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

Pages : 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9

9th Dec 2006, 13:01
Surely these people will be able to help with photographs of Mk I Vulcan instrument panels?


9th Dec 2006, 20:37
This is really a new thread but I don't know how to start one! Has any one got some good close pictures of Mk1 and Mk2 instrument panels. Particularly interested in Control Surface Indicator, fuel panel, flying control controls on left side etc. Need them in a hurry, preferably high res but would be very happy to scan pictures and return.

I have a few shots taken in the cockpit of XH537 at Bournemouth, I have uploaded them to http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/4584560.

Philip Morten

9th Dec 2006, 22:28
Thanks very much for pics.

Pontius Navigator
10th Dec 2006, 07:10
I have a few shots taken in the cockpit of XH537 at Bournemouth, I have uploaded them to http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/4584560.

Philip Morten


According to Jackson, 537 was flown from Scampton to Abingdon in 1982 for fire practice.

10th Dec 2006, 09:41
A piece of 537 is certainly on the list of exhibits ....

to use that famous old aviation term? ......... it's "Nose" :p


12th Dec 2006, 10:10
XH536. I understand your need to know your father. Mine sired me in May 1944 and then went off to invade Europe, never to come back. But having spend a good deal of my RAF career with flight safety, I know that BoIs can never tell the whole story, especially when all the crew died and there was no clear tech defect. XH536 crashed in Wales because the crew pressed on in deteriorating weather conditions. Shades of the Mull of Kintyre, we will never know why for certain. As for Glenview, there are a few of us with a piece of the jigsaw. I have one because I spoke to the captain before he went, another Prune stalwart has another because he met the crew in the Goose enroute to Chicago, and so on. But even though we can surmise what happened, none of us can know the whole true picture because we were not in the cockpit at impact. I can only say that Board members can only do their best with the facts they have. If you really want to know your father, don't pin your hopes on green-foldered BoI reports - talk to his mates.
All the best.

14th Dec 2006, 19:31
Does anyone have any details ?
XA904 damaged landing Waddington 1961
XH 556 u/c collapse April 1966

14th Dec 2006, 20:54
I know the thread is 'did you fly the Vulcan' but the following is from my fathers Flying Log Book (Vulcan Crew Chief) so some may know the pilots listed. I did get one flight in 1971, low level a 230 OCU A/C never could remember the number:

10/05/65 - XM571 - W/C Gingell - Scampton to Goose Bay (Western Vortex)
11/05/65 - XM571 - W/C Gingell - Goose Bay to Offut AFB
13/05/65 - XM571 - W/C Gingell - Offut AFB to Webb AFB
17/05/65 - XM571 - W/C Gingell - Webb AFB to Offut AFB
18/05/65 - XM571 - W/C Gingell - Offut AFB to Goose Bay
19/05/65 - XM571 - W/C Gingell - Goose Bay to Scampton to Goose Bay
05/07/65 - XL389 - Fl/Lt Tootell - Scampton to Kinloss (ex Mickey Finn)
26/10/65 - XM594 - W/C Heywood - Scampton to El Adam
29/10/65 - XM594 - W/C Heywood - El Adam to Scampton
28/01/66 - XL317 - Fl/Lt Box - Scampton to Akrotiri
31/01/66 - XL317 - Fl/Lt Box - Akrotiri to Scampton
26/04/66 - XL388 - FL/Lt Odling - Scampton to Luqa
28/04/66 - XL388 - FL/Lt Odling - Luqa to Scampton
09/05/66 - XL319 - Fl/Lt Jobling - Scampton to Lossiemouth
01/08/66 - XL317 - Fl/Lt Hill - Scampton to El Adam
05/08/66 - XL317 - Fl/Lt Hill - El Adam to Scampton
17/04/67 - XL359 - Fl/Lt Ward - Scampton to Luqa
18/04/67 - XL359 - Fl/Lt Ward - Luqa to El Adam to Luqa (low level)
21/04/67 - XL359 - Fl/Lt Ward - Luqa to El Adam (low level)
21/04/67 - XL359 - Fl/Lt Ward - El Adam to Luqa
22/04/67 - XL359 - Fl/Lt Ward - Luqa to Scampton
12/08/67 - XL389 - F/O Caskie - Scampton to Goose Bay
21/08/67 - XL389 - F/O Caskie - Goose Bay to Scampton
09/11/67 - XL444 - Fl/Lt Caskie - Scampton to Gardermoen
10/11/67 - XL444 - Fl/Lt Caskie - Gardermoen to Scampton

Pontius Navigator
14th Dec 2006, 22:09
Does anyone have any details ?
XA904 damaged landing Waddington 1961
XH 556 u/c collapse April 1966

There was a spectacular undercarriage collapse at Finningley about that time too. As the aircraft powered up the undercarriage retracted and the aircraft settled down rupturing the main fuselage fuel tank.

Fuel was welling around the entrance door so the canopy was blown and Kim Bunting, an OCU staff navigator, was first out standing on the copilot's hand as the co tried to shut down the fuel system. He followed with a boot on his head and a graceful exit down the side of the cockpit.

Allegedly he watched the rest of the proceedings from the safety of the crewroom as the student crew followed.

15th Dec 2006, 00:10
At the time of that one I was a lowly SAC working in ECMSDF (Electronic Countermeasures Servicing and Development Flight) which was part of BCDU (Bomber Command Development Unit).

ECMSDF was situated on the top floor of the electronics block while the HQ of BCDU was in a wooden shed at the back of 1 Hangar. Part of my duties was to walk down the Finningley 8 twice a day doing a mail run.

On the day in question I was about 200 yards away when the incident happened. As No 3 was cranked up (supplies all electrical power) the mains started folding up. The crew chief, attached to the mictel lead and underneath the engine (looking for leaks on start up ?) started to run towards the tail of the aircraft. When he realised that the aircraft was coming down on top of him he changed direction and headed for the front. By this time the pressure cabin and radome had broken apart as the nose leg remained in the 'down' position and the main part of the aircraft was rapidly descending to the ground. The crew chief then made a dart sideways and escaped by inches.

Meanwhile the canopy blew and, it seemed to me, the crew had exited by the time the canopy hit the ground. They all leapt over the windscreen and slid down the nose, off the refuelling probe and legged it for the armoury, which was directly in front of the aircraft, with nary a backward glance!

There was a lot of dust, a bit of silence, then a lot of shouting and action. I just stood there gobsmacked not knowing what to do so I carried on with my mail run!

The fault turned out to be a dodgy 28v microswitch which had stuck in the 'open' position so that as the engine ran up and power was applied the whole pack of cards came literally crashing down.

The aircraft ended up in 3 pieces: the radome, the pressure cabin, and the rest. When the pressure cabin came away it took a spar running down the spine of the aircraft and left it sticking up in the air.

