, sadly), and was with A&AEE at the time. Is this the one you're thinking of, perhaps?

25th Jan 2005, 19:53
Thanks, Mike - saved me from searching for the link about this that I knew I'd seen recently and then editing the above post accordingly!

Lyneham Lad
25th Jan 2005, 20:51
I have only just come upon this thread - my God, 36+ pages of Vulcan memorobilia! I left St Athan in the middle of 1964 as a brand new LAC A Mech A (48th Entry) and was posted to Scampton, into the Base Servicing Hangar. Initially very boring, being the gopher :( However, the opportunity to move to E Dispersal as a Linie came along (as did my SAC badge). What fun - Blue steel fridge pack changes, canopy seal changes and other delights, outdoors in mid-winter and lots of Micks and Mickey Finns. My first winter Mickey Finn to Lossie was in a Whistling Tit flown by someone who thought it would be fun to do the trip at low level. We were all in para seats and 99% of us rapidly needed a sick-bag - except the guy sat opposite me who thought it was great fun. Ours was the last laugh (well, grimace), as at some point after we had emptied lthe previous night's NAAFi intake, he had some form of fit and we had get the Loadie to administer oxygen. The pilot then took pity on us and climbed up above the weather.

Night shift on the QRA pan at Lossie. Four beasties armed with Blue Steel and regular checks on the gyros etc needed, so no crafty kips - except the the Plods supposedly guarding the aircraft and their loads. One came into the dispersal hut and said that, as I had to be awake and out-and-about to keep an eye on the aircraft, he and his mates would kip down in the hut. 3.30am and four sleeping policemen get a rude awakening when I run in shouting "Intruders, intruders" and they stagger out, bleary eyed, waving their pistols. Ha - very satisfying.

I think it was after that exercise that we returned to Scampton in a Hastings, very shortly indeed after the terrible accident involving loss of life , due I think to a fatigue-failure - very worrying.

On one occasion I thought (in a panic) that I might obliterate Lincolnshire - on QRA I was using one of those diesel driven 'donkeys' to pull a set of air bottles up to recharge the rapid air and misjudged speed / closing distance and rammed the arm of the donkey into the nose of the Blue Steel - phew, no bang, Crew Chief didn't see it, so carry on with the job.

Another week on QRA - one Plod per pan and two (standing in front of aircraft on opposite pans) were alleviating their boredom by bouncing a golf ball between them. A rather too vigourous throw saw the ball bounce over the head of the other Plod and bingo - a hole in one, straight down the intake. A somewhat career-limiting moment for the pair of them as the aircraft had to be stood-down from QRA whilst a sooty was shoved down the intake to retrieve it - which he luckily did as it had not gone beyond the first set of blades.

I can still clearly see the 4-ship launch from Finningleys ORP at a B of B day. In the practice, ISTR that the first two of the four aircraft had 201 engines whilst the third had 301's. Sixteen Olympuses simultaneously starting and spooling up is quite an event from close range. As they rapidly pulled out onto the runway, I had to dive behind a Houtchin and watched in awe as they belted down the runway with the third aircraft struggling not to overtake his less powerful brethren. He was put in the number one position for the day itself.

I was only at Scampton until March 66 when I had to suffer the indignity of being forced to accept a posting to Seletar ;) Has anyone ever tried rigging the slat and flap system on a Twin Pioneer - guaranteed to result in madness.

Anyway, despite involvement over the years with lots of other wonderful aircraft, the Vulcan remains my only true love (aircraft-wise, that is).

25th Jan 2005, 21:56
As the Blue Steel was buried half in the bomb bay of the Vulcan, I wouldn't have thought that the 'Donkey' steering arm would have reached the nose of a Blue Steel, it would probably have done so under the Victor.
Paul O'Gorman collection. ©Crown Copyright

27th Jan 2005, 01:20
What was the role of the AEO?? I remember sitting in the old comms trainer at Finningley in 1984 and being very impressed with the knobs & dials in there...seem to remember that was a mockup of the Vulcan AEO station???


27th Jan 2005, 06:56
1. Manage the a/c electrical system.
2. Operate the ECM equipment and work with the pilots to maximise the equipment's effect.
3. Read the check list.
4. Manage HF comms (and some secondary V/UHF).
5. Look after any crypto requirements.

28th Jan 2005, 18:04

And eat all the sandwiches (at least if you were like our AEO)


28th Jan 2005, 19:00
I used to give our AEO my in-flight choccy bar for his little daughter. She was very miffed when I went off on my ICC and her Mars Bar/Twix source suddenly dried up!

What a pleasure it was to have known the gentlemanly ways of the mid-70s V-force. People these days just wouldn't believe how great it was!

28th Jan 2005, 19:31
Amen to that, Beags - even with Voice Rotating Beacon on board!

28th Jan 2005, 20:04
Was recently re-reading Andrew Brookes's 1982 book on the V-force. There's a passing reference to 'Select' and 'Select Star' crews, but nothing about what these were. Anyone care to elucidate, assuming the answer isn't classified?


28th Jan 2005, 20:42
Whilst I'm sure that 'flatiron' will have the definitive answer, as far as I'm aware it was just normal crew categorisation. Which later became 'Operational', 'Combat', 'Senior' and 'Command'. Not quite the same as D Cat, C Cat, B Cat and A Cat in other forces; for example, those applied to individuals in the AT/AAR world, whereas the whole crew had to qualify in the V-force.

Pontius Navigator
28th Jan 2005, 21:10
As Beags said, the old cats were virtuallt similar to the Operational, Combat, Senior and Command with one important difference. Command was only awarded by the GSU and originally very sparingly. It was not normal to have a Command crew on a sqn.

The earlier scheme, which I think mirrored SAC, was Combat, Combat Star, Select and Select Star. Progression was on both time and merit. It was unusual not to advance one category every 6 months.

On joining the sqn you were rushed through to what is now limited op. This meant you could hold QRA. At this stage we did not do a low-level conversion, that came later. Indeed in 1964 we were not allowed to practise the pop-up 2E attack. We would navigate to the pull-up point but not do the pop. This was possibly because of noise constraints but also the potential mayhem of a 350k/10,000 foot per minute climb over Newcastle.

The key to advancement was the number and accuracy of attacks. In other words the Nav radar held the key to the crew getting better classification.

From dim memory to get Combat you needed something like 3 out of 5 2/2B attacks within about 600 yards. Then 8 out of 10 2A within 1,400 yards and two single 1,000lb HES, one within 1,100 yards and one within 1,300 yards. These are all rough guesses. A Combat crew was supposed to fly about 32 hours per month.

At the other end of the scale the Select Star crew had to get 2 x 2/2B attacks withing 400 yards, 6 out of 8 2A within 1,000 yds etc. This was to be achieved with only 24 hours per month.

Then the 2/3 day rangers to Norway were intended for the Combat crew whereas the Western and Goose Rangers were intended for the Select and Select Star crews with the Combat Star crews getting the Med Rangers. At least that was the plan.

We reached Select Star in Dec 65 after 18 months on the Sqn. The following 6 months was as follows:
Jan 4 trips including one Groupex and 2 Kinsman.
Feb 9 trips including 2 exercises, 2 training sorties and and 5 ranger flights.
Mar was 5 flights including a delivery flight and 2 exercises.
Apr 4 flights including a Ex Coop over France. We clocked 420 k at ll over the target.
May 6 flights 4 were on a Western Ranger
Jun was 3 flights all in UK and no exercises.
In all 131 hours and 9 out of 31 flights were overseas and 5 flights were air tests or delivery.
In contrast we flew 155 hours as a Combat Star crew with only 4 overseas flight.

31st Jan 2005, 21:23

Not sure it was quite so gentlemanly in the 60's when we had the deterrent.


I can confirm your sequence Combat, Combat Star, Select and Select Star but we did low level and 2E pop ups as Combat. Not over Newcastle but Walney Island.


Pontius Navigator
1st Feb 2005, 16:25
ACW, later certainly. At first however we had 3 routes and the one into Newcastle used Ouston Bombplot. There was no bomb plot at Walney Island which would have been a bit too close for Amber 1. Are you sure you didn't mean Luce Bay and West Freugh?

I can still remember the phone number:

'Stranraer 2501'

to which the reply was '76'

followed by the patter of the intended attack profile.

More frequently however after '76' we got "This is Stranraer 2502"

I don't know how many times the operator put me through to this old dear. She always sounded surprised and NEVER ever was she angry.

1st Feb 2005, 21:49

Like most people my memory isn't what it was but I recall flying low level starting at Lundy Island and going up through Wales coasting out between Llandudno and Colwyn Bay and over the sea to Walney Island. Don't know about Amber 1 but we used to pop up to 11,000 ft and had about 10 seconds to get sorted out before dropping the bomb. Was that a 2E or was it something else? There was a 2A which involved several 90 degree turns and much swearing from the plotter but this was at high level. Never did Stranraer or West Freugh as far as I can remember.


1st Feb 2005, 22:14
I seem to remember using West Freugh for Blue Steel free fall release practice, along with Gernish... 2H?

Pontius Navigator
2nd Feb 2005, 11:45
ACW, you are right about the low level. I saw surprised to see in my log book that I flew Bomber Command Routes 21, 23 and 24 in 1964 but by 1965 we moved in to the UK Low Level Route. My last Bomber Coomand low level was BC/21/R followed by BC/23/R with just one RBS attack.

From this I guess 21 was the west coast and 23 the esat coast terminating at Newcastle for a 2E.

Looking on I see we did a route from EP1 on the south coast to the Ouston Gate. If memory serves, there was a short cut across the north of England.

Moving on, Gernish bombplot was, I seem to remember, the relocated MRBSU from Glasgow. Lovely spot :( . Hated the targets there, one bit of rock always looked like another.

2nd Feb 2005, 12:05
Most of the complaints about the UK LL route seemed to come from Garforth as the route was squeezed in between Leeds and the Vale of York airfields.

Ahhh - happy days!

ou Trek dronkie
2nd Feb 2005, 13:04

Frank Clapp was the pilot of a 213 Sqn Canberra B(I) 6 which crashed near Roermond in 65 or 66 (I am fairly sure of the year, but could confirm it). His navs were Dai Dingle and Joe Sime.

The causes of the crash could be debated, but no blame should be ascribed to the crew whatever, believe me please.

They were, each one of them, fine officers and very fine men. I was very fond of Dai in particular.

The crash came a few years after a 213 midair, in the early sixties, when two aircraft and, I think, five men were lost.

If you PM me with your private e-mail address and convince me you are who you say you are, I can tell you more.


2nd Feb 2005, 14:07
Nice V-Force feature (5pgs) in the March Aeroplane. Your first name wouldn't be Roy would it Pontius?:)

Vulcan News
16th Feb 2005, 11:07
Reading through these fascinating recollections - would any of you ex-Vulcan crew care to contribute to the Vulcan Restoration Trust's magazine, Vulcan News? As I'm sure you all know, the VRT owns and preserves XL426 in taxiing condition at Southend Airport.


Vulcan News is a high quality, glossy, black and white, professionally produced magazine and over the past thirteen years since I have been editing it we have had contributions from: John Reeve, Dave Moore, Peter West, Joe L'Estrange, Alun Morgan, Don Briggs, Alan Painter, Ed Jarron, Jon Tye, John Farley (who flew the Vulcan on Concorde Take-Off Director trials) and countless others.

If you would like to PM me or email me, I would be delighted to hear from you.

Dave Griffiths
Trustee - Vulcan Restoration Trust
Editor - Vulcan News

16th Feb 2005, 15:50

I was just wondering if any ex-V bomber crew could tell me what the "get you home" plans were if it all went pete tong (wrong) and you did have to fly the Nuclear attack mission? Presumably you were given options?

Not a nice thought, i know, but the fact were still here proves that deterrence (at least on this scale) works.

remember seeing a Vulcan take off at Leeming Open day in 91 or 92. Was only about 8 or 9 at the time and it was that more than anything else that cemented my desire to fly, to be able to take something with so much brute powere it made every bone, every sinew in your body vibrate with the noise of a thousand wild horses, to be at the head of that would be some feeling.


(in an unusually poetic mode - have to go down the pub to calm down)

Pontius Navigator
16th Feb 2005, 20:28
Gainsey, no idea what you are talking about. Spotters mag? See PM.

MMMatty see your PM too.

16th Feb 2005, 23:46

I started a thread on the 'What happens post visit to Ivan' subject but can't find it despite searching for the last twenty minutes.

Basicially, IIRC from the responses to my thread there wasn't really a plan to come home, maybe land in a neutral country (god knows what that would achieve) or in one case throw the aircraft (and crew) at a target of some sort (bridge/power station/etc etc)

Hopefully the chaps in the know can expand... Please ? :ok:

17th Feb 2005, 08:23
Paracabs Link



Pontius Navigator
18th Feb 2005, 17:29
Vulcan News see PM.

MMEMatty amplified his question about what happened afterwards and this will explain some of it. All the V-bomber flights were fully planned ie from take-off to recovery. In the 70s there was a change of policy and this was not received without argument. From this we can deduce that the crews were all Supermen and DID expect to survive.

The early plans called for some 150 odd V\'s, 1,500 odd B47s and 600 odd B52s not to mention B58s and sundry others. The rockets would have got in first although not in the numbers as inthe later 60s. By the mid-60s the B47s had gone to be replaced by more rockets.

We were certainly on the side of the big battalions.

Fully planned also meant taking the shortest way out. For the deep penetration sorties after a 300 mile plus low level penetration we certainly did not have the fuel to get to UK nor would we want to flying back through the devastation we had just wrought. We planned to get back to our designated friendly country and then try and find somewhere to land.

Did we plan to rearm and reattack? All I can say here is a \'possibly\' and then only in the early days when we might have had more bombs than jets and the Sooviet threat was not fully developed. As the number of bombers built up it was pretty close to 1+1. Not only that but the Soviet threat had also become one of MAD so it was extremely unlikely that we could have launched reattacks.

Plan Dropshot, edited by Anthony Cave-Brown is the US War Plans in 1947 for war in 1957. It makes fascinating reading especially the bits where they postulate what the UK will provide. What makes this so interesting is that it exactly mirrors the later deployment on the V-Force and Canberras - Malta, Cyprus, Singapore as well as UK and this long before the UK had even - in Secret - decided to develop the bomb. This book was printed in the 70s.

18th Feb 2005, 22:38
Vulcan Flight Controls

During flight testing of the Vulcan, when ever I wanted precise control over pitch I found that this could be enhanced by using the fingertips of the left hand positioned around the pilot's control rod/tube where it went through the instrument panel. All small stick movements could thereby be more closely monitored by means of this additional feedback loop.

Did any other Vulcan pilots use this technique ??

Of course this raises the question as to the optimum relationship between stick movement and stick force which is best for us humans in our quest for our 'holy grail' -- the ultimate in control feel throughout the flight envelope.

Cambridge Crash
19th Feb 2005, 07:16
Please accept my appologies if the following is included in the multitude of posts on this topic. May I draw attention to a recent publication by English Heritage?

Wayne D Cocroft & Roger J C Thomas ; PS Barnwell (Ed): Cold War: Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989. English Heritage 2003. ISBN1 873592 69 8.

This is a fascinating account on the construction of Air Defence Radars, V force airfields, Special Storage areas &c, &c - great for nuclear spotters! Has lots of great pictures and drawings, assembled with the help of th Air Historical Branch.


21st Feb 2005, 08:38
Has anyone details of the second Vulcan to New Zealand which impacted the embankment when landing at the official opening of Wellington Airport?

The reason I ask is because I was involved with the running of the Air Show, and as a result was first to the scene, complete with RAF Engineering Officers, and the senior detachment commander.

The comments regarding the skills, or lack thereof, of the PinC were enlightening.

Rumour had it that following a ground posting as a Wing Commander, said pilot became a Victor Squadron Commander, and was involved with a fatal crash at Malta, also the result of under-shooting.

24th Feb 2005, 23:14
Had a chat with a publisher today.

Without wishing to commit himself to the project without seeing a proposal (sensibly enough!) he is interested in the idea of producing something that collects together the experiences of those involved in the V-Force, or possibly on a wider basis.

I shall put a proposal together over the next few days for the publisher to look at (and as he's a good sort, if not for him, he'll suggest other options). If all goes well, I may be putting out an appeal for more assistance (and thanks to those who have offered already) so that I can build on the thread and move forwards.

Will report on progress as it develops.

Pontius Navigator
4th Mar 2005, 17:21
On the best advice tips I was minded to remember why u/s kit never gets better once you are airborne. The short story concerns a ranger return from El Adem.

As we started to come off cocks the H2S went TU. Big bloom and no picture. Classic fault and clearly identifiable as a fuse in panel 11P under the nav table. In flight it would involve sliding across the entrance door, without a parachute, opening the panel with about 75 million screws, counting fuses and then pulling the u/s one. We were on the ground so we opened the door instead and I stood on the ladder. 30+ degrees, howling gale under the jet and 4 donks roaring away. And the periscope heater was on. After about 10 minutes I gave up and we pressed on without the radar.

Then the TACAN failed. The ADF didn't work which was SOP and before we got to Nice the old Green Satin stopped working.

So far so good but once we got to Lyon there was solid cloud cover so we were down to DR through the French airways. Near Paris we were cleared direct Midville (?). Then we spotted a cranberry. Easy peasy and we latched on to follow him.

Slowly we over took him only to watch him, in turn follow us.

Once back in UK the radar service took us home.

9th Mar 2005, 12:58
Beags Just received the XH 558 newsletter.I like the idea of sponsoring/buying a bit of history to get the old girl flying again.Hope it will raise a lot of money for a very good cause.
However there is one question I have to something I have been pondering on since Monday when the letter came.

Why do I have to shell out £1000 for something you peed down but only £50 for one that a guy who did all the number crunching and told you which way to go home?
Or is it yours isn't as worn?

:ok: :ok:

Good luck all with the fund raising.I shall hopefully get something worthwhile.

9th Mar 2005, 15:26
Yes - is indeed excellent news! I recived my newsletter yesterday but as I'm laid low with 'flu haven't really studied it in any depth yet.

Pee-tubes? Horrible bloody things! Never used one myself; we would all pee over the corner of the crew chief's hut immediately before getting aboard our tin triangle!

Shall have a go at the Jaguar raffle - and might 'buy' something as well!

And Dave Thomas, if you need another pilot, check your logbook for 30 Aug 1977! I have a current ATPL with a lapsed VC10/IR but no current Type Rating - just SEP Class Rating, IMC and FI Ratings. Around 6000 hours on 4-jets, 4000 as captain and 2500 as QFI!

Fat chance, I guess. Still, one can always dream!

10th Mar 2005, 11:53
Can any old Vulcan crew at there from the late 60’s care to put an end to a 35-year-old mystery for me?

The Tin-Triangle will always be a bit special to me as it was the first RAF aircraft that I can remember seeing as a young awestruck child. Being born and brought up under the flightpath of Heathrow’s R23, I had developed an interest in things aviation, but the daily sight of 707’s, Trident’s, Caravelle’s and the odd BEA’whistling-tit’, was nothing compared to this first exposure to a Vulcan at close range.

So, this was back in 1969 or possibly 1970, and we had a family holiday at a caravan site, perched on the side of a hill, just inland from Swanage and overlooking Swanage Bay. Looking at a map today I’m guessing the caravan site was on the south-eastern downslope of Nine Barrow Down.

Thus the highlight of this holiday for me, was the daily and frequent almighty roar as a Vulcan at very low level appeared from behind this hill (coming from the direction of Newton Heath and Poole harbour) and heading out to sea over Swanage Bay. They always appeared from the same direction and I seem to remember ending up spending the whole holiday sitting outside the caravan listening for ‘the noise’ and then waiting for them to appear over the hill top.

For 35 years now I’ve always wondered what Vulcan’s were doing in that neck of the woods, can any old Vulcan aircrew enlighten me?

10th Mar 2005, 16:48
Not sure that I like the phrase "old Vulcan aircrew from the late 60s", so as slightly younger Vulcan aircrew from the late 70s here goes:
At the time low flying in the UK was confined to a system of areas and link routes joining up the areas. Probably because the lookout from a Vulcan cockpit was so poor, the tin triangle was not allowed into the areas where "see and be seen" was the only protection. Therefore we were confined to a relatively narrow link route (3 miles wide was it, or 5?) That started on the South coast and went clockwise around the UK ending up in the Wash bombing ranges. It had various entry points and you booked in with times at the EPs. I would guess that your caravan site was about on the centreline of that route.

10th Mar 2005, 19:53

Sorry, I should have said any ex-Vulcan aircrew, as I meant 'old' in a figurative meaning, in the same way my Dad was always an old 'sapper' to me, rather than an ex-sapper.

Anyway, thanks for that info, that Vulcan noise that week was the best morning alarm call I ever had as a kid.......:cool:

10th Mar 2005, 20:17
The old main route was only 3 miles wide until the LFS was overhauled in the late 70s. I've flown the bit past Brownsea Island and then across the South West a few times. There were better bits; Catcleugh resevoir required a post attack 120 deg wingover to avoid going outside the route if you wanted a good release point piccie. J-count bait, as they say!

We once had a notice at Scampton asking people to avoid some particular part of the route as it went over a Welsh steelworks and the sound of the Vulcan at low level was similar to the noise made by one of their furnaces going critical!

Mind you, others couldn't complain. After the route was widened, we used to use the corner of a large white building on a disused aerodrome on the Devon/Somerset border as an IP for all our visual targets in that neck of the woods. Why no complaints? Well, the site was euphemistically titled a 'Government Radio Station' - perhaps beaming messages to Our Man in Moscow?

As a teenager on CCF (Grunt section) camp in the mid-60s on Exmoor, I too would listen for the roar and wave as a Vulcan went over at 300 ft. The local bullocks didn't bat an eyelid - so I've never to this day believed any of those "Moy beasts bay'nt milkin'" low flying claims from Farmer Chancer to this day! Not surprising they were so desensitised with Vulcans, Hunter, Gnats, Sea Vixens and other paying almost hourly visits!

And yes - I know you can't milk a bullock. Well, you can try but it will probably enjoy the experience more than you will!

10th Mar 2005, 20:39
The STC LL route was not just confined to south coast to the Wash areas. It used to go round the whole UK, and had cross links at various places. Latterly, they used to reverse the direction of flow from anti-clockwise to clockwise and back again - on the grounds that crews became too familiar with the route when it was permanently anti-clockwise.

Crew lockers were groaning under the weight of target maps!

11th Mar 2005, 08:40
Boscombe Down to Lyme Bay.

During the late 50s I wore a Vulcan groove from BD to Lyme Bay, between Torquay and Weymouth, to drop a huge number of inert weapons. Purpose was to ensure safe separations from the weapon bay and no jostling together after release.

Most separations were clean with few exceptions.

CG variations with some of the sequences of releases were a continuing hazard in hiding.

12th Mar 2005, 01:27
My old headmaster at comprehensive school said he flew Vulcans, his name was D.J.Parsons, anyone know of him ?? One of the last of my teachers who advocated caning, we were all very well behaved after we found out....

16th Mar 2005, 15:00
Hello all you military type's, I know I shouldn't be here but I have a question that has been making me itch for some time now.
I see this aircraft every time I go into Fly at Baginton and have become very interested in her.

My father was in the RAF in the late forties and early fifties being based in Ceylon, Singapore and other places in the far east
As a small boy my father used to take me to RAF Gaydon to the open days and airshows I can well remember seeing Vulcans, Victors, Phantoms and English Electric Lightnings I keenly remember one Lightning pilot stood it on it's tail and just climbed vertically with full afterburn on,- it shook the entire airfield!!.
So- are there any of the aircrew or ground crew still around for this lovely old lady??, it looks to be in good condidion to me but I am not a jet pilot.
Where was she based?, what did she do?, what memories are there of her??.
It would be great to hear from her crew rather than reading a placard on a stand in front of her. To find out a little of the history of such an aircraft and her crew from the people who flew her.
I hope you don't mind but I am just interested, tell me to bugger off back to rotorheads if I have upset anybody.
Micky:ok: :ok:

16th Mar 2005, 15:15
Although not necessarily specific to XL360, suggest you have a look at the Did you fly the Vulcan? (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=111797) thread if you've not done so already.

There's a fair chance that someone who flew XL360 will pass by here too...

Big Tudor
16th Mar 2005, 15:15
Herr Beagle would appear to have graced the inside of this old lady. Pull up a sandbag (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=888357&highlight=Vulcan+XL360#post888357)
Read through the whole thread if you want the inside info on being Vulcan crew.

16th Mar 2005, 15:24
XL360 was a 35 Sqn a/c in the mid-to-late 1970s... Based at sunny Scampton, Lincs.

I first flew 360 on 6 Jul 78, doing a Basic Training Requirements trip. High level sector, some low level plus a few targets, then a few circuits. Then we took her to Luqa, Malta for Ex Solar Flare on 1 Aug 78, flying both Italian low level routes and MRR. It was on that detachment when we were bounced by the Italian QRA force when our plotter turned us ito Italian airspace from down near Libya.... The Capt thought the Italian F-104s were Gaddafi's Floggers!

We took XL360 to Akrotiri in Apr 1979 for 6 days MRR boredom. On the 9th we had to shut an engine down (gauge failure i.a.w. SOPs), then came home on the 10th.

The last time I flew XL360 was:

14 May 1979 Vulcan B2 XL360 Exercise Double Top 1979, Phase 1 Bombing section. 2:00 Day 1st pilot, 1:55 Day 2nd pilot.

We achieved the highest 35 Sqn score. Then went to Double Top Trg Flt and on 26 June 1979 achieved the highest scoring individual competition sortie for any RAF or SAC crew. But that was in XL443.

Hope the old lady is keeping well!

16th Mar 2005, 15:56
Hello BEagle,
she looks well to me , but as I say I am not a jet pilot, I fly helo's and piston ones at that, unless my mucker let's me loose in his Hughes 500.
I think the Midland Air Museum take care of all of their exhibits and plan to take a good look round when the weather is more suited to spending hours looking at aircraft
I looked at the other threads, -do the Wellesbourne folk's fire theirs up very often?? I'd have to fly over for that!!- what a sound, absolutely stunning.
Micky:ok: :ok:

16th Mar 2005, 16:05
XM655 at Wellesbourne Mountford is being used as a systems refresher vehicle for the team restoring XH558 to flying status at Bruntingthorpe. There will be several EGRs and the odd taxying session during the summer at Wellesbourne; next EGR is planned for 16 Apr 05 at 1330.

See http://www.xm655.com/

16th Mar 2005, 16:13
I won't miss that!!

17th Mar 2005, 01:25
Last flew in 360 on 30 Dec 1971. It was a Group Standardisation Unit trip. Flt Lt Hainsworth was the captain with Sqn Ldr Glen Whitelam as co, Flt Lt Brian Drake AEO, and Flt Lt 'Sleepy Bear' Bussereau as Nav Radar/Plotter. I took up the spare Plotter seat. We did 3 x Radar Bomb Score runs, some high speed runs, a practice diversion into Leuchars, some asymmetric general handling then a return to Scampton where we did 6 rollers before final landing. 3 hours 30 minutes day and 55 minutes night.

all right - I'll get me anorak!

17th Mar 2005, 14:22
I've serviced her (oh young man!!).

Went into the cockpit of 360 a couple of months ago, ahhhh, memories.

17th Mar 2005, 14:46
Keep it up folk's,
it's coming together nicely!!.
:ok: :ok:

17th Mar 2005, 18:24
was this BEagle practising bomb runs on a Power station .... ;)


17th Mar 2005, 20:32
Never flown in her but, having spent many years on H/F Flight Watch duties at Upavon/Cyprus/Gan and Singapore theres is damn good chance that I worked it on H/F.

Hey Beags more than likely we have exchanged R/T messages at one time or another. Always knew when a V bomber was calling, muffled voice sound and I could hear the intake from the oxygen mask, (at least I think it was that!).

If the AEO was feeling confident he would give me a call on C/W.

Those were the days, great until some egghead invented Selcal and....goodbye AEO on most aircraft except Shacks and Nimrods.


17th Mar 2005, 21:21
micky, if your into search engines try this .....


there is some good info there on XL360


18th Mar 2005, 07:08
Thanks Hobie,
I am looking now, not just at 360 but lot's of the beauty's.

18th Mar 2005, 09:01
I just stumbled onto your link Hobie, and the reference the the bomber as Blue Steel. I now see the the naming rights to the main Ordnance Loading Area at RAAF Edinburgh South Australia, I guess this extends back to when you Pom's were nuke'n Woomera and it's locals..?
Is Blue Steel a model name or a one-off name of this bomber?


18th Mar 2005, 09:17
Blue Steel is the name of the stand off missile carried by the V Bombers. In the second Google link you can see the missile protruding from the base of the aircraft.

18th Mar 2005, 11:58
tommy, also have a look at this link .... lots on Woomera .....



18th Mar 2005, 14:19
Doesn't add much to this thread but in the State Art Gallery of WA there is a terrific sculpture of an aboriginal lass and her younger brother clinging to her. Their hair and clothes are obviously being blown quite violently and just off is a perspex nuclear symbol. Quite evocative really.

18th Mar 2005, 17:12
Dug out and dusted down the old logbooks out of curiosity.

Turns out that I flew 360 three times in 1969 on 27 Sqn. Had Blue Steel missile strapped to the underside, and flew it once with a full missile fuel load. That was a nervy sortie - nasty stuff that fuel.

It was then on the OCU in mid-76, when I returned to the V-Force. At some stage between 76 and 78 it was transferred to 617 Sqn, when I flew it a number of times, including a scramble filmed for ATV (02 Dec 81). Central TV spent 6 months with 617, filming the 'End of an Era', just prior to the Sqn disbanding on 31 Dec 81.

18th Mar 2005, 17:52
Blue Steel .... it was a big bugger wasn't it? :ooh:


Yellow Sun
18th Mar 2005, 18:32
"Hot Water" anyone?


19th Mar 2005, 08:26
Just had a good look at blue steel, 16,000lb - thats a heavy load!.
What was the Vulcan's load capacity, if fully fuelled??

19th Mar 2005, 09:01
Mickey, no doubt the distinguished (lucky) crews who flew her, may give you good figures for the various B2 fits, as load was dependant on whether 'A', 'E', or Drum tanks were fitted. upto 21 x 1000lb (in 3 clusters of 7) iron bombs could be carried, the K2 (Tanker) had no load as it carried 3 x drum tanks in the bomb bay. Vulcans used in the Falklands Conflict carried bombs, a pair of AGM-45a Shrike missiles and a Westinghouse AN/ALQ 101(v)-10 ECM pod on pylons mounted on the old Skybolt Missile mounting points. The Anti-Radar MARTEL missile was carried as far as Ascension Island, but was not used in anger. Various fits of Skybolt was looked at, with either 2,4 or 6 being able to be carried. Blue Steel, and there were even proposals to have a Gnat (Midge?) aircraft carried semi slung under the bomb bay, but that stayed on the drawing board (Could have made the appearance of the Red Arrows mighty impressive, being launched by Vulcans in Diamond 9)

19th Mar 2005, 09:29

Oh! Yes!!! Red or Practice? Did a practice at a designated Scottish base and talk about a Fred Carno fiasco! Despite all the ATC and unit checklists, I don't think they got a single thing right. And we were completely surrounded by spectators - until, that is, the AEO got off the ladder and briefed the Stn Cdr of the consequences if the missile overheated beyond a certain point! You have never seen an area clear as fast in your life!