15th Dec 2006, 10:49
Would the crew upstairs have pushed the canopy clear? The way my dad explained to me (aged about 10!) how the canopy jettisoned was that the jettison jacks were only to lift the forward edge into the slipstream. The slipstream then lifted it upwards and rearwards until it detached and fell away. That seems to fit the diagram in the AP as well.

15th Dec 2006, 11:08
The canopy did rely on air flow to get it clear but two guys in a hurry could easily find enough energy to push it over the side. Here's 569 at Butterworth with the canopy having been jettisond at a standstill. Left side brakes were seized on. Oops - got it wrong - it seems the canopy was jettised with air speed and then carried to where it's lying.


15th Dec 2006, 15:52
All this talk of jettisoning canopies and stuff brought to mind Waddo in the mid 70's. Sat in the 50 Sqn crewroom probably "syphing on somebodies donk" when loud explosion type noise was heard from the direction of the threshold of RW 21. Flt Cdr Air's (Sqn Ldr John P******x) No 1 and 2 engines had just suffered catastrophic failure on run up to brakes off. Sh*t and flames every where. This has clearly got everyones attention, not to mention Fg Off Geoff D****n, the screen Nav Rad, who decided that this was definatley not for him and so he blew open the crew door and climbed out with the intention of "f*****g off in fine pitch" up wind of the pretty impressive conflagration which was rapidly getting more intense by the second. Only one small problem however, which was that he had forgotten to disconnect his umbilical cord (imbicile cord in his case) and so there is this hillarious picture of Geoff running into wind, pulling the largest parachute you have ever seen. His legs seemed to be doing 90kts IAS, body 1kt groundspeed ! Funniest thing I have ever seen! :{ Anyone know where the little wart is these days?

And 3 Putts again!

15th Dec 2006, 19:31
Photos here (http://www.edendale.co.uk/ANW/WFD.XM603.1.html) of Vulcan XM603 at BAe Woodford taken July 1999. Includes cockpit views and panel close-ups.
State-of-the-art back in the Sixties!

16th Dec 2006, 09:57
IIRC the cockpit canopy jacks were fairly powerful beasts which extended to about 18 inches. In a static jettison they would undoubtedly blow the canopy a fair way up. I certainly remember the canopy whizzing into the air before it started its descent to mother earth.

I also remember a safety lecture where we were shown a graphic pic of a jettison jack neatly inserted into some riggers elbow and exiting out of the wrist. Apparently the canopy was off, he was resting his arm on the cockpit edge when the system (presumably there were no seats in) went orf and bang went his arm! Gruesome stuff. It was a fairly standard lecture - anybody else remember it?

19th Dec 2006, 13:07
Anyone here recall an incident around 1964 (?) at Church Fenton?

What I recall as a Vulcan overshot and ended up in our potatoes - we owned a fair amount of the land at one end of the station.

I was a youngster, out shooting partridges with the landlord of the Ulleskelf Arms, and remember the white nose of what looked like a Vulcan (very misty, certainly a large white aircraft) with a cordon of blokes round it. We were not encouraged to approach any closer, so went home. Maybe my .410 and my friend Bob's 12 bore didn't help.

Aircraft were not frequent visitors on our farm, but a Jet Provost around the time did make a most impressive hole amongst the sheep..

19th Dec 2006, 13:55
IIRC the cockpit canopy jacks were fairly powerful beasts which extended to about 18 inches. In a static jettison they would undoubtedly blow the canopy a fair way up. I certainly remember the canopy whizzing into the air before it started its descent to mother earth.
I also remember a safety lecture where we were shown a graphic pic of a jettison jack neatly inserted into some riggers elbow and exiting out of the wrist. Apparently the canopy was off, he was resting his arm on the cockpit edge when the system (presumably there were no seats in) went orf and bang went his arm! Gruesome stuff. It was a fairly standard lecture - anybody else remember it?

I remember the photograph and I have an idea you're thinking of the ejection seat drogue parachute bolt, rather than the canopy jacks. During aircraft servicing it was possible to accidentally snag the drogue cartridge lanyard and fire the drogue bolt without the main seat charge being affected. The bolt was just that - a steel cylinder half inch by ten used to pull the stabilising drogue chute out after the seat had fired. I'm pretty sure the canopy jettison jacks were pneumatic, probably from the same source as the door closing air system. Could be wrong.

19th Dec 2006, 15:30
Becoming clearer! But what was the 'jettison gun'. I don't recall any explosives connected with the canopy. Not that it was any of my business:)

19th Dec 2006, 15:36
What's the max number of hours you might spend in a Vulcan .... :confused:

flipflopman RB199
19th Dec 2006, 18:04
Mike is correct forget

The system operates just as Mike has described, with the pneumatic ram physically operating the same layshaft as connected to the main canopy jettison handle. The ram also withdrew the sear from the canopy jettison gun firing pin, which fired and 'blew' off the canopy. The jettison gun was actually affixed to the canopy itself, and located in a cupped socket on the canopy rail of the airframe.

The pneumatic ram was indeed connected to the door system, but on the opening side of the system, at 1200psi. The closing system ran at a further reduced pressure of 400psi.

Hope this helps.


20th Dec 2006, 04:07
I recall being told that the gun would lift the canopy well clear of the fuselage if the aircraft was static. The problem then was - where would it come down again. IIRC it weighed more than a hundredweight and would have produced more than a dent in the bonedome of the unfortunate pilot who happened to still be sitting in his seat.

Hobie. Six and a half hours was the longest I did. Numb bum and crossed legs.

20th Dec 2006, 08:05
Thanks flipflopman. Comprendez :ok: If you see post 1031 there's a canopy lying on the deck, with a (fired) jack of some sort protruding. This seems to correspond to the (two) fuselage dimples, below. Is this right? Where was the sextant hole, and signal pistol, or were they the same.

:confused: Signal pistol? Were they carried? I seem to remember..........


20th Dec 2006, 08:21
I seem to recall the sextant in its pyramid shaped transport box, being carried in a stowage on the floor behind the AEO seat. It could be poked out through the roof on either the left or right side just behind the pilots seats. That would correspond to those dimples. There was a signal pistol stowed in the AEO's station and I think it could be locked into the sextant orifice when needed.

Pontius Navigator
20th Dec 2006, 17:41
The flare pistol had its own mount where the AEO could fire it from his seat. Its original purpose was to fire the colours of the day. Later a chaff cartridge was bought for calibration of the Red Steer 2. The AEO would fire a chaff cartridge and then watch until the bloom faded.

21st Dec 2006, 00:03
OK Pontius, it all comes back now, you broke it open, bunged in a cartridge and snapped it shut. It must have been the cartridges stowed in the drawer I remember. But the sextant definitely went through holes in the roof, either side behind the pilots' heads.

Now, which aircraft had the flare pistol that could be poked through the roof? On the Whirly the Nav fired the colours of the day at you, straight out of the window. The VC10 didn't deign to fire colours at all, one was supposed to recognise it and bow deeply. You were supposed to recognise the Shack too, but you were expected to giggle a little, while tugging your forelock at it. It must have been the Belfast!

Maybe one of the other old duffers on AH & N can remember, mutter, mutter...

Pontius Navigator
21st Dec 2006, 08:31
Blacksheep, was that serious?

All the maritime aircraft had a flare pistol for search and rescue. We carried an additional 210 greens on a SAROP. Firing a green every 20 miles at night - about 12 per hour - we could have fired greens for getting on for twice our search endurance.

One dark and stormy night we put it to the test. Instant fail. The theory had clearly been set up for an open ocean search for a downed aircraft and not for a storm tossed fishing boat in sh*t.

The visibility was about 2 miles so one green every 20 was not going to work. Given a 2 mile viz we then found that we could not look out for about 20-30 seconds after the flare ignited else we would lose our night sight. Mmmm, back to the drawing board.

That was the problem with legacy kit and tactics imported from WW2.

21st Dec 2006, 08:35
Decent VC10s (the VC10K, that is) certainly did have a flare pistol and we used it to assist post-raid Tornados to find us on night 2 of GW1!

Then 'they' found some snag with the breech mechanism and I think that the flare guns have all gone now. Shame - a smell of cordite used to brighten things up on those night formation training trips!

21st Dec 2006, 09:21
Even the humble Canberra had a flare pistol. Fitted in the sextant hole in the roof of the nav's station. Never heard of one being used though, in fact can't recall such an item being carried at all on the 'frames I worked on. Got a pic somewhere though . .


21st Dec 2006, 09:48
The things you find! http://www.vectorsite.net/avvulcan_1.html

"The bulged canopy had a five-panel windscreen and a porthole on each side; the canopy was easily removed for maintenance. There was a small porthole on each side of the coal hole, as well as a small fairing for sextant readings on the right and a similar fairing for a flare pistol on the left".

21st Dec 2006, 16:09
Forget, the article is wrong. The ports either side of the canopy were for the sextant alone. You needed one each side because the canopy got in the way. The nav radar [who did the shooting] had to choose the correct side or he would be all night trying to find the star he wanted [it did happen, by the way]!

21st Dec 2006, 16:16
Yes - I agree. I did wonder about the Nav asking for a 180 because he couldn't see the star he wanted.

21st Dec 2006, 16:20
The flare pistol had its own mount where the AEO could fire it from his seat. Its original purpose was to fire the colours of the day. Later a chaff cartridge was bought for calibration of the Red Steer 2. The AEO would fire a chaff cartridge and then watch until the bloom faded.
I believe a chaff cloud from the aircraft would be too near the Red Steer to be processed, as the reflected signal would be recieved whilst the Steer was still transmitting. Also, how receiving a signal from a chaff cloud could be used for calibration is a mystery, as the chaff would bloom differently depending on airspeed, wind speed and direction and possibly even air temperature and altitude (denser air). IIRC the chaff carts for the Very Pistol were RBW (Rapid Blooming Window) and were there if required to obtain a fully bloomed chaff target in a much faster time than chaff dropped from the standard chaff dispensers under the wing.

Pontius Navigator
21st Dec 2006, 16:22
On dedicated night astro sorties and competitions we carried 2 peri-sextants. The normal fix was an AABBBAA sequence which would tak eone minute per shot with one minute intervals. This meant an astro sequence would take 13 minutes with the fix time some 6 1/2 minutes before the end of the sequence.

I attempts to get the ultimate accuracy some crews would shoot on an ABABABA sequence with the a star on the port and another on the starboard. The nav rad would then hop from one side to the other taking the shots in sequence. On some crews the AEO would wind the port side sextant and even take some of the shots.

21st Dec 2006, 16:27
For we co-piglets, those astrological bore-ex trips were mind-numbingly awful. We were supposed to count down the start of astro and note any speed change....

Not too bad with a 3-shot cycle. But when Vasco down the back planned some mighty feat of star gazing, it didn't take long to work out which shot to cock up, reducing his mighty 7-shot thing to 5 or even 3....

"Three, two, one, NOW......it's one minute to astro!"

That always got the lower deck excited!

Mind you, the SR71 had an astral tracker that worked exceptionally well - and was fully automatic.

Pontius Navigator
21st Dec 2006, 16:47
ZH875, strange but true. Remember that the Vulcan would depart the shot at 300 yards per second but that the RS2 was designed to detect something as small as an AAM.

As for minimm range, I don't think that would have been a problem. Remember AI radars were used to guide an interceptor really close to the target.

Tim McLelland
4th Jan 2007, 19:45
Okay, I've mentioned this project before but I'm at the completion stage now so here goes again!

As you may already know, I'm in the process of completing a major new book on the Vulcan which will be published by Crecy later this year. It will certainly be the biggest book on the subject to have ever been produced and we hope it will be the definitive "last word" on the subject. It will be my third Vulcan book, having previoulsy written "The Vulcan Story" for Cassell and "V Bombers" for PSL/Haynes.

I'm now looking for anecdotes, stories and comments from former Vulcan people to add to the book, so that we can present a story which is much more than the usual developmental and service history. We want to explain what it was like to fly the Vulcan, be a crew member, to support the aircraft and work with the V Force, etc. Any contributions (written or photographic) would be very welcome and credited to the supplier (photographs returned immediately after scanning).

Do please let me know if you think there's anything which you could contribute. I want to make this book a fitting tribute to the magnificent beast in this, the year when (hopefully) XH558 finally takes to the skies again. What better time to celebrate an aviation classic!

My email is:-

[email protected]

If you can help, or point me to anyone else who might have a story to tell, a photo to borrow or anything else connected with Vulcans, PLEASE drop me a line. I think it safe to say that (in our current economic climate) there's no chance of another Vulcan book of this size being produced, so it's a "now-or-never" chance to say something about our beloved aircraft. I'm doing the book for peanuts so it's a labour of love for me too, but I think the results will be worthwhile. Judging by all the posts on this thread, you guys have plenty so say, so let's record it all for posterity?


4th Jan 2007, 23:57
Tim most of us are a fairly reticent lot when it comes to books etc. Would it not be worthwhile plundering this thread and if there are any stories that you feel worth fleshing out contact the poster by PM?

Tim McLelland
5th Jan 2007, 00:20
I have already messages/mailed some of the posters but I thought it would be worth making a general plea in case anyone happened to be reading through this thread.

Because I have the luxury of lots of space to fill, I can do more than run the usual development and service history of the Vulcan in the book. Nice though it is to have the usual story in print again, we've all read the facts and figures countless times, so I want to use as much of the book as I can to include accounts from the people who worked on, or flew the Vulcan, so that the book becomes a much more interesting read. As has been said on this thread, there are many stories which ought to be told but they obviously aren't sufficiently elaborate to make complete books in themselves; this new book would seem to be an ideal opportunity to get some of these tales into print before we all snuff-it and the Vulcan's history is lost forever.