19th Mar 2005, 09:34
Perhaps the XL360 thread should now be merged with this one?

19th Mar 2005, 14:00
Good idea, Beages... How about it, Pop?

21st Mar 2005, 11:31
I would like to be put in touch with any of the aircrew who took part in a mission which took them across the Bay of Biscay on 26 May 1977. Please email or PM me off-forum in confidence.

Joe McGonagle

PPRuNe Pop
21st Mar 2005, 12:56
You only have to ask......normally! XL360 now merged


20th May 2005, 13:24
I may have lost a bet on this!:\

Vulcan B.1A Sq Ldr Mke Beavis and crew June 1964 20 hours 3mins non- stop Scampton to Sydney. Refuelled by Valiants, Cyprus, Karachi, Singapore.

True? What exact date?

Art Field
20th May 2005, 13:44
I think it was more likely to have been 9th July 1963. I was a co-pilot in a Valiant tanker out of Gan on that date when I think three Vulcans went non-stop to Australia. There may have been another run a year later but I had left 214 by then, It was an attempt to sell Vulcans to the RAAF.

PPRuNe Dispatcher
20th May 2005, 13:59
From australianjetflight.com :

The non-stop flight to Australia by a Vulcan B Mk.1A of the No.101 Squadron was indeed an historic occasion. Whilst it did not eclipse the round-the-world non-stop flight by three USAF Boeing B-52 bombers in 1957 or the supersonic flight from New York to Paris by a USAF Convair B-58 Hustler that averaged 960 kts in May 1961, it was certainly significant in terms of RAF long range deployment. The England to Australia flight was the longest non-stop flight undertaken by the RAF and demonstrated the speed and long range strike capability of the aircraft. This flight still stands as a record for the Vulcan although the "Black Buck" operations flown against the Argentinian forces in the Falkland Islands in 1982 were not much shorter. The Ascension to Ascension round trip in the "Black Buck" missions was some 3000 nautical miles shorter than the 10,000 nautical mile England to Australia trip. Vulcan XH481 departed its U.K. base at 11.36 a.m. on 20th June 1961 arriving overhead the control tower at RAAF Richmond at 4.39 p.m. on the 21st June. The elapsed time of 20 hours 3 minutes and 17 seconds for the flight gave an average speed of 500 kts. Favourable winds on one sector east of Alice Springs gave a ground speed of 600 kts. En route refuelling from Vickers Valiant tankers occurred over Nicosia, Cyrpus, near Karachi, near Singapore and a final 'top up' about 500 miles out of Singapore. Each refuelling took about 12 minutes, the Vulcan taking on about 5000 gallons (23,000 litres) during that period. To effect the transfer the Vulcan reduced speed to 350 kts. The aircraft went on display at Richmond on 22nd June. The crew of the Vulcan, Sqd.Ldr. M.Beavis (Captain), Flt.Lts. D.Bromley, R.Taylor and G.Jukes, F/O J.Knight, and Chief Technician W.Alpine were guests of the De Havilland Aircraft Company on a harbour cruise whilst in Sydney. The following day the aircraft departed for RAAF Edinburgh although not before a spectacular flying display at 1500 feet down Sydney Harbour to Vaucluse and Watsons Bay returning to the Harbour Bridge thence to Bankstown. Whilst stationed at Edinburgh XH481 in company with one of the Victors overflew Hobart, Launceston and Melbourne on 27th June. Departing Edinburgh on 30th June the aircraft flew to RAAF Pearce were it went on display to the people of Perth on 2nd July before returning to the United Kingdom on the 3rd July.

My dad, Jim "Yanto" Butler, was XH481's usual crew chief.... 481 was borrowed from 101 squadron by 617 squadron for the trip due to it's servicability record.


Lyneham Lad
20th May 2005, 19:46
The references to Blue Steel bring to mind the scariness of dealing with fueled-up missiles - hydrogen-test peroxide (HTP) was very nasty indeed. Safety precautions on the pan consisted of an old dinghy filled with water - one was supposed to jump in if contaminated by HTP.

Does anyone remember the accident in 1965 or '66 when a Cottesmore (?) B2 carrying out practice asymmetric approaches lost control and careeered across the airfield, eventually hitting the ATC tower? I was in the barrack block at the time, recovering from night shift. Hearing the crash alarm, we ran up to the peri-track to see what was going on, to see the Vulcan with one trailing-edge embedded in part of the tower. Apparently it flattened a lot of the cars in ATC's car park. Rumour also had it that a fuel bowser was trundling round the peri-track, the driver saw the Vulcan coming backwards across the grass towards him, shedding bits as it went - so shocked was he that (reputedly) he abandoned ship and the bowser veered off the peri-track and very nearly ran into the HTP storage area :eek:

20th May 2005, 21:10
The correct term is 'High Test Peroxide' and you're right - it is a very hazardous substance. A highly concentrated form of H2O2, it is an extremely powerful oxidising agent.

I understand that the car park crash led to the 'All vehicles parked on these premises do so at their owner's risk' signs which used to be everywhere on RAF units. Later shown to be utter bolleaux....

20th May 2005, 23:41
'Car Park Crash' - Wasn't there also another incident at Scampton, in the early '70s?

Story I heard was that a Vulcan lost a wheel, either on T/O or landing, which merrily bounced at high speed across the Airfield, before finally colliding with an ATCO's VW, parked outside ATC.

I can certainly remember the "Park at Your Peril" routine, and similar tales of its derivation.

Yellow Sun
21st May 2005, 07:42
'Car Park Crash' - Wasn't there also another incident at Scampton, in the early '70s?

I have the feeling that both incidents occurred at Scampton. The second one where the wheel came off certainly did and it would be late '60s rather than early '70s. The backwards through the car park incident was earlier.

On a completely different tack, I was glancing through Cubitt & Ellis' book "Vulcan" and saw mention of the Boscombe Down B1, XA903, be used for flight trials of a 27mm cannon. The gun was obviously not intended for the Vulcan (?) so what was the purpose and what became of the project? The only post 30mm Aden gun I know of is the Mauser fitted to the F3 and I thought that that was 23mm.


21st May 2005, 08:30
Mauser 27mm is on Tornado F/GR.

21st May 2005, 08:36
Last time I saw one fly was on Hove seafront some years ago. It had done a pass east west along the Brighton seafront and banked out to sea south abeam of the King Alfred. Can't have been more than a couple of hundred metres off shore and a hundred feet up. We could feel the heat as it powered away with A/Bs pointing straight at us. The noise was spectacular as there was a harmonic with the buildings behind. My children just stood there with their mouths open and hair standing on end. We were smitten.

Yellow Sun
21st May 2005, 08:47
Mauser 27mm is on Tornado F/GR.

That solves it then.



21st May 2005, 09:10
effortless,with A/Bs pointing straight at usWhat do you mean A/Bs? Do you mean 'jetpipes' or 'engine exhausts'?

21st May 2005, 09:28
What do you mean A/Bs? Do you mean 'jetpipes' or 'engine exhausts'?

Sorry, still the aircadet in me. Any flames coming out of the back of a jet always seem to be afterburners to us kids. http://www.security-forums.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_flame.gif

21st May 2005, 09:49
I know what you mean - it was a surprise to me when I first saw the flames in the combustion chamber looking up the jetpipe. In certain circumstances it was a dead giveaway during night intercepts if you got behind the other ac...

14th Jun 2005, 00:13
Supersonic Vulcan

The highest readout on both cockpit machmeter and flight test instrumentation I have seen in a B Mk1 was 1.14. Full up elevators could not hold the nose down pitch.

Anyone seen a higher mach number?

14th Jun 2005, 07:36
Yes, but only on one!
Flying from Istrana to Akrotiri on 15 Aug 1980 we had a very interesting few minutes as a result of the port static system being frozen. Until top of drop it was just a small but unusual discrepancy between ASIs, but on starting descent my side went well supersonic, autostabs misaligned, 1 amt ran fully out, Art feel warnings etc kept me busy canceling the plethora of main warnings. It was rapidly obvious where the problem was, but it did not thaw out until on finals in the sunshine.
The result was a jolly 5 days in the sun while waiting for the new ASI, Machmeter, Test kit and tecnician to fly out in Albert and fix it for us to go home.
Last Ranger with my crew before CFS. Happy Days.l

Shaggy Sheep Driver
19th Jan 2006, 15:02
Anyone on here remember a Vulcan pilot called Tucker Wennel? He later flew 747s with BA, then went on to Cathay Pacific, I think.


Pontius Navigator
19th Jan 2006, 17:11
Mn 1.14 was the maximum for the simple reason that the next bit would read either 0.4 or 0.6 (can't remember which) which was the start as it went round the clock. :)

There was certainly a Victor that achieved that feat somewhere in the Bristol Channel area. I don't know but it might have been the one that crashed there too.

There was another incident out of Akrotiri where the beast supposedly went supersonic. As mentioned earlier, there was not enough elevator authority to pull the nose up. I think the aircraft was overstressed (and pilot blamed) for pulling too hard. The aircraft recovered normally in the denser air around 30k and the pilot should have waited (they said).

yeah, like a supersonic transition was an every day event.

Tim McLelland
24th Jan 2006, 01:15
Thanx for the free plug for my old book Chippy! (aah, if only I received royalties *sobs*).
You might be pleased to learn that I'm working on a completely new Vulcan book which will be roughly twice as big, and be a much better quality. As ever, all contributions (written, verbal or pictorial) from "Vulcan people" will be greatly appreciated and credited to their source. I want to make this next book the proverbial "last word" on the subject if possible.
I can be reached at: [email protected]

24th Jan 2006, 07:13
Mn 1.14 was the maximum for the simple reason that the next bit would read either 0.4 or 0.6 (can't remember which) which was the start as it went round the clock. :)
There was certainly a Victor that achieved that feat somewhere in the Bristol Channel area. I don't know but it might have been the one that crashed there too.

That sounds familiar - my uncle was a flight test observer for Handley Page and I recall him telling me that story when I was a lad. I will have a look in his old log books next time I get the chance.


24th Jan 2006, 08:51
Hi Beags,
I had the priviledge of escorting the last flight of XH558 around the uk in a Herk. I have the video to prove it. The guys flying the tin triangle were so close at one stage I could hear the engines being throttled up and down from the flight deck whilst they were formating on us. At one stage it looked like his probe was almost on the ramp.(we had the back door open filming.) One of the shots picks up the shadow on the ground of us both... brilliant.
Magnificent beast.

I transferred the video to dvd and have a spare copy if anyone can suggest a good home?:ok:

24th Jan 2006, 09:07
Perhaps www.tvoc.co.uk could sell copies to raise funds for '558? Assuming, of course, that MoD Corporate Greed™ doesn't get in the way or claim 'crown copyright'...:yuk:

24th Jan 2006, 09:29
Great idea Beags I'd love a copy.
BTW I'm winning the trip to S.A. however having a dodgy ticker don't think the Lightning flight would be a good idea...so if I win I will be looking for a volunteer to help me quaff the South African vino.:ok:

24th Jan 2006, 10:52
Assuming, of course, that MoD Corporate Greed™ doesn't get in the way or claim 'crown copyright'

You'll just have to go through the film frame-by-frame and erase all the roundels etc., then it'll be kosher.

Easy when you know how - :{

Shaggy Sheep Driver
24th Jan 2006, 11:12
TM - when's the new book expected to be available?


Tim McLelland
24th Jan 2006, 15:27
Beagle, I think it's more likely to be TVOC rather than the MoD which tries to make a fast-buck!
Although I wish the team the very best of luck with their attempts to get 558 back into the air, the people who run the group (or at least some of them) seem to have a very bad attitude. When I got the go-ahead to reprint my Vulcan book, I approached the team to ask if I could interview them about the project. They sent me a very snappy reply, saying that I could use material from their website but that any further "material" would be withheld because I was simply out to make a profit and that they would publish their own book to raise money for 558!
All well and good, except I produced the Vulcan book for peanuts, and I merely wanted to help promote the team's project. Clearly, they will not have the resources to produce a decent book themselves, and of course they don't have any "material" which is particularly rare - I simply wanted to talk to them about the restoration project, so by being so snotty with me, they simply shot themselves in their proverbial foot.
Even more bizarre was the sudden inability of the Vulcan's prospective captain to even return my mail. Particularly annoying when he had previously used loads of my own slides to produce posters which he sold at air shows for his own profit (I never even got so much as a free poster). So you can see that I'm less-than enthused by TVOC's attitude!
As ever, it seems to have become a typical "club" which is ultimately concerned only with self-interest rather than the future of 558. It's a sad business, after all, I was merely offering to help and promote them! Still, despite all that, I hope 558 manages to fly again, regardless of the very odd people that run the project.
UncleFester, I remember that flight too, I was busy taking still shots, and it was hard work, thanks to the Herk crew having invited half of Lyneham along for a free trip too! Thankfully I'd previously taken some other shots of 558 from a CFS Jet Provost - ever tried chasing a Vulcan in a JP? It's certainly a challenge!

Shaggy, the new book isn't going to be available until late next year I suspect, as I've only just started work on it. However it should be pretty good when it's finished, as it will be big, detailed and hopefully the "last word" on the Vulcan. Much more so than my earlier Vulcan book which was a bit disappointing.

Pontius Navigator
24th Jan 2006, 17:24
Tim see PM

Tim McLelland
25th Jan 2006, 23:54
Thanks very much!

I've waded through these threads and I'm exhausted!
Although I've PM'd a few people, I would ask again that if any of you guys want to relate your stories or information on Vulcans, do please PM or email me, as I really would like to gather as many stories as a I can for my new book.
Naturally, I will trace the development and service history of the Vulcan, but this is "old stuff" now, and I think the book would be much more interesting if it contained more direct stories from the people who flew and maintained the aircraft.
I should point-out that discussing the weapons and war role, routes, etc., is no longer a sensitive subject; much has already been discussed in print, and now that the RAF hasn't been in the nukes business for many years, it's no longer a subject to be shrouded in mystery, so I hope to add much more information in my new book about how the Vulcan was actually used, and how it would have operated in a real-time war role. I think it important that this new book (which will probably be the last "big" book on the Vulcan) gives a proper account of what the Vulcan was all about, not just the same old potted history that we've all seen many times before.
I'd be very interested in more information about the one (or is it two?!) incidents in 1969, as that is an event which hasn't been recorded in earlier Vulcan books. Indeed, I'd be very interested in any information about exercises, QRA, and so on.
I'm also on the lookout for photographs, so that I don't have to churn-out too many photos which have been seen before, but of course there's a limit to what I can do. If anyone has any photos they can lend me, I can certainly scan them and return them.
Does anybody have a photo of either of the two Vulcans that received two-tone brown "desert" camouflage on the lower surfaces of the aircraft, during one of the Red Flags? I have a couple of snapshots but they'e fairly distant, so I'm still on the lookout for closer shots if anyone knows of any.
All contributions gratefully received, and credited to their source - it would be a shame if all of the information on this thread wasn't put into print in some form!
[email protected]

Conan the Librarian
26th Jan 2006, 02:03
Tim, book me up for copy no 1 and your autograph please. (Always good to have something to forge....)

Good luck and I seriously hope to enrich you by pennies when it comes out.