Flame Out
5th Jan 2007, 10:32
Excellent idea, could I make a plea to include reminisces from the ground crews and the makers (I'm specifically referring to the people that actual bolted the thing together) of the Vulcan as well, please. All too many times the stories revolve around aircrews. Wonderful to hear from them, bless them:D

Tim McLelland
5th Jan 2007, 12:22
I agree entirely Flame - I'd like to explore the Vulcan's history from everybody's viewpoint so the offer is there - anyone who wants to contruibute can so please contact me, or direct your contacts to me, and I'll do my best!

5th Jan 2007, 15:11
Taken at RAAF Darwin, Feb '66. CO W/Cdr D.A. Arnott, DFC.
At the time 35 was at Cottesmore with a detachment at RAF Tengah. It was from there that we went to Darwin.

Sorry messed up the insert photo bit. Try again later.

'We knew how to whinge but we kept it in the NAAFI bar.'

8th Jan 2007, 11:01
Tim, I received an email from you on the Vulcan topic, requesting any info.
Here's a couple of pictures I stumbled onto at work:
1. A plaque in my mess
2. Dont know the story..sorry.

8th Jan 2007, 11:15
2. Dont know the story..sorry.

See http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/vulcan/gallery3.html

8th Jan 2007, 12:40
I note the comment about the airbrakes being left out. AFAIR the Vulcan 2 always flew circuits with the airbrakes at high-drag. Perhaps BEagle can expand?

Tim McLelland
8th Jan 2007, 12:48
See http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/vulcan/gallery3.html

His site is quite comical:-

V-Bombers by Tim Laming. Recent revelations mean we can no longer advise purchase of this volume.

Think that tells you all you need to know about his web site - evidently he says whatever he likes depending on whether he happens to like the person involved!:) What a prat.

8th Jan 2007, 12:49
Quote:Perhaps BEagle can expand?

I'm sure he can. Meantime will this do? It's a way of reducing Min Drag Speed by increasing the Profile (aka Zero Lift) Drag thus shifting the total drag curve up and to the left. A popular Aerodynamics "minibrief" at CFS when I was there.

8th Jan 2007, 13:03
Fly downwind at 1100ft using about 72% at Pattern Speed.
Carry out pre-landing checks.
When the threshold is 45 deg behind, throttle back to 69%, select mid-drag airbrake and begin descending turn at 30 deg AoB.
At about 900ft, check feet off brakes, 3 greens and speed at Approach Speed +10 kts.
At about 700ft, throttle back to about 66% and reduce to Approach Speed.
At 300 ft, select high-drag airbrake and begin tapering back to Threshold Speed.

If overshooting, select 80%, level wings, airbrake in, landing gear up and climb at Pattern Speed. Start climbing 30 deg AoB turn to downwind at 600 ft.

With only 66% on the approach, even with high drag airbrake on the final part of the approach the engine response time wasn't brilliant. An airbrakeless approach was even more tricky unless the speed was really well nailed.

Use of airbrake improves engine response as the higher drag means higher thrust and the engines will be in a more responsive regime. The min drag speed is indeed reduced, which means that you will be further from the 'wrong side of the drag curve' on the approach - but few at CFS could actually prove that min drag speed was at the intersection of the zero lift and lift dependent drag curves... Neither could they prove the theoretical 1.32 relationship between min drag speed and min power speed - just a lot of waffling and waving of 4 coloured pens usually. Few could remember differentiation from their schoolboy applied maths days.

Tim McLelland
8th Jan 2007, 13:52
Just in case you guys haven't noticed from this thread and others, Brickhistory evidently doesn't like me, so he seems to think it's his mission to make sniping comments every time I say anything. I think the best policy might be to simply ignore him seen as he never actually says anything. Bless, he must have some serious issues to deal with:rolleyes:
Incidentally (not that any of you will probably even care, but seen as he raises the subject...), I don't know (or care) what the "recent revelations" are that Burke mentions on his site. I just thought it worth mentioning that when he can't even see fit to add proper references to the the availability of Vulcan books (when he doesn't happen to like the author of the main two), it kinda suggests that (like many other sites) the rest of the site might also be a tad suspect in places. Always worth bearing this in mind when you consider this, and the subject of this thread, etc. Just because something's published on a web site, doesn't mean it's true:)

8th Jan 2007, 15:30

TIME OUT for pair of you!!:=


Then kiss and make up - but NO TONGUES :yuk: OK?

8th Jan 2007, 16:33
The other thread running at the moment jogged a memory and also lit up a question. Bomb bay fuel tank fits were accurately described. As far as I can remember A + E = 11000lbs, Double Drums = 16000lbs. In my co pilot days with 617 we were tasked with some MRR (27 was recently reformed and it was an exercise secondary role). We also flew MRR in the Med for the benefit of Buccaneers.
Now as I recall on several long and boring sessions the extra 5000lbs only actually gave a useful 20minutes extra because we used so much extra effort dragging it up to 40+. Does that burn rate seem familiar to others?

Tim McLelland
8th Jan 2007, 17:07
Now back to tales of the Vulcan!
Good idea - have you actually got any, or are you happy just obsessing about me ;)

8th Jan 2007, 17:41
Hi Ray,

Yes, there was a bit of a flattening off in the ODM climb rate at about 40000ft at that weight. Those who tried to get up to FL430 wasted a lot of fuel; we learned this on trips to Goose which were a bit tight at times with 98+8. Hence a climb to FL390, a short cruise, then up to FL430 before the oceanic boundary gave us a bit more fuel at top of drop....

And wasn't boat-spotting so $odding awfully boring! 27 were welcome to it!

9th Jan 2007, 09:32

AAh - but not when you were sitting in the Bucc!!

9th Jan 2007, 09:43
Hmmm - we were once doing some MRR borex for a bunch of Buccs. After all the "blah, blah, disport opens, blah, blah" guff had been given, there were a few short code words of commands from the Bucc formation as they manoeuvred for their attack against a splash target being towed by some grey boat or other.

Then Roger Waitout, that well-known Navy communicator, came up on frequency:

"(Buccs), this is Eagle...."
"Eagle, WAIT!"

Grunt, heave, pull, toss, roll......

"(Buccs) Bomb Gone. Go ahead, Eagle"
"Eagle - err, could you delay for a few minutes?"

Typical 0.5 mile per minute fish head comment!

Pontius Navigator
13th Jan 2007, 19:13
This links back to another Vulcan thread and contains details of the FEAF Dets:


Incidentally the 12 Sqn deployment was an operational and not an exercise deployment.

The next, IX Sqn deployment was an exercise and not an operational deployment; at least that is what was said at the time. Anyone posted or attached to Malaysia at that time was however entitled to a GSM-Malaya Peninsular. The XXXV Det was told the same thing.

As it was an exercise deployment the crews were told they could NOT claim medals. IMHO this was b*ll*cks and they could claim even now.

14th Jan 2007, 03:48
Is it true the crew ladder was removable from the door and was done so before flight?

14th Jan 2007, 07:22
Yes - in a word!

If we took it with us, it had to be lashed securely in the vis.bomb-aimer's position.

Pontius Navigator
14th Jan 2007, 10:34
Yes - in a word!
If we took it with us, it had to be lashed securely in the vis.bomb-aimer's position.

In the early years the ladder was invariably left on the door. Later, as we became more cautious and more risk averse we started to worry about the delay that unlatching the ladder would take.

The first solution was simply to unlatch the ladder and leave it loose on the door. Unfortunately there was a risk of it moving and jamming. The alternatives were, as BEagle said, was to ditch the ladder before flight or stow it forrad.

Leaving it behind was the 'best' option although this could present difficulties in the case of diversion. For agile rearcrew members this presented few problems - slide down door, hold door jack, reach out with foot onto nosewheel leg etc. Getting back in you climbed the nosewheel leg, grabbed the door jack and with a mighty bound . . .

The alternative of stowing the ladder forward had problems too. The prone bomb aimer's position was normally covered by a drop down panel which protected the T4 bomb sight or the F95 camera. This panel was modified to take two clips, identical to the door clips, so the ladder could be similarly stowed forward. In BEagles time it was not necessary to lash it down unlesss ...

If dropping bombs it was quite useful for the nav rad to watch them leave the aircraft and I could do this after bomb release by moving down to the nose. The ladder and stowage would have been in the way. Also we occasionally needed access to the F95 camera.

In Cyprus, with only one potential diversion, we usually left the ladder behind. I do not know what the position was in UK with less certain weather factors etc.

If we were doing a transit trip and the cabin was full of baggage we could not stow the ladder. Usually however baggage would be in the 4000lb or 750lb bomb bay pannier.

15th Jan 2007, 08:37
Pontius Navigator

[/QUOTE]Anyone posted or attached to Malaysia at that time was however entitled to a GSM-Malaya Peninsular. The XXXV Det was told the same thing.
As it was an exercise deployment the crews were told they could NOT claim medals. IMHO this was b*ll*cks and they could claim even now.[/QUOTE]
If I remember correctly;
The qualifying period for the GSM (Malay Peninsula) ended on 31 Aug '65 for those in the RAF and Army. For those serving at sea it ended 31 Aug '66.
But I stand to be corrected. Exercise or not what counted was time in theatre.
PS I have a pal who was serving in Kutching (Borneo) during the early '60s. He spent some time in Singapore for sporting events and he qualified for and received the medal.

'We knew how to whinge but we kept it in the NAAFI bar.'

15th Jan 2007, 10:04
Did any rear seaters bail out sucessfully and describe the experience ?

15th Jan 2007, 10:15
Here's one.


15th Jan 2007, 10:21

First I remember was "Five out over Valley" lots of kit was lost on that Mk 1, about 1966 I guess. There was a two-door cupboard and a 4-draw filing cabinet I was told along with countless classified documents. :0

Then there was a mark 2 oop North on the low level or thereabouts. They climbed to a safe bailout and jumped over the moors. There was a big brouhaha as they needed the AEOs Nav bag with the massive aircraft electrics manual.

Then there was the one that went in near Spilsby.

As far as I know these were all 'premeditated' bailouts, in other words the aircraft did not suffer an immediate and catastrophic failure. I do not know of any attempted bailouts with the nose wheel down.

We did a simulated low level abandonment after a simulated massive bird strike. At 250 kts, 500 feet, the pilot throttled all engines to flight idle and eased the beast into a gentle climb. We maintained a positive rate of climb for a few minutes topping at 1500 feet before the airspeed decayed. We would have had ample time to pack our kit and exit in slow time. The only difference between that and the real thing was the residual thrust of 4 engines at flight idle and no airframe damage.

A rapid abandonment would have had the Nav Rad swivel his seat, pull the air cushion know to push him into a standing position and release his seat straps. Down on the floor he would open the door hatch and pull the door release which would be blown open. He would grab the bar under the plotters seat, swing out and let go.

The oxygen umbilical would disconnect oxygen and intercom and the static line would activate the parachute. Min bailout was assessed to be 150 feet.

There was, IIRC, a secondary door open switch operated by the plotter. The AEO would follow the Nav Rad leaving the way for the plotter whose seat had an inflatable cushion but did not swivel. There were 'London Bus grab handles' hanging from the roof to help pull oneself upright.

I believe there were also successful rear crew abandonments from Valiant and Victor as well. The latter had 3 swivel seats.

17th Jan 2007, 10:50
I stumbled across this site today : http://members.pcug.org.au/~jsaxon/bluesteel/99book/victorin.htm

It gives an excellent and detailed account of an incident to a Victor in Australia. Although the order to abandon aircraft was given the aircraft manoeuvres were so violent that the crew failed in their attempts.

John Farley
21st Jan 2007, 11:45

21st Jan 2007, 12:08
Nice rare piccie, John - thanks for that!

Must have been taken when the UK actually had an air force - it's in black-and-white!

21st Jan 2007, 12:36
This is one airframe that should have been saved:

Apologies for the poor quality

And a picture of XA900 at Cosford, when the snow on the wings lifted the aircraft and some concrete blocks, until she sat on her back end. Sadly, this airframe was left outside rotting until Cosford had no options but to scrap her.


27th Jan 2007, 21:15
Just keeping it in the current area...

28th Jan 2007, 00:47
55 pages - still receiving posts - loads of invaluable data, stories, and "atmosphere" - a refusal by the management to close it down - source material for Tim McLelland's book(s)........why hasn't this thread been reinstated to 'sticky' status? Just a thought.

28th Jan 2007, 01:17
V-Force skills have been much appreciated since;
I'll never forget a Nav Rad who converted from green porridge to orange and found a motorway flyover just short of 33L at Kuwait in '91.

Cheers Barney.;)

Pontius Navigator
28th Jan 2007, 07:30
V-Force skills have been much appreciated since;
I'll never forget a Nav Rad who converted from green porridge to orange and found a motorway flyover just short of 33L at Kuwait in '91.
Cheers Barney.;)

and? .

28th Jan 2007, 08:47
V-Force skills have been much appreciated since;
I'll never forget a Nav Rad who converted from green porridge to orange and found a motorway flyover just short of 33L at Kuwait in '91.