Tim McLelland
26th Jan 2006, 19:00
Thanks for the support but I won't be getting any richer, no matter how many people buy it. I settled for a one-off fee to produce it (and you'd be horrified to know how much- or how little it was!) but I thought it would be an interesting project, so what the hell!
Ultimately, I'd be happy if the end result is something that is at least close to a "definitive" book on our beloved Vulcan, chiefly because I seriously doubt if any other publisher will ever produce something so substantial on the Vulcan. These days, plane books just don't interest publishers, so it's hard work to get anything worthwhile commissioned, sadly.

27th Jan 2006, 03:10
Anyhow you will be writing about the aircraft that was responsible for causing all of its pilots to have very great affection bordering on love. The thrills of flying the Vulcan went undiminished by familiarity and every one of us want to do it again. It's nervous system through the stick blended beautifully with ones own although I did try hard to have that hardly discernable breakout force on elevator reduced.

Is there another Vulcan pilot who would not choose it as his favourite. An F-111 comes close.

27th Jan 2006, 08:47

Whilst I agree with a lot of what you say I would nominate the Vampire T11 as my favourite. It took some mastering to fly it properly and once mastered brought a smile every time. Why was it a problem? Brakes that were less effective than bars of soap, no throttle slam control (AFRCU), slow engine acceleration, bands of engine revs that you were not allowed to use and so on plus it flew very nicely thank you. Long landing rollers were character building - couldn't stop and it was a long time in getting the engine back to providing thrust. If you moved the throttle too quickly the engine made a funny continuous burping noise and the only solution was to close the throttle and start again which definately made you think.


27th Jan 2006, 10:29
Tim McL. - another sale guaranteed here at BM Towers. More power to your elbow. I'd like to see a similar in-depth treatment for the other V's too.


Tim McLelland
27th Jan 2006, 12:45
So would I Biker, but aeropsace publishers are a mean and conservative lot, and although they accept that the Vulcan is a commercial subject, they tend to glaze-over at the thought of producing books on the Victor or Valiant. That's why we ultimately end-up with books on V-Bombers rather than individual aircraft. I wrote such a book ("V-Bombers") for PSL/Haynes some years ago, chiefly because it was the only way I could get anything published about the Valiant and Victor!
Spare a thought for lunatics such as myself who adore Varsities - can you imagine a book on the Varsity ever being published?!

27th Jan 2006, 13:32
I once knew a bloke called "Tiny" Tew who I believe was a Nav on 9 Sqn in late 60's/early 70's. (might be wrong) He told me a story about a Vulcan landing in which a main wheel (maybe 2) came adrift. Aircraft landed safely and no body injured, but the wheel bounced across the road, through a field and demolished part of a farmers chicken shed. P***ed off farmer returned wheel in a tractor trailer the next day. Not sure of exact details now as this was some years back. However, others may know more and might like to tell the tale.
Another ex Vulcan man I knew was "Ernie" Batty, now passed on sad to say. Ernie told a hillairious story about a visit to Gib when very junior. His crew went on a bender and all he could remember next morning was some bar done up with rope and fishing nets, and some large fronted woman who's boobs he kissed. It turned out the "bar" was the Officer's Mess and the woman was the Stn Cdr's wife!!! Crew were met on the mess steps by the Staish who knew the Captain, and ignoring Ernie completly bid his friend goodby, saying come back anytime, but don't ever bring HIM. Story as told by Ernie much funnier than I can reproduce here.
My contact with Tin Triangle was I am sad to say, limited to controlling Lightnings on Fighter Affil in various places, and laying on Ladies Mile beach watching 9 and 35 Sqn landing at Akrotiri when I was on 280 SU at Cape Gata in early 1970's. Happy days!!!

Pontius Navigator
27th Jan 2006, 15:48
RayDarr, I just missed the incident that tew reported. It was at Coningsby about May-Jun 64. The sqn cdr made an approach, I don't recall any mitigating factors, on 25 I think. Having thumped the deck they got airborne again minus port main - not sure if they lost 4 pair or just part of the boggie.

The loose wheels then bounced down the airfield missing the 3 QRA ac armed with yellow Suns, where the 29S HAS site, and the rest is as you say.

S****** gout airborne again and made a successful landing at Waddington and I think IX had a new CO. (Could have been 35, certainly not 12). Not long after the new CO B**** ploughed in on recovery from a practice assymetric.

Now I need help after severe brain fade. What was the size of the NBS offsets? Were the internals 20000 yds and the externals 40000 yards?

27th Jan 2006, 17:02
My best mate in the RAF when a Captain on Vulcan at Waddo managed to wipe out 16 of the 18 tyres on landing. Got a bit tense and landed with the toe brakes applied. Axminster shuffle followed I believe. I do hope he doesn't read PPRune.

Mind you his previous Captain who was the OC of 44 turned all the PFC's off whilst aerodynamic braking after landing and stuffed the nose leg up a bit (actually a lot!).


27th Jan 2006, 21:08
Now I need help after severe brain fade. What was the size of the NBS offsets? Were the internals 20000 yds and the externals 40000 yards?
It's getting on for 40 years since I last touched NBS, but that sounds right to me.


27th Jan 2006, 22:04
I have a few questions that arise out of ploughing through this thread and its sub-threads. I flew Vulcans when we had both 201 and 301 engines so some of my confusion may be caused by this. We were introducing Sim Start as a mod. Prior to Sim Start we used to start No 2 engine either using an Artouste (or was it a Palouste) or by cross feeding from the Rover AAPP - the rest were started by cross feeding from No 2. After the mod it was all high pressure air so you could not cross feed anymore. On QRA we used to leave the aircraft cocked ready for Sim start with all throttles at full. You had to either go straight off (from the ORP) or catch the engines at about 70% I think. I seem to remember you had to watch the JPTs and if you retarded the throttles too soon the engine stopped (or the JPT went too high?). I do not recall any ripple starts.

The questions are after the Sim start mod how did we start the engines normally i.e. not on QRA? The other question is about the Take Off/Cruise switch which was not fitted when I was flying Mk2's as far as I can recall - when was that introduced or was it a Mk1/1A thing?


Pontius Navigator
27th Jan 2006, 22:17

Was that the power option on the 301? In take-off the engines would run at 101-104% for take-off. Later they used cruise only thus 98-99% for take-off and still more than enough. Is that right?

TimL, thanks, I remember 56... as the maximum but could not for the life of me remember if it was based on the 40k offsets.

28th Jan 2006, 08:31
In my day the palouste was used if a serviceable one was available. Normally staring an outer engine first. Never bled start air from the AAPP (cannot remeber that as an option). The most common start was a single rapid on an outer, then crossfeeding at 70% to individually start the others. In a hurry it would be the simultaneous crossfeed at 93%. I seem to remember that to even up the wear/numbers of rapid shots across the engines we were a number of times asked to rapid an inner, and then would crossfeed start the other side, throttle back that inner and crossfeed back from the other outer to start the first. Vaguely remeber something about intake airflow and hot starts!
The T/O Cruise switch was lightly wire locked in my day. It limited the 301s to cruise power - 17000lbs - same as the 201s in Take Off. This I always found to be perfectly adequate! The reason, if memory serves me correctly was to preserve the engines from the fearful earsplitting bashing that the engineers gave them in trying to get up to that 104ish% (overswing permitted to 107%?). On displays, scrambles at shows etc crewchiefs were known to do a bit of relocking on the quiet.

28th Jan 2006, 14:46
The Palouste was the referred start in the 70's at least, if necessary using that engine to crossfeed the rest individually [Palousts were notoriously unreliable in those days]; the main reason for that was to save wear and tear on the rapid start combustion chambers. If no Palouste [or more likely, if u/s] rapid start No1 then individual LP crossfeed. The 'ripple rapid' was normally used for exercises or on QRA in the late 60's [set throttles to 70%, select rapid and hit the individual start buttons in the sequence 1,3,2,4. The 'Mass Rapid' or 'Sim Start' was a single button start - the ac was prepped and the throttles set at 70%, alternators set to 'ON'. Hitting the Sim Start button, rapid started all engines together, the alternators came on line automatically and the PFCs then automatically started. ACW418 - in my time [68 onwards] there was always the option to use either LP or HP air.

The External Sim Start was the exciting one, where the crewchief had an external button he pushed to fire up everything, when the crew got to the door. The captain was first on board and when he got to his seat, he throttled back all 4 engines then got on intercm before strapping in.

Apparently, there was a case where the chief hit the button, but the captain couldn't find the doorkey. The storey goes that the ac started to push the chocks forward by the time the key was found and the door opened. Could have been very nasty, because directly in front of the runaway ac was another fully nuclear armed ac...

I once did a start using the AAPP bleed. It took quite some time for the pressure to build in the system and the AAPP was not happy giving away bleed air - it banged and crashed and the JPT went off the clock.

The 301s were more powerful engines designed for Skybolt and then the Blue Steel carriers [BMk2s]. They had a take-off/cruise switch that controlled the thrust avail as 50+Ray said. 'Takeoff' was used when flying a wet round [ie, fully-fuelled] Blue Steel, usually off QRA [at the end of the 30-day on state for the ac - the warhead was removed and ballast fitted].

Halycon days...

28th Jan 2006, 15:49
50+Ray and FJJP

Thanks for your posts which are beginning to get the memory going. I was mid 60's on IX and all our a/c were 301 engined and I don't think they had the T/O Cruise switch then. Pre Sim Start it was all LP air and the usual method of starting was using the Rover as that could be started from the internal batteries and I seem to think we used No 2 as that did not have a restrictor in its engine air - hence the T/O check then of Engine Air Switches 1,3 and 4 on; 2 off. I remember this well as I once got them the wrong way and nearly blew our ear drums in on T/O as well as overspeeding the bootstrap turbine. I could be wrong on using No 2 first.

What I did not remember was that you could cross feed the HP Air after the Sim Start mod. I certainly remember that we set the throttles to full for a Rapid Sim Start on QRA. Perhaps the incident with the crew chief changed the setting to 70%. I wonder if the Artouste was the LP Air starter trolley and the Palouste the later HP Air one?

Great memories are flooding back - many thanks again.


Yellow Sun
28th Jan 2006, 16:25
The External Sim Start was the exciting one, where the crewchief had an external button he pushed to fire up everything, when the crew got to the door. The captain was first on board and when he got to his seat, he throttled back all 4 engines then got on intercm before strapping in.

Apparently, there was a case where the chief hit the button, but the captain couldn't find the doorkey. The storey goes that the ac started to push the chocks forward by the time the key was found and the door opened. Could have been very nasty, because directly in front of the runaway ac was another fully nuclear armed ac...

Mk 1As only AFAIK, never heard of an external system for the Mk2. The incident above did occur, a 44 Sqn Flt Cdr was the perpetrator. Later became OC College Unit at Cranwell.

The 'ripple rapid' was normally used for exercises or on QRA in the late 60's [set throttles to 70%, select rapid and hit the individual start buttons in the sequence 1,3,2,4. The 'Mass Rapid' or 'Sim Start' was a single button start - the ac was prepped and the throttles set at 70%, alternators set to 'ON'. Hitting the Sim Start button, rapid started all engines together, the alternators came on line automatically and the PFCs then automatically started. ACW418 - in my time [68 onwards] there was always the option to use either LP or HP air.

I recall the "ripple rapid" system, at some point the order of start was changed to 2,3,1,4 but I cannot recall the reason. It was possibly associated with the No2 Alternator, maybe there's an AEO who can enlighten us? The auto PFC start feature available through "Sim Start" could be recovered by holding down the "Rudder PFC Start Button" as the alternators came on line. The A and E channels were routed through the R button when Rapid was selected on the Start Panel.

For us all to remember this sort of thing after all these years one can only conclude that the training we received was first rate, either that or we have a fine grasp of the trivia.


28th Jan 2006, 18:28
TimL, thanks, I remember 56... as the maximum but could not for the life of me remember if it was based on the 40k offsets.

That would figure. The square root of 2*40000^2 is 56568.5...

Tim L

Pontius Navigator
28th Jan 2006, 19:12
Remember one failed start at Cottesmore. The rapid air system could manage a sim start of all four and a single engine rapid. Obviously the 6000 psi air could therefore be used 5 times and was very useful on landaways.

On this occasion the usual PoWWWWW was a more muted pow... The chief then suggested either another engine or the other bottles with almost predictable results - po.... and again p......

As radar I quipped in 'Any air in the bottles?' The chief assured us that the bottles had all been charged BUT took the little curved panel between the 1 and 2 engines off and found NO AIR. Same of the starboard side.

The conclusion was obvious and we all deplaned and handed the jet back for a proper BF! Can't remember if we flew that day.

29th Jan 2006, 09:25
ACW418 - wasn't the Artouste the Victor AAPP?

29th Jan 2006, 10:08
Slightly off thread but -

dark night, ground run required for alternator fault diagnosis, crew chief doing the run, me at the AEO's seat. Palouste up and running, crew chief pushes the button, "RPM, oil pressure, JPT - no JPT" says the chief. Considerable delay while chief sratches head, engine still rotating. "Oh dear", says the chief, "I forgot the ignition". Switches ignition on, suddenly we have JPT. We also have a rapidly expanding flame front tearing through the cloud of vapourised fuel at the back of the aircraft. No problem for us, fire section on the other side of the airfield think the worst and set off to damp down the suspected burning wreckage. Blue lights everywhere, shut down, back to the crewroom to rethink and start again.

Pontius Navigator
29th Jan 2006, 17:40
And back on thread, the good thing about a display scramble off the ORP was the 'silent' sim rapid start.

Normally the Hoochin would be running and providing elecrical power but of course it was noisy. For VIP display purposes the aircraft would sit there 'dead' no noise and waiting the scramble order rather than moving up from 15 to 05 and then 02.

The order would come through to scramble and the crew, at a sort of cockpit readiness, door closed, strapped in etc would hit the mass rapid and start rolling to be airborne from cold in about 30 odd seconds. Only think was, as recounted earlier the engine instruments didn't kick in until 70% rpm.

The aircraft would be well on its way down the runway, gyros running up, engine instruments coming on-line and the jet almost flyable before it was actually at 02.

Seem to remember the AEO would start the Rover to speed the elctrics up. The nav kit would be going on computer and ADC only waiting for the NBS and Doppler to catch up.

Remember one Vulcan 1a scramble at Finningley when one jet got airborne on2 and another on 2 with a 3rd spooling up.

29th Jan 2006, 20:25
Gosh -------

29th Jan 2006, 21:07
Pontius Nav

Were those scrambles made with a full load or at light weight.

Could the Victors exhibit similar attributes?

I only flew the Mk 1 Vs and a couple of rides in a Mk 2 Vulcan with Blue Steel to Woomera. I think they all had electric starters on 112V.

Were IPN starters ever tried? (Iso Propyp Nitrate)

29th Jan 2006, 21:20

I think for VIP demo purposes we never had a full fuel load but on certain exercises (Ex Kinsman) when we were dispersed around the British Isles were scrambled with full fuel (but no weapons).

The problem with a 4 ship ORP scramble was that the first two just left the throttles alone and took off but no's 3 and 4 had to wait so you were throttling back to hold the beast but not too far so you could keep your stream distance. One crew got it wrong and went across the runway onto the grass on the other side. Very red faces but fortunately was only a practice.


30th Jan 2006, 03:21
..and a wonderful sight a four-ship scramble of Victor 2s or Vulcans was to behold. Once experienced. albeit as a spectator, never forgotten.As for the scramble warning, I, as a fireman [then] made it a point to be never beaten to the pan by a crew in your funny little bus. We'd be on our second cuppa before you lot arrived!:ok:

On reflection, in discussing scrambles with my son who has just bought the book, "V-Force" by Robert Jackson [Midland Counties], actual scrambles were a comparatively rare event; in two years at Cottesmore I only ever witnessed one! A huge privilege gentlemen. Thank you.