Cheers Barney.;)

If that's the Barney I know then he was an ex Nav Plotter and winner of the the V force Ex "Double Top" Navigation comp one year;astro along and across fixes with a final NTP of 540 feet! Last heard of as a watch keeper, down the bunker, at HQ STC.:ok:

Pontius Navigator
7th Mar 2007, 18:55
I was asked to relate how Vulcan, and other V-force, crews were formed. The following relates to my first crew but was identical to the second occasion too.

The V-force operated a system of constituted crews, the crews would usually serve together for a full tour with the possible exception of the copilot who might be selected for a captaincy. The way the aircrew crewed up was however arcane.

The poster, either the Air Secretary’s department for someone new to the Command or the Bomber Command P-staff for the retreads, would have 10 to 15 people report to the School of Combat Survival at RAF Mountbatten. On the appropriate Sunday a number of individuals who gather, in dribs and drabs, in the small bar of the Officers’ Mess. Eventually introductions would follow. Some of the retreads might know each other but the rest would all be strangers.

The anonymous strangers emerged as AEOs, navs radar, navs plotter, and pilots. The youngest were often the AEOs who might be direct entry commission and barely 20 years of age. The nav radar and copilots might also be young, pushing 21. Even some of the would be captains might be only 22. Others might be ex-signallers from Coastal or Transport Command and in their mid-thirties. The plotters were often second or third tour Canberra navigators. The captains had usually done a previous tour as a copilot but a small number might have come from other types. The retreads were different. They may have had more than one tour on the V-force and were being recycled through Mountbatten to join a new crew.

One crew on my first squadron was a complete retread crew who had already served two tours on the Valiant; only their copilot was a newbie.

After we had established who was who came the crewing up. One driver was the intended posting of the captain. In my case there were two ex-copilots from Scampton. There were two slots - the free-fall wing at Coningsby and Blue-Steel wings at Scampton. One pilot had a house south of Lincoln and wanted to go to Coningsby. The other was happy to return to Scampton. One AEO was ex-Mark 1 Vulcans and he wanted to remain south of Lincoln too. Our would be plotter was from Germany and had not returned to UK so we were a man short but there was a ‘very old’ wing commander who was going through before a staff posting.

We finished the evening therefore with our new captain, an ex-Blue Steel copilot, a very experienced wg cdr navigator who had previously flown to Australia as a single nav on the Blue Steel trials, a Mark 1 Vulcan AEO, and a brand new copilot and nav radar (me). The other crew was similarly constituted with an apparent mishmash of individuals.

Early the new day we breakfasted together before going to the school. Lectures followed and in the afternoon we assembled for our first sea drill. January, sea temperature 2 degrees and no namby pamby immersion suits for us. A walk down to the jetty in no more than swimming trunks and denim overalls and carrying our pressure jerkin/life jackets.

Out in the launch with a couple of very brave RAF (VRT) officers who had foolishly volunteered to the experience. (A few of years later one was to suffer a heart attack from the cold shock). The launch seemed to go out for far too long. The water was slate grey, cold and obviously very wet. It was also quite rough but not rough enough. They took us out beyond the breakwater before getting us to jump in, one at a time, for the single seat dinghy.

One plotter, very keen to be in the water the minimum time managed to inflate his dinghy before he had got the pack open and it trapped his hand. He was now floating with just his lifejacket and a partly inflated dinghy on his hand. The instructors ignored his plight and carried on with the despatch of the rest of us into the water. From the moment I left the launch to the time I was picked up by the helicopter I have no further recollection. Apart that is from the RAF Launch which used to make high speed passes to encourage us to button up and bail some more. This was fairly standard practice, friendly fiendish bastards - no heart any of them.

The helicopter winching was an experience. From being relatively warm if wet I was suddenly blasted by cold air and possibly happier back in the dinghy. Once lowered back on to the launch I could not walk and had to be manhandled below.

If that was not enough we repeated the whole process the following day with the multi-seat dinghy and in our new crews. To add spice one member was selected as a casualty and another member was selected as rescuer. Neither job was liked as it just meant longer in the water. The other unpleasant job was righting the dingy. Inevitably, if successful, you would finish up underneath. At least it cemented the crew in adversity as they had, ‘with fortitude undergone the rigorous requirements of this school.’
After survival training the crews would undergo aviation medicine training at RAF North Luffenham, another unpleasant experience, especially the after effects of the Ruddles the night before.

From these two courses the crews would then assemble at the Operational Conversion Unit for a four month conversion. Unlike modern OCUs the V-Force OCUs were much more aircraft type conversion with the operational training carried out on the squadrons. As it happened both the Mk 2 crews ended up at Coningsby as the needs changed during the course.

Once constituted the crew would train together, fly together, stand quick reaction alert together and really live in each other’s pockets for the whole tour. It is a sad fact that almost all Vulcan crashes occurred when the crew was an ad hoc crew and this applied whether it was a copilot joining the crew for a check, or a sqn cdr displacing a captain for a copilot check, or even a temporary replacement for one of the rear crew.

In a way this was an echo of Bomber Command in the Second World War when a crew was often lost when one crew member was unable to fly that sortie. All crews had an intense dislike of having a ‘guest’ crew member, not least because flying with a guest did not count against the crew’s training requirements.

edited to add the RAF Launch used to make high speed passes to encourage us to button up and bail some more.

7th Mar 2007, 19:09

Very interesting read, thank you.

7th Mar 2007, 19:19
I was a few months behind Pontius as a co-pilot at Coningsby. We went through all the courses that he mentions but the final crewing together happened more slowly - we gradually emerged as crews during the Ground School phase of the OCU which followed Mountbatten and North Luffenham.


I well remember the agony of the explosive decompression at North Luffenham after a night on the Ruddles - I managed to pass out with the pain but they still passed me anyway!

7th Mar 2007, 20:01
Was it a pain in the @rse ?

7th Mar 2007, 20:19
That too!


7th Mar 2007, 20:49
...and here I was thinking selection was all down to good looks and charm!:D

It's really not that far removed from the WW2 system. I have an excellent recent book ISBN 1-86950-542-5, "Night After Night" dedicated to the 1850 New Zealanders who died in Bomber Command, and the crewing up process was very much a "I'm looking for a Navigator, are you free?"

Pontius Navigator
7th Mar 2007, 20:49
One thing they taught you at NL was how to release gas from the lower gut.

I have been maintaining constant practice ever since.:p

7th Mar 2007, 23:04
Very rare picture. I thought only first prototype flew with non-standard airbrakes.
Need help for my new Flight Testing the Vulcan book. Can't find Victor pages so trying here! Need Victor Mk1 span, length, wing area, empty weight, max weight. Can you or anyone help. Search web and so far had no success.

Pontius Navigator
8th Mar 2007, 06:55
Samuel, ...and here I was thinking selection was all down to good looks and charm!

and it seemed to work. Most crews go on together even if the pairings were unlikely. On one crew the average age was about 44. The copilot was about 20.

That crew was never going to set the world on fire, on their own, but would have been a very steady and capable crew riding a nuc to war.

Others had an average age of about 25 with the old man of the crew usually the ex-kipper fleet AEO at 30.

Many crews were composed of direct entry commission aircrew who would depart at age 30 or 38 with very few destined for a permanent commission and full career in the RAF.

8th Mar 2007, 07:06
'Flatiron' will recall the choice of captains I had in 1977!

I had to make it look as though it took me 3 weeks to decide..........:ok:

Pontius Navigator
8th Mar 2007, 07:09
Allan, please see PM.

Beags, can you comment on crew composition and selection by 1977?

8th Mar 2007, 07:35
I don't recall it being a big deal - by the time we got to AMTC I think that the rear crew and captains had already been crewed together. I think that there were 3 or 4 captains on our OCU course - one was ex-Gannets and one day wasn't there because he'd LMFd a long range navex.

I had to choose between a posting to 35 (which meant flying with Flatiron on the course) or going to 50 (which meant flying with..well, let's just say 'someone else' - a Sqn Ldr whose sole interest was promotion. He called himself a 'senior pilot' when asked what he did by a gang of PMRAFNS in the pub at North Luffenham...:rolleyes: ).

The real crew constitution didn't happen until you got to the squadron - whereupon you were simply told which crew you were going to. So I flew with an ex-Blue Tool Nav Radar (just back from a ground tour in RAFG), an ex-Canberra Nav Plotter, an ex-Kipper Fleet AEO and a Captain who was a total Walt...... It seemed to work though - until we were reconstituted after Walt wired Honington after an air show; he'd failed to tell the crew that the aircraft was redlined for an undercarriage snag ('not to be raised except for rear crew escape') and he'd been told to fly it with the gear down...which he'd ignored.

Looking back now, those days in the V-force were probably the best times I had in the RAF. I only did 3 years before mistakenly having another go at the FJ world - but it was a truly epic 3 years of fun. I think the main difference was that, in those days there were enough people in the RAF to meet the commitments. Not long after the infamous cuts started turing septic, then came the 'moriarty' and finally the creeping cancer of contractorisation which has led to the dismal state of the tiny little top-heavy over-committed RAF of today with its tired old aeroplanes long overdue for replacement....:mad:

Pontius Navigator
8th Mar 2007, 08:01
From a PM I am reminded of CTTO and the GSU.

One tale from the GSU. I was the radar leader on 35 in Cyprus but I was not the first into the oral.

The first victim, a 1st tourist and later wg cdr on Buccs, came out spitting feathers. WTF was the 28v J-line?

When it was my turn I attacked. It turned out that the geniuses that designed the NBS (and they were true geniuses) had decided that one piece of wire could do two jobs. On a bombing run, at high level, the nav radar would tilt the scanner down as he approached the target. At the same time the radar scope camera would operate every 7.5 seconds. The J-line was used to send the firing pulse to the camera.

After the attack, and when the camera was not running, the nav rad would raise the scanner tilt. The up tilt command was sent to the tilt motor via the same 28v J-line. Simple.

However if the nav rad raised the scanner during the bomb run it would inhibit the camera; this had been reported as a fault. Instead of simply telling everyone the GSU chose this as a 'trap'.

During the same interrogation I was asked how the nose pistol on the 1000lb bomb worked. I went into minute detail until I said and it hits the ground and starts the detonation sequence. Very good he said except that at 18 inches above the ground you get diaphram reversal which starts the detonation sequence.

I then trumped him with - No, that is the Number 76 mark 1 pistol. We use the Number 76 Mark 2 which has a metal plate over the diaphram.

:} he deserved it.

8th Mar 2007, 09:33
That brought back some memories, especially of the first time round at Lindholme, on the STCBS. :\

As you say the people who designed the NBS were indeed incredibly clever. Tell us a few tales about the AVSCU, the Square Routing Pinwheel and the Triangle Solver; our current crop of QWI's and WSO's probably wouldn't believe the engineering skill and ingenuity it took to solve those navigational and weaponeering problems.

Despite the passage of time you seem to remember better than most and are better qualified than most, having been a Nav Rad Ldr. What happened to "John Willie" by the way?


8th Mar 2007, 09:35
Even to me as a humble co-piglet, the magic of the automatic variation setting device ('dog turd on a stick') was a thing of wonder!

8th Mar 2007, 09:46

Met john Willie at the V-Force reunion at Newark Air Museum 2004 or 2005. Slightly thinner on top but as brusque as ever.

You may recall his detestation of people talking off intercom. He insisted on the use of crew or conference intercom rather than the lifted earphone.

Well years ago, in the transit bar at Luqa, the bar was 5 deep with people shouting for th infamous brandy sours. While JW was pushing forward someone, I never found out who he was, asked me about "Foghorn Willie"

Does the name fit?

Seems that Mr NBS, when an SNCO Nav Rad on Lincolns, used to Foghorn rather than use the intercom.

PS, forgot to mention that he was living in Doncaster at the time.

8th Mar 2007, 16:10
I knew there was something about him that I really didn't like...an ex sneck!!!! (Stands by for flack)
Aaaaargh! just looked in my log book, I've got his signature...twice.

The nasty, grumpy old piece of work did my FHT, in Nov 73, when he was SNRI on 230 OCU at Scampton. No one had passed one of his trips, first time, for about 18 months! My trip seemed to go OK but, then we get to the debrief, "You did this and this, this, this and that wrong but, you did this and this OK, so, on balance, we won't refly you!!!" Not "well done" or anything slightly encouraging....c$%t.

Back in the bar we are getting stuck in, it's about 1850 and himself walks into the bar, "Fred " say's I to the barman "a pint of .....for Sqn Ldr W***^&*s." JW then proceeds to give me a telling off for calling the barman by his first name! When I remonstrate with him (I was a Flt Lt after all) he invites me out of the bar into the foyer of the Scampton Mess and starts to read me the state of the world according to JW. Suitably told off I skulk back to the bar, chuntering to myself only to have him chase after me and throw me out for being incorrectly dressed (It's now 19.05 and I should have been in a sports jacket and slacks etc!)....you really couldn't make it up! What a complete to***r.

I don't know what special qualities he needed to be the SRNI but, a couple that he didn't have were leadership or a personality. A complete and utter knob.

Sorry about that but, it's been gripping me for 33 years!

Rant finished

Pontius Navigator
8th Mar 2007, 16:52

You remind me of a couple of Willie one's too.

My colleague in Waddo Ops flew a sortie and, as a Select Star nav rad chose a particularly small offset and got a commensurately small score.

"That offset was too small. If you weren't as experienced as you are you wouldn't have seen it.":confused:

I did a trip with him about '69 which means he was the SNRI for over 4 years. We did a particularly difficult sortie, I chose Dunkeswell as I knew they got little trade and liked to give good scores to encourage us to use them.