Pontius Navigator
30th Jan 2006, 07:00
Actual scrambles, in the 60s took place on Micky Finn's. The next best was the QRA 02 where we would start and taxi. Sometimes we would go from bed to 02 (2 miles away) in about 8 minutes or so against the max time of 13 minutes.

Scramble interval in the late 60s was increased to 30 seconds stream. First we did I think it was almost every man for himself. I have one shot from the Cranwell ORP, we were the spare crew, with one gone, one climbing and two on and the whole lot black.

The practice scrambles were done with fuel loads as light as 20-30k. Basically transit plus div and min landing fuel. However even at 190k the beast on take-off power I seem to remember needed less than 5000 feet to get airborne (well less).

I meant to say, at Cranwell we did several scramble practise over a few days. I also remember one Saturday our crew had to combat check 5 of the aircraft sitting there. I remember winding it up, checking the NBS (fully) wnding it down and juming in the next jet. I think the whole process took about one hour and that included running all the engines up too.

Lyneham Lad
30th Jan 2006, 10:53
Scramble interval in the late 60s was increased to 30 seconds stream.
In '65 we took 4 a/c from Scampton to Finningley for B of B Day. Three had 201 engines, one had 301's. They were positioned on the ORP and a practice run was carried out (on the Friday IIRC). Crews were in, Houtchins connected and running etc etc - scramble order given, sixteen Olympus's started simultaneously (courtesy of the 6,00psi rapid start), something once experienced, never forgotten. As they spooled-up, all four a/c began moving forward together (no 30 sec stream here!), snatch blocks pulled out the power leads and I dived behind a Houtchin to avoid being blown across Yorkshire. As the gale begins to diminish I poked my head out to watch in complete awe the sight of these four mighty beasts pounding down the runway. The spacing looked a bit odd as far as I could make out through the black haze, as no. 3 seemed to be making a determined effort to leapfrog no. 2. Back on the ground, it was decided by the detachment boss that for the public display on the Sunday, it might just be wise to shuffle the pack and move the 301-engined a/c from no. 3 to no. 1................:\

Pontius Navigator
30th Jan 2006, 17:01
Lyneham Lad, and that was why they settled on 20-30 seconds.

I had a look at the ODM today, unfortunately the 301 Take-off power tables are incomplete. Never-the-less the answers were interesting.

At 190,000 the take-off run for 201 series and 301 on cruise power and ISA -5 was 4 000 feet. At ISA +20 the difference was more marked. The 201 ground run was 4 800 whereas the 301 was only 4 200.

The climb to height at full power was available though. At 190k the 201 series would take 11.5 minutes and use 6 500lbs of fuel to FL425. The 301 on cruise power would take 12 minutes and 6 700lbs of fuel to reach FL432. But at take-off power it would use only 5 500lbs and take 9.5 minutes to reach FL425.

High speed cruise was also interesting. The 301 could achieve 0.9 mn at 138k FL 500 whereas the 201 could not achieve that until it was at 133k.

Fuel burn was also fascinating. Starting low level at 160k at 350kts the 201 would burn 21k per hour compared with the 301 burning only 19k.

On 3 engines, at 325kts the 301 fuel burn was 14.5k/hr falling to 12.5k/hr on 2 engines. With the 201 series, its fuel burn would have been constant at 15k/hr on 2 or 3 engines.

To forestall the obvious Nimrod question, a 2 or 3 engine low-level cruise was not a desirable option as the aircraft electrics were not set up for that operation and of course the aircraft was due to go out of service in the late 60s.

I also checked to see how often we did a scramble take-off. Surprised me it did and also served to show how 'natural' it became. We did 18 scrambles in 24 months on Micky Finn, Kinsman, Billion (Gpex) and Statex (station). They were not at light weights either as witnessed by the flight times - Almost all flights were over 5 hours and even a display scramble was 2 hours (Cranwell) and 2 hr 50 min (Cottesmore).

30th Jan 2006, 19:40
On a somewhat off-topic/on-topic note, The Vulcan to the sky project appears to have some friends in the BBC.

Was watching their new SF comedy "Hyperdrive" last night and noticed that the serial number of starship HMS Camden Lock is "XH558".

Cheers, SSS

30th Jan 2006, 20:04
Fascinating stuff that PN!

I believe the two squadrons at Cottesmore, 10 and 15, had the Victor 1A, but the first trials unit of four Victor 2s , "C" Squadron was also there around 1961-62, and the take-offs were noticeably different, if only in the eyes of an uninformed observer like myself!

They Victor 2 also had a shorter landing run, and much better brakes , among other improvements,as I recall, though no doubt the weren't operating at the same weights; or were they? It would hardly be a trials unit if they weren't!

The OC of that unit came over to the Crash Crew for a chat one day, [a very, very, rare event I might add!], and it might help to identify him if I said he was the Captain of that Valiant that had the major in-flight fire and landed with two engines out and a large hole burnt in the wing!

31st Jan 2006, 06:06

When did you Brits convert to runway lengths in feet.

In my day during mid 50s at BD this one from Oz had to try to get used to runway lengths in yards and you mostly suffered (but not too much it seems) with your standard runways of 2,000 yards. It never became instinctive to me as I was brought up on my feet.

Flying up and down roughly between John o Groats and Lands end at night trying to determine the compatability and coupling settings of all those boxes and coupling units of the NBS/Mk10 autopilot was a challenge. Used to want to know where we were at times and the Nav, engrosed in his testing, would eventually say we were over some county or other which to me was completely meaningless. He soon got the message and to my relief all future reports were reference London.

By the way BD tested the Mk 1 Vulcans out to IMN 0.98/415 kias. 0.98 was at the top end of the auto mach trimmer and things started to go pear shaped above. If I hear correctly that you were limited to 0.90 in the Mk 2s then I think someone was being over protective with the service release.

Pontius Navigator
31st Jan 2006, 06:53
Milt, my reference to .9 mn is the highest table in the ODM. Agree that above .94 things started to get intresting. Did one air test with John Stanley, ex-GSU etc and I am sure Flatus Veteranus might chip in here, when 'Dad' did a high mach run to about .96 I seem to remember. TAS approaching 525 I think.

Anyway I noticed that the entire back end nav crate was rising and falling bfore my very eyes. As I was strapped in securely and the nav crate was part of the airframe something didn't gell.

Then I realised it must have been my eye balls, uncaged and oscillating vertically out of sync with the pitching of the aircraft. That was the only clue that we were not flying smoothly straight an level.

As far as runways are concerned, we have always been ambidextrous and happy to us 3000 yard runways and 9000 foot ones when the others were not available. My be they were built to British standard in yards and we aircrew had to do the mental conversion with runway DTG boards as an aide memoire:D

31st Jan 2006, 08:57

We used to do Auto mach trim runs on the OCU in 1964 and we certainly used to go to about 0.96 on those on the Mk2. I seem to recall that AMT did not start until about 0.9 or was it 0.88?

At the OCU I remember a Sqn Ldr McMaster telling an enthralled audience that he had taken a Vulcan above Mach 1.0 and that he would never do it again as both pilots were pulling as hard as they could with both hands to recover.


Pontius Navigator
31st Jan 2006, 17:16
ACW and you wore the full bondage lit too?

31st Jan 2006, 19:14

Sorry I must be thick or something - didn't get the sarcasm. Be grateful if you could help someone with a slower brain and explain please.


Pontius Navigator
31st Jan 2006, 19:24
ACW, long johns, G-pants, vest and shirt (hairy flying shirt), AVS, flying suit and pressure jerkin.

Waddle like a duck and a real disincentive to have too much to drink and risk having to have a pee.

Remember the presure jerkins? Great big blue canvas babygrows with the orange stoll and the shoulder pads to stop the harness slipping.

31st Jan 2006, 19:34

Yes of course. Don't remember the long johns but always wore the pressure jerkin - I don't think we had separate Mae Wests on Vulcans. Did you use the AVS and was it always u/s like the pilots ones? Just blew cold air but you didn't realise till it was too late so you froze for about three hours at altitude. There was nothing so startling as seeing your mate practising pressure breathing at North Luffenham - neck size increased about two fold it seemed. Do they still do that today at the Av Med School.


Pontius Navigator
31st Jan 2006, 19:39
ACW, our QFI had a thing about wearing the full fig just in case. This was after the force had gone LL. But he knew a thing or two as we deployed to the Far East later that year with all the kit.

We wore ordinary LSJs when we did not plan to fly above 450. Didn't look forward to wearing all the kit at 30 deg plus.

Used to use the AVS for coolth more than warmth. Unlike the drivers airframe sitting there doing nothing I had to jump around the cockpit passing up butty boxes, hot soup etc and then shooting astro.

Pontius Navigator
31st Jan 2006, 19:41
Yes still got blown up in the F4 fig. Not as bad as it was not as high as 560. Only had the 56 treatment once, thereafter it was 520. Still a bastard with the oxygen streaming over the eyeballs.

31st Jan 2006, 19:59

I think you were refering to what Navs usually call the master race!

I saw someone post on here a bit back about being explosively decompressed to 52K but I thought we went a bit higher than that. I had a skinful of beer the night before which nearly led to another explosive decompression.


Pontius Navigator
31st Jan 2006, 21:14
The first bang was to 560. Thereafter the annual refresher was shorter and lower. I published the figures from my log book.

Ah yes, forgot (no I didn't) the twin winged master race. Mind you far harder to fly with only one wing.

Remember one morning, skipper called back after morning prayers, 'mutter mutter mutter.' We tackled him later, it was about him hitting a runway marker board about 5000 feet down the runway (just under 1700 yards Milt). Seems the 3 foot high board had been hit 10 feet inboard of the tip of the wing - at night!


Apparently the previous night when our skipper was doing a check ride on a different crew's copilot - soon to become an ex-V-force copilot.

Which sqn ACW? I was on 12.

31st Jan 2006, 23:58
Sqn Ldr McMaster telling an enthralled audience that he had taken a Vulcan above Mach 1.0 and that he would never do it again as both pilots were pulling as hard as they could with both hands to recover.

Could someone explain why that would be the case? Milt?

The aircraft presumably wouldn't reach that speed in level flight and also, presumably, wasn't meant to fly that fast, so......?

1st Feb 2006, 06:58
My memory may be at fault, but here goes. Shock wave build up progessively pushed the nose down. AMT began to extend at about (?)0.88 to apply up elevon. Both AMT at full extension was about three quarters of max control deflection up, and that was reached at about .94 or .95 I believe, certainly faster than we were supposed to go, and speeds normally obtainable only when going downwards IMHO.
On a previous subject, most of my Scrambles were at normal BTR training weights, and I cannot remember the separation time. I do recall a couple of scrambles for VIP displays where we taxied forward off the ORP together then sat for the appropriate delay before releasing brakes. One occasion was in heavy rain (Duke of G?) as a Co in number 3. I remember that when No1 went to full power we lost sight of nearly everything in the blast of horizontal water and the ASI read 70+ while we were stationary.

Pontius Navigator
1st Feb 2006, 07:06
50+Ray, very good. As you say AMT gave just about full up elevon. Without a tail there was no more to give.

Why do M 1.0? 'Cause it's there? Or more likely an accidental excursion.

Happened in Cyprus too. Aircraft dived and both pilots pulled and overstress. Saved the aircraft.

Or thought they had. The ground experts said it would have recovered without the overstress when it entered the thicker air around 30k. IAS would be higher and more control authority would have been available.

Wonder how long and how many cups of coffee it took to work that one out? Rather different trying the same trick at several times the speed of the Cresta run.

1st Feb 2006, 07:48
If I recall correctly, Auto Mach Trim applied increasing up elevon as the IMN increased and the Centre of Pressure moved further and further aft, until at M0.97, AMT was holding 75% up elevon. That left only 25% further elevon available to recover from any high speed, until the IMN decreased in the descent.

'No trimming above M0.9' if I recall corrctly, meaning you held a push force against the AMT if you needed to cruise at greater than M0.9 - and gave a natural pitch up behaviour if stick force was relaxed.

Having got into a high speed descent once due to trying to be too clever, I can certainly confirm that with AMT working as adevertised, it takes a looooong time to recover from extreme descent angles with only 25% up elevon left to play with until the TAS/IAS ratio improves in the lower atmosphere.

My error was to throttle to idle and extend full airbrake at FL450, then pitch into the descent thinking that accelerating against airbrake would significanty increase the descent rate. Which it did - except that I'd forgotten about the additional strong nose-down trim change you expereince about 7 sec after extending airbrakes. So Iwas caught by surprise when it happened and I ended up with a much steeper dive angle and a lot more IMN than I'd intended (M0.97-ish was certainly seen...), thus nearly dropped a boom right overhead Bawtry - where AOC 1 Gp would no doubt have had questions asked!

Regarding throttle settings on scrambles, there was some potential problem due to a fuel valve being held open by fuel flow in the flow control unit (or whatever an Olympus 'carburettor' was termed), meaning that if you parked the throttles at the 50% setting used for rapid starts and then opened them fully, the valve might stay open and an over rich fuel flow restrict the available thrust. I certainly remember being told to throttle to idle briefly after a ripple rapid start in order to allow the valve to close, before opening up to scramble.

1st Feb 2006, 09:42
Auto Mach Trims have their limits.

I can only talk to the Vulcan and Victor Mk 1s although a few flights in a Vulcan Mk2 as an IRE were a bonus.

The extract from memoirs has been posted some time ago on another thread but may be of interest in the current context.

The IMN reached was a transitory reading before all attention was concentrated on recovering from a serious mach tuck

Towards the end of 1957, Flt Lt Rus Law was selected to replace me at Boscombe Down. He was then completing the ETPS course at Farnborough. I commenced handing over my responsibilities for all Vulcan flight tests to others in the squadron. Flt Lt Ray Bray was to pick up on weapon carriage and release trials. So, one day we were out over Lyme Bay in Vulcan 892 with a full load of practice bombs. One point for measurement was to be at the corner of the aircraft flight envelope with the weapon bay doors open. This was 415 Kts IAS, 0.98 IMN and 3.5 g. The cross over for IMN and IAS was at about 27,000 ft.

Ray was flying the aircraft from the right seat. We started a spiralling descent at high mach number from above 35,000 ft, aiming to reach all of the test conditions together at 27,000 ft.

The Vulcan had an increasing nose down pitching moment due to shock wave effects as speed increased above 0.88 IMN. To artificially correct this instability, Avro had inserted an auto mach trimmer in the elevator controls. The trimmer responded to mach number by extending increasing up elevator without any change to stick position or feel until it ran out of authority at 0.98 IMN. There was then little remaining elevator movement available, especially for manoeuvre.

We were thus spiralling down with almost full up-elevator. I had discussed these limits during our pre-flight briefing so we were a bit wary.
As it happened, Ray pulled a little too tightly into the spiral just short of our target conditions and speed dropped off. He relaxed stick back pressure to recover speed which increased too quickly and to overshoot just as we had reached the limit of the auto mach trimmer. The result was an abrupt increase in nose-down pitch and an attempt to control this by further back-stick. But there was no more left, the elevators were at full authority.

I grabbed the stick with both hands, stopped the roll and tried to milk some more elevator. With two of us pulling hard on the stick, we found it to be very firmly against the stops. But, the nose was pitching down at an increasing rate as mach number went up past 1.0. I let go of the stick with my right hand and pulled all engines back to idle, before pondering the effects of the speed brakes if I were to extend them now at a speed well above their maximum operating speed. There was a real risk of them failing structurally. By now we were going through the vertical with the Mach No reaching 1.04+ . I was considering pushing under and slowly rolling upright.

I took the risk and slammed down the speed brake control and felt them bight. IAS and IMN started to come back and, slowly at first, the elevators started to pitch the nose up. We came back through the vertical at about 18,000 ft and soon gained normal control. Continuing buffet reminded us that the weapon bay doors were still open. To my relief they closed as we continued to pull out of our dive, regaining level flight at 8,000 ft. Any ships below would have received a very substantial sonic bang.

There was a residual abnormal noise and my concern about the speed brakes returned. I called base and asked for assistance from any airborne aircraft in the vicinity. A Canberra was vectored towards us as I headed back towards Boscombe Down. I found that, as I slowed the aircraft, the noise became worse. At 150 Kts the noise in the cockpit was like blowing across the top of an empty bottle. Soon we had a Canberra pilot looking us over. He spotted a small access hatch open under the nose and no other problem of external significance. The hatch turned out to be the access to the oxygen filling connections.

Ground inspection revealed that the rear bulkhead of the weapons bay had been deformed. If that had let go we would have lost our tail.

This turned out to be the first time that a V bomber had gone supersonic. It was not to be a normal event. In the next year one of B Squadron's Victors ran-away nose down after losing a pitot tube and broke up over the Bristol channel.

I continued to learn the elements of survival as a test pilot. A wide general knowledge of all aircraft systems was basic, together with a solid appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of aircraft structures. Necessary also was an ability to continuously assess all factors and limitations applying to critical areas of flight and performance, always matching all aspects to one's own personal and crew abilities.

Pontius Navigator
1st Feb 2006, 16:31
Checking the ODM, there was a negative correction to IMN to get TMN. Typically this was -0.03 ie .98 IMN would equate to 0.95 true. The actual correction varied with height and weight.

1st Feb 2006, 17:29
I remember doing a GSU ride mach run [J LeB] when the mach transient went from .93 to .96. Honest guv, I was doing everything right. I didn't touch anything, just held the attitude and power and made comment. He saw it too and after a few secs it settled back down to .93. The only conclusion we could reach was that we had hit a large pocket of warmer air. Didn't feel any different, but maybe it just didn't last long enough to take effect...

1st Feb 2006, 17:38
'Jack the Brown', eh - lucky you!


1st Feb 2006, 18:13
He was OK really. Pity he lost a large slice of his humour when he shed the pounds. In his earlier [Pr. Charles] days he was big, jolly and mischievous!

1st Feb 2006, 21:22
"I was considering pushing under and slowly rolling upright".

Bloody hell; The mind boggles!:eek:

Pontius Navigator
2nd Feb 2006, 07:39
Samuel, been there, just avoided the done that.

Stable, inverted, climbing and 20k on the clock going up. Fortunately P1 had the presence of mind to lower the nose and roll erect. At least that is what I think he did, I was just standing between the seats at the time.

2nd Feb 2006, 08:15
Pontius, that sounds mighty intruiging! Do tell what was going on to end up in that attitude...

Pontius Navigator
2nd Feb 2006, 08:33
FJJP, sorry, too much information for this forum, see PM.

13th Feb 2006, 15:24
I have a pic of XM573 in its current state at the strategic air and space museum. Keep in mind I am not even a decent photographer. Anyway I dont have an account to post it online for everyone to see. I can send it to anyone who wants to look at at. Great thread, I loved seeing these Iron triangles fly when I was a youngling.

14th Feb 2006, 09:20
Can remember tanking from a Vulcan over RAFG in the 80s. As we closed up to contact, my back-seater and I noticed what looked like half a wooden garden shed around the HDU assembly. It might have looked like something out of B&Q, but it certainly did the business. After the tanking we indulged in some "affil" with the great tin triangle from HL down to LL - what a magnificent beast.....

14th Feb 2006, 09:25
I understand the crews termed it the 'MFI wardrobe'!

I found it much more comfortable in the F4 to prod against the Vulcan tanker than ever it was to prod against a Victor.

Apart from the time on JMC when the first prod was against a hard hose - got out just in time to avoid the whiplash! OK after a retrail though....

Pontius Navigator
14th Feb 2006, 19:40
Interesting that the Vulcan was better tanker than the Victor. In the early days the Mark 1 as assessed as TFD because of downwash etc and the BK1 was not pursued. Similarly it was assessed as unsuitable as a PR platform so that option was not pursued either.

Maybe this was a question of vested interests at play?

time expired
14th Feb 2006, 20:44
a couple of questions concerning Western Ranger ex.
1-has anyone heard about Vulcans penertrating north american airspace
by flying at 0 feet up the st.lawrence river.
2-was a Vulcan lost during these exercises.
love the aeroplane since watching 4 of them do a tactical take off at
raf germany 20 anniversary airshow, definately the sound of freedom,
as the americans used to say.

15th Feb 2006, 07:49
Not to my knowledge

15th Feb 2006, 08:40
I heard from a former CF-100 driver that during the early 60's they did it by flying at low level via Hudson Strait, Hudson Bay, James Bay and on southward over Ontario and onwards into the US. They then climbed to a sane altitude and announced themselves much to the consternation of all else concerned.
Looking at the configuration of the Dew, Mid-Canada and Pinetree Lines and using some inspired terrain masking it may well have been possible.
Interceptors close to the track would have been available from CFS Val Dor ( CYVO ) North Bay (CYYB ) and Ottawa (CYOW )
Whether this is true or not I do not know - but it makes a good story!

Some nice surfing can be found at:

Pinetree Line web: http://www.pinetreeline.org/

DEW Line web www.lswilson.ca/dewline.htm

Mid Canada Line web http://www.lswilson.ca/mcl.htm

15th Feb 2006, 08:40
Exercise 'Skyshield' involved penetration of NORAD air space in 1961. This included Vulcans which landed at Loring, Stephenville and Plattsburgh (I think - 15 years before my time on Vulcans!).

'Western Rangers' were merely routine trips to Goose, then Offutt and included low level simulated bombing exercises. Each crew probably flew one Western Ranger per year (unless the Boss stole the trip - as was sometimes the case) and they were eagerly anticipated!

A small number of Vulcans were lost in the US over the years, but not during Exercise 'Skyshield'.

Yellow Sun
15th Feb 2006, 15:50
a couple of questions concerning Western Ranger ex.
1-has anyone heard about Vulcans penertrating north american airspace
by flying at 0 feet up the st.lawrence river.
2-was a Vulcan lost during these exercises.

There was a book; published in the early 1960's; titled "The Penetrators". The plot was based on a penetration of US airspace by Vulcans in order to demonstrate the vulnerability of the US to air attack. Parts of the book were probably loosely based on Ex Sky Shield to which Beagle refers and in the course of "the attack" a Vulcan is lost. The author plainly had some insight into V-force operations and some of the detail is good, but it is fiction. It is just possible that this might be the source of the story that timex' heard.


Pontius Navigator
15th Feb 2006, 16:59
In The Penetrators, I think the author was Gray, the aircraft was a Vindicator or similar name. On the Sky Shield exercise I believe the Vulcan ECM achieved a hard kill on the Norad sites as they had inadequate overload protection against high powered jammers.

As far as what we did on Western Rangers, the exercise that Beagle refers to was, I think, up to 10 days, and included flights on Oil Burner routes. The previous WR that I did in the mid 60s were purely high level and we were supposed to make 3 or so attacks inbound and outbound. Unlike UK the US used dedicated RBS - Radar Bomb Scoring units and Nike Missile sites. The latter had vulnerability periods when, I guess, they were open to give a random coverage across the Conus.

Problem for us was the Nike vulnerability often clashed with pubrise times at Offut and Goose. Two suitable RBS bombplots were Watertown and Hastings. Unfortunately the latter was west of Offutt by about 90 miles and the skipper called a fuel priority first time we had a go. Second time I got a good score there. Watertown likewise required a route deviation that p*ssed the AEO off as we had to leave the airway.

One trip (the good one) we had had the new target designations efficive 1 May and we were attacking on 4 May. As we ran in the RBSU queried our target and suggested we might have been going for a different one. They had not got the new target list. We quickly declared to old target teller and pressed on.

Their RBS patter was different from UK. If you tried to blag it - well you know the problems of language - OTOH spiel out their patter - Romeo 5 on target Charlie etc and you were quids in. Romeo 5 was a radar offset attack.

24th Feb 2006, 19:11
Does anyone have any knowledge of the incident mentioned here:
http://www.avrovulcan.org.uk/1_group_presentation/557stream.htm where a petrol station was apparently flattened by the jetwash from XH557 when the pilot aborted his landing and had to go around again?

Yellow Sun
25th Feb 2006, 09:58
Does anyone have any knowledge of the incident mentioned here:
http://www.avrovulcan.org.uk/1_group.../557stream.htm where a petrol station was apparently flattened by the jetwash from XH557 when the pilot aborted his landing and had to go around again?

Was this Reg Wa****am? A bit before my time, but Pontious N might be able to confirm.


John Farley
25th Feb 2006, 11:38
UK Flight Testing Accidents 1940-71
Derek Collier Webb
ISBN 0 85130 311 1

Gives the following account of this accident:

Delivery flight to Filton from Boscombe Down for engine handling trials with the Olympus B.01 21 engine. The aircraft had been allotted to Handling Sqn to enable flight trials to be undertaken to update the advanced issue Pilot's Notes. The Captain Flt Lt Wareham had 15 hours on type and the co-pilot Mr Frost none. After touching down fast, from an ACR 7 approach, 550 yards beyond the threshold on a flooded runway in moderate rain at Filton, the pilot applied the wheel brakes with no apparent effect. The drag parachute was then deployed but again no retardation was felt. Engine power was applied 600 yards from the end of Runway 10 and an overshoot executed, the aircraft was pulled off the ground 50 yards from the end of the runway. During the overshoot the aircraft struck a sodium light bursting four of the eight starboard bogie tyres and struck a commercial garage situated at the end of the runway, blowing all four petrol pumps away, damaging two cars, and hit the street lighting. As the aircraft climbed, the streamed brake parachute fell away. The aircraft then diverted to St.Mawgan and landed safely. The weather at Filton was marginal for the Vulcan especially using the ACR 7, which the captain had never before flown in a Vulcan. This had been compounded by the failure of the brake parachute to fully deploy.

25th Feb 2006, 13:15
Thanks very much indeed for that comprehensive (and authoritative) reply.

It is appreciated (and I've also got another book to add to my list of titles to lay my hands on :) )

John Farley
25th Feb 2006, 13:36
My pleasure. The publisher was Air-Britain

25th Mar 2006, 20:48
I was wandering if the Gentlemen of this forum could settle an argument. Were all Vulcan crew commisioned, or were there some NCO aircrew on them?


25th Mar 2006, 20:52
All flight crew were commisioned.

25th Mar 2006, 21:02
Can someone jog my memory? If I recall correctly (or perhaps not), 101 Squadron was represented at an RNZAF airshow at Ohakea in the mid-60s with a Vulcan (The same show where an RNZAF Sunderland did a slow (well, yes...), low flypast and grounded on the runway centreline)
Was 101 Finingley or Wittering based at the time? John Ramsden was STO at either (or both) stations, I believe.

Pontius Navigator
25th Mar 2006, 21:47
Were all V-bomber crews commissioned?

I beg to disagree with Forget. It is true that for the major period the crews were all commissioned but I believe that some Valiants initially had NCA.

On my first Vulcan OCU in 1964 we had an ex-90 Sqn AEO who was now retreading to the Vulcan. 90 Sqn had I believe been an ECM Sqn, similar to Badger Js. I suspect that is because it was not nuclear armed and thus did not need commissioned aircrew.

The all officer crew was a political sop to allay fears of the public that nuclear bombs were only entrusted to responsible adults <g>.

26th Mar 2006, 11:55
Whilst at Gaydon, mid-1963 to early-1964, I recollect several NCA stepping out from the back of a Valiant after an OCU sortie.


15th Apr 2006, 02:10
All flight crew were commisioned.

During my time at 230 OCU at RAF Finningly in the early sixties, the crew chief was considered a member of the crew, and on sorties to Goose Bay would normally go along. The crew chief was always a senior NCO.

Yellow Sun
16th Apr 2006, 13:24
This one is a little different:


I wonder if Bawtry ever found out about it?:)

16th Apr 2006, 13:43
Where, when and who driving?

Yellow Sun
16th Apr 2006, 13:49
Where, when and who driving?

That would be telling, but I am in the frame! Regrettably the quality isn't great, but it should be good enough to give a clue.


Pontius Navigator
16th Apr 2006, 15:07

Quite correct. Unfortunately this one crew/one crew chief had an unfortunate side effect. As there were rather more CC than crews I think that this meant that some CC did not get as many trips as the others. Certainly at Cottesmore they tried to break the cartel but there were ways and means . . .

Our Chief was Taff Skuse. The first time I came across him was in a p*ss*ng contest on Penang when we were on detachment. Back in UK he then became our CC. At Akrotiri once we 'assisted' a Blue Steel crew who had sliced their wing open with the upraised door of a safety razor. Bodge tape and a Libyan LL flown before a hasty skin repair. I don't think that one made the 700.

Same trip we had a fire tech box change. Real p*ss*r as it was a 200 series engine and we had to take the tail pipe cone off then slide the jet pipe out. I think this was pushing aircrew servicing rather further than the Broadhurst, original CinC had intended. Still Akrotiri, true to its present self, nothing was too much for them. They didn't do anything at all. We were assisted by an ex-V-force Chief on his time off.

Then Stateside we had the Western Ranger to end all WR although I know lots of crews tried. All hot to trot we went out to the aircraft only for Taff to explain that the alternator flashing warning was not working and we would need a box from UK. Week later, back to the jet, pitot-statics iced up. Wonder why? Nothing to do with removing the pitot covers the previous week :) .

Aircraft now needs defuelling before it can go in the shed. Wether attrocious Looking Glass airborne and on AAR/Divert so no empty bowsers. Eventually system dried out, refuelled, hot to trot - Goose out. Next day Offutt out. Eventually, at Goose, HF u/s. Unable to fly across pond without HF.

Now disaster struck. Taff must have taken his eye off the ball. Some fairies 'borrowed' some co-ax from our cousins and we came serviceable at 2200 GT. (GT=Gin and Tonic).

Skipper was sick before we got airborne. Plotter had elected to fly southern route through St Mawgan. Skipper wakes up, takes command and calls Scottish. Pissed off London controller and skipped goes back to bye-byes.

I don't think they let us out with Taff again. Oh, and the flashing warning? NNF.

16th Apr 2006, 23:41
Can someone jog my memory? If I recall correctly (or perhaps not), 101 Squadron was represented at an RNZAF airshow at Ohakea in the mid-60s with a Vulcan (The same show where an RNZAF Sunderland did a slow (well, yes...), low flypast and grounded on the runway centreline)
Was 101 Finingley or Wittering based at the time? John Ramsden was STO at either (or both) stations, I believe.

Not so! The Wellington Airport opening incident was 1959, and the Vulcan visit to Ohakea was much later, 1964 I recall. The Vulcan at Wellington broke the port undercarriage and the wingtip actually scraped the ground before some brilliant flying got it back in the air where it landed on one leg at Ohakea, 100 or so miles north. It was repaired and subsequently returned to service. The Sunderland scraping the runway was not so clever, and resulted in a very fast beaching at Hobsonville near Auckland. No, I wasn't there! I think the last ever visit of a Vulcan to New Zealand was in the mid-70s.

eagle 86
17th Apr 2006, 02:18
Does anyone recall a Vulcan accident where the PIC was a RAAF chap on exchange tour with RAF and the circumstances surrounding it?

Yellow Sun
17th Apr 2006, 06:41
where the PIC was a RAAF chap on exchange tour with RAF

The only exchange post I recall during my time on the Vulcan was the USAF officer in the OCU groundschool.


17th Apr 2006, 09:41
Does anyone recall a Vulcan accident where the PIC was a RAAF chap on exchange tour with RAF and the circumstances surrounding it?

'Fraid not, but I did see the Vulcan break up at Syerston in '58. Now that was spectacular.

17th Apr 2006, 09:56
Aircraft now needs defuelling before it can go in the shed. Wether attrocious Looking Glass airborne and on AAR/Divert so no empty bowsers. Eventually system dried out, refuelled, hot to trot - Goose out. Next day Offutt out. Eventually, at Goose, HF u/s. Unable to fly across pond without HF.

Vulcan on QRA early sixties. I have definite recollections of sitting on top of a nuke to replace the STR18 HF aerial coupler which had gone phut. Once commented to friend who replied "So Dr Strangelove wasn't all fiction". <grin>

Pontius Navigator
17th Apr 2006, 17:40
eagle 86, further to the USAF exchange on Vulcans. One, Dick Shabot (sp?) was the ex on the Bomber Command Bombing School. Very old-school SAC and totally out of touch with typical brit irreverant humour.

Don't recall one at Finningley but that may have been the BCBS slot once Lindholme closed. Ops 2 at Bawtry was also USAF and nails the fact of USAF exchange. Because he was a foreign national Ops 1 needed a UK side-kick to cover for leave etc, hence Ops 1a was a Flt Lt slot. Whenever Ops 2 went into Ops 1/1a domain he would knock on the door "Lock up your Guard" so they could hide any UK Eyes stuff.

There were a number of NZ and Aussie in the V-force but they were RAF and not exchange.

17th Apr 2006, 17:56
Just as there were RAF exchange officers with SAC; the most memorable being Group Captain Mandrake! Wonderful movie and part!

Pontius Navigator
17th Apr 2006, 18:19
The one I met was more David Niven. A real gent, no side, Gp Capt Ulf Burberry. He took us 'up' in the lift to the underground command post.

We went up 2-3 floors, swapped lifts, and descended into the bowls of the earth. Lots of doors, lots of guards, lots of cameras. "What is your security clearance?" we were asked. Blank looks then Ulf supplied "UK Tops Secret" and the doors opened. We then passed down a large corridor/road hewn out of bed rock before entering the capsule. . . .

18th Apr 2006, 12:31
Two RAAF TPs flew the Vs at Boscombe Down in the late 50s.

Had a couple of close encounters in the Vulcan Mk1 taking one to the flight test corner of the envelope - 415 Kias, 0.98 IMN, 3.5g. Ran out of elevator and pitched hard nose down with stick hard against the rear stop. Was about to go under and roll upright up the other side but power off and speed brakes together with rapidly increasing air density eventually allowed for a pull out. Max IMN was about 1.05.

Then the second Valiant prototype broke a main wing spar soon after an AUW measured take off with Super Sprites. That's enough to give one a touch of PTSD.

Yellow Sun
18th Apr 2006, 14:34
Another shot of the mixed formation I posted earlier in this thread. A bit more of a clue this time:



18th Apr 2006, 15:10
Well...the two accompanying aircraft are CT-!!4 Tutors: Canadian, therefore it's Canada!

Pontius Navigator
18th Apr 2006, 15:37
Milt, very interesting. Certainly non-operational flying, such as TP, would not have been security embargoed. More interestingly is the 415 KIAS you mention. This was also the fabled once only Vne for our war mission. Now I wonder if that was the reason and wonder whether the Mk 2 or 1a were ever tested at 415 kts.

During one exercise our g/s at release was 415 kts at 500 feet. We were shaking fit to burst and the Calc 5 height carriage was jumping up and down causing the range marker to jitter. This was in 1965 over France with a Vatour in hot pursuit - we won. At that time the 415 kts was not widely known.

Our training LL speed was 250 kts for fatigue and 350 kts for simulated laydoww or popup attacks and not more than was necessary and no more than 10 minutes. Operationally our LL cruise was 325 kts with 375 kts max.

At Farnborough one year the display pilot apparently misread the ASI and accelerated to 475 rather than 375!

Yellow Sun
18th Apr 2006, 17:09
Samuel wrote:
Well...the two accompanying aircraft are CT-!!4 Tutors: Canadian, therefore it's Canada!

Well you can bet your bottom (Canadian) dollar that it wasn't Finningley!

My reason for the reticence is that I am very curious to know if the story got out. I don't think it did, so I was wondering if anyone (other than the participants) would recognise the photos.


Yellow Sun
18th Apr 2006, 19:02
Did Abbotsford Airshow, Aug 1983, Chris Lumb (OC 50) & John Laycock (OC Waddo) - last year of both Vulcan & Voodoo. Got some lovely shots (somewhere!) of XL426 with 2 Voodoos!!

Well Mike it seems that we might have started something of a tradition then! But my pics pre-date yours by a long way!

Depends on the crew, location & authoriser

Authoriser?, now there's an interesting thought, I think it was mentioned but I'm not sure what was done about it.


18th Apr 2006, 19:20
There's lots of stories out there [like the smoking crewchief with the AOC on board!] - I haven't heard about this formation thingy; why is it such a mystery and so sensitive? Surely enough time has passed and all players long out of reach of any action?

Come on, give us the dirt... Sounds like it might be interesting!

Pontius Navigator
18th Apr 2006, 20:47
I remember watching the AEO's cigarette disappear in a trice. Incandscent even as the oxygen bled from his mask :}

18th Apr 2006, 20:50
...And the desperate call from Bawtry to confiscate and destroy all copies of the Scampton 'Delta' magazine that ran the story! How I wish I had a copy...

19th Apr 2006, 00:54
Pontius Navigator raises a few interesting IAS numbers for the Vulcans. In my time at BD as senior TP on the Vulcan Mk1 our flight test limits were 415 KIAS and 0.98 IMN. The RAF service release was 380 KIAS and 0.98 IMN. The IMN limit was prescribed as this was the top end of the Auto Mach Trimmer cancelling out pitch down between 0.88 and 0.98. There was not much up elevator remaining at 0.98 depending somewhat on the cg. Cleared the drop of a big blunt shape at 0.98. Did the Squadrons drop any?

The ribs in the nose were subject to deformation at excessive IAS and 475 KIAS would be grossly excessive. Ex RAF Vulcan TP, Tony Blackman, was one of the Avro display pilots at Farnborough from 1958 together with Jimmy Harrison and Roly Falk.

Tony Blackman has recently published a fascinating book entitled "Flight Testing to Win" describing displays of the Vulcan and flight testing at BD and Avro's. No mention of excessive IAS. Tony is currently touring down under and I'll have an opportunity to inquire about the 475. Watch this space.

Tony describes the return of two display Vulcans from Farnborough to Woodford where the most convenient way to have the pressurisation managed was for he and Jimmy Harrison to take their wives along in the right seats. Saved him having to use the cg slide rule to reach the switches.

Pontius Navigator
19th Apr 2006, 06:11
Milt, please see PM.

20th Apr 2006, 04:28
With the roll-out due in August, it shouldn't be long now until the patience and sacrifice of all those involved on the project to return '558 to the skies will be rewarded.

However, as before funding remans crucial. I hope that those genuinely interested in seeing '558 fly again will be able to help; rather than making comments shrouded in negativity as on another thread on this board, let's see some tangible support from all those who can afford to help.....

It's possible to make e-contributions on the project website; hopefully this will help to secure the necessary additional funding.

The 25th anniversary of the events of 1982 will soon be here; let us not lose the opportunity for future generations to admire the sight and sound of the Vulcan in flight!

20th Apr 2006, 04:49
Same trip we had a fire tech box change. Real p*ss*r as it was a 200 series engine and we had to take the tail pipe cone off then slide the jet pipe out.A 250 megger on the thermocouple wiring would almost always clear a fire-tech snag. Pulling a jet pipe wasn't exactly a popular job, even in the hangar. If you think that's bad, try lagging the thermocouple wiring with asbestos wrap in freezing rain at 0330! Just a thought.... How are the 558 guys going to get around that little problem? I suppose they have to use fibre-glass tape these days, but it doesn't last five minutes next to a jet pipe.

BTW, clearing a snag as NFF was declared politically incorrect as it was tantamount to calling the crew bull-sh*tters. (as in imaginary snags during a western ranger) We had to use UTRD* instead. :rolleyes:

(*Unable To Reproduce Defect)

20th Apr 2006, 06:05
NFF - Not F***ing Fixed!

Pontius Navigator
20th Apr 2006, 19:56
A 250 megger on the thermocouple wiring would almost always clear a fire-tech snag.

Blacksheep, without respect, bollocks. It was that assumption that got us where we were, up to our arm pits in carbon in the heat of the Cyprus summer. It also led, at my suggestion, to checking the fire detection system AFTER flight.

On this particular trip I did the fire warning test and it didn't work. CC disappears and puts the Megga on it. It worked. We fly to Cyprus with our ranger CC.

Next day we climb in jet to fly to the El Adem range - fire warning light u/s. CC gets bigga megga. It now works and we fly sortie. When we land I checked the fire warning before shut down. It didn't work.

Now the theory that Blacksheep quoted was that an energised circuit would not corrode and fail as long as power was applied. I had just proven that a 28v holding voltage had no chance compared with the 250 megga.

Next day, it didn't work. It was meggaed and worked. We completed our checks but before we moved off I insisted on a further check. It didn't work and that was that!

Subsequently it became SOP to check both pre and post flight.

20th Apr 2006, 20:10
NFF - Not F***ing Fixed!
Spoken like a true Growbag !


The Rocket
20th Apr 2006, 20:41

OooooOooh, get you PN!

21st Apr 2006, 04:25
Subsequently it became SOP to check both pre and post flight.
Actually a fire system test was always included in the Electrical Before Flight AND After Flight Inspection sheets. We did them too - having a "crew-in" snag on an aircraft on which you'd done the AF/BF was a fast track to the misery of the towing team for the the next three days. A megger could get you airborne off a "crew-in" and once the engine bays warmed up they would usually stay good until the aircraft returned and we could get in to fix it. On a Ranger - well, you already described what can happen away from base...

That Fire-Tech system was a real crock of sh*t which is why its never appeared on another aircraft since the 'V's. Graviner FFFG worked much better and up-dated versions of firewire systems are still fitted in new aeroplanes today. Quite why Avro put crappy Fire-Tech thermocouples around the engines while using FFFG around the fuel tanks, bomb bay and AAPU I'll never understand.

Pontius Navigator
21st Apr 2006, 06:40
Blacksheep, Ah, nail and head hit square.

A megger could get you airborne off a "crew-in" and once the engine bays warmed up they would usually stay good until the aircraft returned and we could get in to fix it. On a Ranger - well, you already described what can happen away from base...

The whole ethos in those days was to strap hours flown onto the SD98 line. Get a crock of **** out of the country and that was one less airframe to worry about back at base and 20 hours 'guaranteed' up the line.

We knew it wasn't the linney's fault but the eng planners who would push that particular airframe knowing that they would get a cheap manpower servicing job done - one CC and 5 gofers (although we couldn't gofre much further than the pan without getting lost :)).

That was a point as well, CCs had a few hours piece and quiet on the rangers while we swanned off then usually put in a good few hours af/bf on top of whatever we had to do. The good ones employed the crew skillfully. The not so good probably did far too much themselves.

Alan Africa
31st May 2006, 10:29
Recently finding this thread and seeing the photo attached at message number 310 I thought it might be interesting to add the name of the missing flight commander. He was OC B Flight, John Willis. Having scanned over this Vulcan thread I also thought it might be worth adding both a little more about both double engine failures and a little more to the history of XH558. At one stage I saw on a site containing XH558’s history that in late 1975 into 1976 it was out of commission for a long term repair. On 6 Nov 75 I was part of the crew on the day the damage came about. As I recall, both the captain, John Porter, and myself were undergoing a GSU check. His checking officer was Courtney Guest and mine was Mike Doyle-Davidson. The rest of our crew was Mike Stewart and I believe Peter West but the AEO could have been Ernie Batty.

Being 27 Sqn we were off to do a very long northbound MRR sortie so we also had both drum tanks full in the bomb bay. There we were rolling down Scampton’s runway when the inevitable happened for a GSU check and Courtney announced simulated double engine failure one and two. Sometime very close to this there was a massive bang, lots of expletives and four throttles being firewalled as number three and four wound down. We staggered off the runway, thank the Lord for the Lincoln Edge, climbed to height for the GCA pattern carried out the drills for a double engine failure and some semblance of order returned. However, as we flew downwind Mike Stewart was in the door well ready to open the door and the AEO looking through the periscope was announcing we were on fire. There was no indication of fire from where the pilots sat so rather than open the door and throw our pink bodies at the nose wheel the rear crew stuck with the aircraft. My log book shows 15 mins for this flight but the instrument pattern that day seemed to take a very long time.

Suffice to say the pilots did a great job, we landed overweight, stopped on the runway and 6 Vulcan crew members ran away bravely from the aircraft leaving it to the fire crews. However, when we looked back there was no fire. A few minutes later we were able to approach the aircraft and see what had occurred. The biggest shock was the huge hole blown in the starboard wing. It is very strange to stand underneath an aircraft and look through where the wing upper and lower surfaces should have been. The other sobering thing was looking at HP fuel pipe to the number three engine. As I recall, the number three engine had moved damaging the pipe but all along the exposed area were cuts and nicks where parts of the compressor had damaged it.

So what had happened? The number three engine had managed to find a seagull during the takeoff run which caused it to disintegrate taking the number four engine with it. In so doing it modified the wing. Oh and the fire we experienced downwind. There was lots of twisted metal around the hole in the wing and the anti-collision light was reflecting on it.

All of this did make me think though when we landed at Macrihanish one JMC just ahead of an Atlantique that suffered a multiple seagull strike. I seem to recall in excess of thirty were found in and on the aircraft. As much as I enjoyed my time flying the Vulcan I was quite please to then fly with two Spey engines and a bang seat.

31st May 2006, 12:25

I remember well that incident you describe - from the safety of the crewroom it looked quite spectacular, the plume of flame was very like reheat in appearance. Was it a gull or something smaller that caused the big bang? Speculation from the armchairs was something in the order of fieldfare/meadowlark size.

Was John Willis Sqn Cdr at the time, having just taken over from Robson?

Alan Africa
31st May 2006, 13:05
John Willis was sqn cdr at the time. Good guy, he went a long way in the air force too. The last time I met him was when he came to visit Goya del Colle when we were running Deny Flight out of there. I believe he was Deputy Chief of Defence Staff. Gosh that must have been eleven years ago.

I remember the bird to be a seagull but it was a long time ago.

EC Does It
31st May 2006, 14:11
Had a teacher at junior school in Lincoln who arrived to teach some months after visiting the school to tell us about baling out of the back of a Vulcan.
Can't remember his name, possibly John something.

Mid 70's so could it have been Spilsby?

31st May 2006, 14:52
Anyone here involved with the Vulcan that was used for the James Bond flying shots?

For the underwater shots, was that a U/S vulcan or a mockup?

31st May 2006, 15:36
Why shertainly...

The 'crash landing' in Thunderball was made by a model (look carefully for the wires next time you see the movie); the underwater shots were a well-made movie prop. Incidentally, there was no bulkhead door access through the pressure hull into the bomb bay in the Vulcan - there were 2 navigators and an AEO plus all their black boxes in the way!

Brian Abraham
1st Jun 2006, 02:39
Does anyone recall a Vulcan accident where the PIC was a RAAF chap on exchange tour with RAF and the circumstances surrounding it?

E86, There was a RAAF'y pilot involved in the loss of a Nimrod as a result of birdstrike on take off as I recall. The one you may be thinking of?

eagle 86
1st Jun 2006, 02:48
Was told a story some time back about some selfish command decisions during an inflight emergency and the consequences with regard to how the cockpit crew abandoned the aircraft vice the rear seat crew's options. Could have been just a yarn.
PS Heard about possible re-union later this year?

Brian Abraham
1st Jun 2006, 02:59
Had the same story told by a Brit giving a CRM course but no RAAF involved that he mentioned. Yes to PS - October, were you a 66'er?

1st Jun 2006, 04:40
Anyone here involved with the Vulcan that was used for the James Bond flying shots?
Did the starter crew, but we were all edited out because we were too scruffy. Ernie Leatherbarrow wearing a 'Snoopy' helmet, Arsenal FC scarf and his parka beaver-tail dragging on the ground in the approved "Liney" style wouldn't have gone down well with Joe Public. No civilian would have believed we were real RAF personnel. (Most of the aircrew didn't either... :hmm: )

You can see one of us waving the bomber out (might have been me - I was the last marshaller at the peri track) - but its a long distance shot and could have been anybody. The rotten film crew wouldn't even spare us a cup of tea, miserable brastads.

We had a good laugh about the hatch into the bomb bay, but the biggest laugh was the idea of opening the bomb doors with the aircraft under water to get the weapons out. In reality electrickery and water don't mix too well.

Brian Abraham
1st Jun 2006, 06:57
E86, details of Vulcan accident "On the 14th October 1975 Vulcan XM645 crashed after hitting the undershoot of runway 24 at Luqa on Malta. As a result of the crash the three rear crew as well as two ground crew who were occupying the 6th & 7th ‘seats’ in the rear, were killed as they were unable to vacate the aircraft. The two pilots ejected and survived." Full details at http://john-dillon.co.uk/V-Force/xm645_malta.html

1st Jun 2006, 08:43
When I worked at the Oz CAA I had an ex RAF navigator working for me who had started out on Shackletons and ended up in the Vulcan before of all things becoming an Oz RAAF Talking Traffic Light (ATC).
On his office wall he had a beautiful picture of a Vulcan launching a (I think) Blue Streak nuclear missle. My wife, visiting one day, asked Roger what the picture was - he pointed out that he was keeping the world safe from commies and tree huggers and was launching a nuclear weapon. He didn't tell her it was a 'dummy'.
She flounced out of the office saying - and 'Roger I thought you were a nice person'. It didn't take long for her to get over it as he is (now retired) one of the most urbane and educated 'poms' I have ever met. In fact he used to write aviation fiction for mainly US based mags and was also studying latin when he worked for me - I think because he didn't have enough to do.
A really great guy.


2nd Jun 2006, 00:40
Blue Steel I hope...

Even the mighty Vulcan would have had trouble hauling a Blue Streak, let alone launching it! :ooh:

2nd Jun 2006, 01:26

Quite right - its the alcohol damage that does it - the Streak was fired from Woomera form time to time just to scared the beejesus out of the kangaroos in the desert.

Blue Steel - still a nasty looking object.



2nd Jun 2006, 21:21
Just had a pleasant afternoon in Brussels, is that possible, reading these postings on the mighty flatiron. I was on the line at Waddo as one of C/T "Topper" Browns' riggers in 69-70. We had our collection of characters, nights in the Raven Club, pig and piglet of the week and to keep morale up, night excercises, start night shift at 1630 and finish next morning at 0700. I do remember being in the queue for b'fast in the Sgt's mess being asked by a scribbly why I didn't wash before going to bed, I told him as nicely as I could that I intended to, or something like that!
I think that Waddo was unfortunate to host the RCDS visit for the two summers I was there, good static display for the station open day the only plus. I remember lying on the grass watching the three ship scramble and flypast, which was made more interesting by the site of the two mighty bombers with their bomb doors open and the third with its entrance door open! V clean cockpit when it landed at Scampton. We also had a brief flirtation with young Vulcan crew officers being designated as "divisional officers" asking some hairy ar##d chief tech if he needed any personal advice! Didn't last long thank heavens. I did my driving around Lincoln in a 3 tonner so that i could drive a rapid air, H2S or oxygen lorry. OC MT always complaining about the state of the cab roofs because we used to stand on them to reach the Oxygen and H2S charging points.
Happy days.

Yellow Sun
3rd Jun 2006, 07:56
I remember lying on the grass watching the three ship scramble and flypast, which was made more interesting by the site of the two mighty bombers with their bomb doors open and the third with its entrance door open! V clean cockpit when it landed at Scampton.

I remember it well. I was watching along with the rest of my crew and when we saw the door open we expected to see the bodies start tumbling out! The next day we were sent up to Scampton to collect the jet. Recall that we asked a few questions about checks on the rear bulkhead following a high speed opening of the entrance door.

I still wonder how the Nav Rad concerned managed to confuse the black rotary bomb door selector for the yellow striped guarded emergency door opening switch. Never mind it proves the old saw that if you F*** Up you get noticed, he made Air rank in the end!

We also had a brief flirtation with young Vulcan crew officers being designated as "divisional officers" asking some hairy ar##d chief tech if he needed any personal advice!

I to recall the DO system. It was an attempt to provide the troops with a bit more direct contact than was perceived to be available under the amorphous mass of centralised servicing, a sort of halfway house to being squadron groundcrew. The Navy had operated a similar system quite successfully for many years. Unfortunately there appeared to be some inconsistency in its application. I know that my squadron CO insisted that only experienced officers be appointed, preferably married with families (how else might they understand the problems), and they should be volunteers for the post. I felt that some other squadrons however saw this a a good secondary duty to give to young officers and thus may have reduced the credibility of the scheme as a whole. I also got the impression that not all of the Eng Wing officers were sold on the DO scheme, believing that it could in some way undermine their authority. Be that as it may, the scheme eventually died a death and seemed to fade away. Was it just a 1group initiative, or was it Command wide, does anyone know, remember?


3rd Jun 2006, 20:08
Great to be back on board a Vulcan today!

XM655 at Wellesbourne Mountford was doing systems checks and AEO convex work. The aircraft behaved flawlessly and later taxied to check brakes and nosewheel steering. All now looks OK for the high speed runs in a couple of weeks time.

And EVERYONE was very upbeat about the roll-out of 558 at Bruntingthorpe in a couple of months' time!

3rd Jun 2006, 20:35
Has any one read a book called VULCAN 07 its about the vulcan raids on stanley during the falklands, it looks a great read!

Pontius Navigator
4th Jun 2006, 20:05
Yellow Sun,

I was a DO. Yup, 2 hairy arsed crew chiefs, a hammer and an erk. Me? Single, wet etc. I saw them all once, told 'em where to find me, and never heard another thing again.

Better, remember pay parades? I had to pay the entire Finningly OCU day shift, about £1024. A fortune, my car was going to cost £566.

If you had a witness they didn't have to sign, you just counted it out and handed it over. I short changed one cpl by £5. Poor sod had to wait until the very end of the parade. Fortunately I had a spare fiver.

5th Jun 2006, 01:40
I was missed off the list once. I was only a couple of months out of Brats and still working in the Gin Palace. As I came out of the crew room moaning loudly, I passed the Electrical Engineering Squadron Warrant Officer's office. A formidable chap called Ben Travers. Even the SWO was terrified of him. He called me into the office and told me I'd be put on a 'casual' at SHQ the following day. "But Sir!" said I, "Tonight's knicker ripping night at Spitalgate and I've got no money!" (Spitalgate was the WRAF basic training camp just outside Grantham. They had a dance every fortnight, known throughout No. 1 Group Bomber Command as "Knicker Ripping Night.")

He gave me a fiver.

Scarey guy, but a top bloke. :ok:

Now that's what I call a Divisional Officer....

henry crun
5th Jun 2006, 02:56
I was taking a pay parade at St Athan and Boy Entrant Bloggs name was called out.

He marched forward, saluted, and held out his hand to show his 1250.
I looked, and looked again, because it wasn't a 1250, it was a card of similar appearance but saying that Boy Entrant Bloggs was a member of the magicians circle.

"Why are you showing me that" says muggins, "Oh, sorry sir" he said with a grin and in one quick movement he closed and opened his hand, and there was his 1250.

Judging by the roar that went up from the lads I wasn't the first person he had caught.

5th Jun 2006, 07:11
So it's funny story time in Vulcania!

Early days at BD with the Mk1 - probably XA-892. Preparing for a long haul trying to make the NBS black boxes compatible I ordered in-flight meals for delivery to the aircraft. They came nicely arranged on a huge silver salver as though for a mess party. There was no way to get the salver through the entrance door without spilling all the goodies and if we could there was no where to stow the thing.

Great big eyes on the messing staff when we showed them our intended dining rooms and they were so disappointed when someone produced some sick bags into which we transferred their handiwork.

Pontius Navigator
5th Jun 2006, 16:59
Has any one read a book called VULCAN 07 its about the vulcan raids on stanley during the falklands, it looks a great read!

Vulcan 607.

Some good pictures. Someone must have been planning for posterity. Mind you, I opened the book at a page that referred to ventilation ducts from the Skybolt pods to the cabin. Possible I guess but I would have thought wirng looms was more likely.

EC Does It
8th Jun 2006, 15:48
Have just found some fantastic photos from '82 taken when I was given a guided tour of a Vulcan by a guy whose milk I used to deliver as a wee lad. They were wrapped up inside a Beaufort kneeboard, although I have no I grew up in RAF Lincolnshire and that smell....ah nostalgia!

21st Jun 2006, 09:27


Nantucket Sleighride
21st Jun 2006, 11:23
Two of the Black Buck crew have received had a bit of press recently, Martin Withers was in the UK trade papers this week and they're both in this Sun article.


25th Jun 2006, 15:22
Sounds like a good book indeed!

If you buy it from a retailer selling through www.buy.at/vulcantothesky the retailer's commission will go towards the Vulcan to the Sky campaign.

18th Aug 2006, 22:18
Re the "Vulcan 607" book:

YES! Somebody on another forum recommended it, the reviews looked OK, so I ordered it.
And read it cover-to-cover in no time.

Very well written, even if you may have trouble sorting out all the names.... unless you flew Vulcans in the first place.

Crash alot
24th Aug 2006, 15:07
been reading these posts while bored at work, and after reading at least 37 pages of this great thread about the vulcan, pledged £100 to XH558 to get the old girl flying again.

26th Aug 2006, 06:59
In the late '50s/early '60s my mates and I used to watch the Farnborough Air Show standing on top of a disused wriggly tin stand (used in the Victorian era for the Aldershot Show) at the Laffan Plain end of the runway in the days when just about every aircraft at the Show was purely British and leading the World in cutting edge technology and design.
On this occasion I remember seeing and hearing (!) Roly Falk open up the Vulcan at the black sheds end, barrelling down the runway, hauling the thing vertical on takeoff up onto its' back and rolling off the top and disappearing the fix on full welly - what a sight!!! Whooooooooaaagh!
Incidentally, the prototype Victor (flown by the test pilot whose name was Blackburn I think) emulated the Vulcan's dynamic takeoff, went vertical, rolled and chased after it!!
Bloody brilliant!! The tin shack virtually shook itself to bits - but we lived to tell the tale!
Incidentally, Roly Falk used to fly solo in the Vulcan whilst wearing a suit and tie!!

Great thread Beags.......you couldn't make this stuff up.......

3rd Sep 2006, 16:16
As a Cpl MTD on a punishment tour as the driver to the AA at the Embassy at Washington DC from 1970 to 1973 I remember the two Vulcan’s that displayed at Transpo 72 at Dulles along with the Arrows in their Gnats. As well as taking the Boss (CWC) along every day in our XJ6 part of my task was to top up the Duty Free from the RAF Booze store at the Embassy for all the Air and Ground Crew on the detachment. Are any of the crew from that trip on this thread and would care to enlighten everyone on the Vulcan’s babysitting the Red Arrows on their trip from the UK and back.

3rd Sep 2006, 17:41
I have just read it and recommend it. There is a lot of detail to absorb, so you may need to read it at least twice. I know I did.

Also, I was read in a paper this morning that said someone commented "It was airworthy when it landed, it will be airworthy when it takes off next year, why the **** didn't they just keep it flying."

3rd Sep 2006, 17:47
Occasionally on my motorcycle ride to work my short cut accross the runway at RAF Burtonwood was closed due the deployment of a flight of three snow white Vulcans.

Watching all three take of virually simultaneously was well worth the bollocking I got for being late!

I also have memories (I think) of being at farnboro' & watching a Vulcan fly by with a fifth engine (Olympus?) as a test bed - what a rate of climb.

3rd Sep 2006, 20:52
....Also, I read in a paper this morning that said someone commented "It was airworthy when it landed, it will be airworthy when it takes off next year, why the **** didn't they just keep it flying."I feel with you, and with the newspaper comment.
Money, I suppose, as usual.... And getting the 600 tons of spares transferred... and setting up the new maintenance organisation at Bruntingthorpe....

The Rocket
3rd Sep 2006, 22:53
I feel with you, and with the newspaper comment.
Money, I suppose, as usual.... And getting the 600 tons of spares transferred... and setting up the new maintenance organisation at Bruntingthorpe....

Somebody please tell me this is a Waaaaah? :ugh:

3rd Sep 2006, 23:08
Somebody please tell me this is a Waaaaah?More a Woof Woof.....
But don't you agree there is some logic in "keep the beast flying, damn it"?

4th Sep 2006, 03:40
But don't you agree there is some logic in "keep the beast flying, damn it"?Logic? With the UK CAA involved? :hmm:

Unfortunately the civilian regulators don't look kindly on painting over the RAF serial number XH558 with G-VULC. They insist on all sorts of expensive inspections, corrosion repairs, approved design and maintenance organization nonsense first. :rolleyes:

Pontius Navigator
4th Sep 2006, 07:34
More a Woof Woof.....
But don't you agree there is some logic in "keep the beast flying, damn it"?

There was a small matter or airworthiness and money.

Post-war aircraft were not designed to 'fail-safe' principles. That entails building in such a level of redundancy that a spar break is obvious but the aircraft can be landed safely (well that's the theory). As fail-safe was not built in an alternative safety polcy called 'safe-life' was adopted.

In safe-life the fatigue usage was calculated and each aircraft given a fatigue index. As it flew its activity was recorded on a data recorder and also by the crew. After each flight its remaining fatigue index was recalculated. Once it reached its calculated fatigue limit it would be withdrawn from service.

Major servicing would replace forecast and observed fatigued items and the aircraft returned to service. The fatigue model could be tweaked by post-service analysis. In addition each manufacturer would retain one model as a fatigue testing rig. This would have mechanical wing flexing, undergo pressurisations and depressurisation, undercarriage retractions etc. These all cost money.

At one point the Victor was flying ahead of the fatigue model's life and flying was immediately curtailed until the tester caught up - it had been off-line for its own major mods.

Now in the case of 558 it had reached the end of its forecast fatigue life. The MoD no longer paid for the fatigue model and the programme came to a halt.

In the event, the Bruntingthorpe servicing, IIRC, found that the aircraft was in much better condition than expected but whether that was simply its fabric condition or its component condition I don't know.

As safe-life was a crude but safe calculation it was not unreasonable that some aircraft would have been less fatigued than expected. For several years 558 was limited to display flying which may not be as fatiguing as being buffetted at 350 kts low level or even 250 kts.

Bottom line though, safety costs money. MoD turned off the money tap and no one stumped up the immediate £1m for the 1993 service.