On one attack he gave me a shiftless basic. I had planned ahead to over fly the headland approaching Exter and my f*****g plotter miss it. Still got a good score.

Then we did a PD to St Mawgan. He was ex-Victors and as it was a radar check he went to sleep. As we flew to St Mawgan I did his job and mine, called every height check, checked the descent profile, the lot. In the debrief I got bollocked for poor crew cooperation - not me I hasten to add, the whole crew.

The plonker did not however debrief the Captain, Flt Cdr 35 desig, or my plotter, OC BNS 35 desig, as both were real sqn ldrs. He contented himself with writing me up or should I say down. B*gg*r didn't dare fail me though.

Pontius Navigator
8th Mar 2007, 16:59

Your other reminds me of my time through Lindholme. One of our course whose name is linked with Arse did not want to go to the V-force. Simple plan, fail the course.

To fail the course he simply had to fail the Viva.

What we did not know was that no one failed the course (but see below). He went into the Viva in the certain knowledge that he knew nothing about the NBS and was bound to fail.

He started the Viva, all the boxes in the Sim with power off, at 0830. They finished at 1700 having had one hour for lunch. I have never seen anyone so punch drunk and crushed. He was posted to Valiants so he won in the end.

No, a friend of mine did fail the course. He was incapable of operating both the CU595 Tilt and the CU585 with eyes on the Ind 301. A tour later and he was back as a plotter.:}

They got you in the end.

Old Hairy
8th Mar 2007, 17:21
I know I was chosen for my Adonis looks,breeding and innate skills,but then of course this was in 1957 and 3Grp. who always were that little bit in advance of 1Grp.:cool: :cool:
We carried out Sea Survival in Felixstowe Harbour,again in the winter months,once recovered from that trauma,Escape and Evasion ont Yorkshire Moors.

By 1959 again back at Gaydon. we were always constituted before arrival no choice.E&S was now at Mountbatten,but then they did provide a natty certificate, "borne with courage and fortitude".:eek: :eek:

When I finally flew Vulcans at BD.apart from the nominated "Project Capt." never flew with the same crew twice and they were all ugly buggers:E :E

Being serious,escape by rear crew members was really a lottery,depending on the nature of the emergency,crew training, time and place.Two instances that come to mind on the Victor. 15000ft.on climbout,only the Captain and AEO survived. 1500ft. 5 miles finals,all five survived!!

It must be obvious that by time Beagle got there,only the ugly buggers were left:E :E :E

8th Mar 2007, 22:45
Hi, there, you guys might like to read about Vulcan XL319, in January 1983, flying in to Usworth aerodrome near Washington, Co. Durham (now part of Sunderland and the site of the Nissan car factory).
The Usworth link is: http://www.neam.co.uk/usworth.html There's a b/w photo, towards the end of the museum history.
I still remember the a/c flying in over Boldon, 3 miles North East of the aerodrome. At that time large planes, civilian or military, were rarely seen in the area. The Vulcan looked absolutely huge, from below, and the roar of the engines at full throttle was impressively loud even at that distance, presumably as it re-circled to land after the first approach.

8th Mar 2007, 23:58
Ugly buigger leaving....


Air Commodore somebody or other in the Crew Drill Trainer

9th Mar 2007, 00:12
Did you fly the Vulcan?.......NO.
Thankfully. I enjoy a nice view out of my nice new hi-tec comfortable aeroplane.

9th Mar 2007, 03:23
Old Hairy...love :D it...best laugh I've had for a while

9th Mar 2007, 06:26
Hi, folks,
this is my first post here. I have enjoyed working my way through some of the threads, particularly this one.
I am very interested in Vulcan XH498, which hurt herself a bit during a touch-and-go at the opening of Wellington Airport, New Zealand, in October 1959.
The pilot (Sqn Ldr A A Smailes) touched soft ground about a foot short of the runway. He got her back into the air, and flew her trailing fuel from ruptured tanks back to RNZAF Ohakea, where he put her down successfully.
I saw the plane next day (I was 9), and I remember still the single-strand rope barrier around the aircraft, and also how close we could get to it.
I've been doing some research on this over the last three weeks, and am considering whether I could assemble enough material for a book about it.
The opening of the airport, the flying display (also, an RNZAF Sunderland scraped her bottom along the runway during a low flypast) was watched by 90,000 people, which was a lot of people to assemble in Wellington in 1959. The RAF, the RAAF, the USAF sent contingents of aircraft. Twhole affair was billed as New Zealand being at the forefront, or being of aviation progress. We were then very much part of the 'British' family and the 'Free West' family. XH498 was one of three Vulcans that came to New Zealand then. I think they were all from 617 Sqn, then based at RAF Scampton
If this incident has already been mentioned in this thread, then I'm sorry that I haven't seen it. My very good (ex)neighbour Samuel told me about this site and this thread only recently.
I just haven't got round to reading everything yet.
Anyway I would be interested in getting in contact with any of the crew of XH498 when this happened. Sqn Ldr Smailes retired from the RAF as a wing commander in July 1965 (that's according to The Air Force Lists, which are in our National Library). He would be 83 now. I understand one of the crew was a Bob Mitchell, whose name I found on another, Vulcan, site. He had an e-mail address, which bounced when I tried it.
Anyway, if any of you know anything, I would be grateful. I'd like to talk e-maily to the crew about this.

Pontius Navigator
9th Mar 2007, 20:08
Sqn Ldr Smailes retired from the RAF as a wing commander in July 1965

IIRC that would have been after he left his undercarriage at Coningsby and the aircraft recovered to Waddington.

9th Mar 2007, 20:14
KiwiJaegercat,I've been doing some research on this over the last three weeks, and am considering whether I could assemble enough material for a book about it.
I doubt whether you would find an editor for a book about a subject as esoteric as that.

But if you're a dab hand with Word or suchlike, why not write and format it yourself, then advertise it in the Vulcan and Kiwi communities, and just print it yourself "on demand"? If it's a success, you can always link up with a local print shop or editor.

I just got a book like that about Wisley, airfield in the UK used for flight tests for aircraft like the VC10 and 1-11. I doubt more than a couple of thousand copies were ever printed... but it now exists, and I enjoyed it.

9th Mar 2007, 21:58
As a 13 year old in the early 70's, along with around 2000 other brats at St Johns School in Cyprus, used to watch Vulcans dropping bombs near (we always presumed they weren't suppose to hit) a target moored in Episkopi Bay.
Although it was far more interesting than double English, it did sod all for my ability to spell....But thanks for the entertainment anyway.
I have to say though, the annual firepower display was more impressive, with 1000lb bombs instead of the practice things! But even that was eclipsed by the demonstration of how to crash a harrier into Happy Valley, to much cheering from said 2000 brats........

10th Mar 2007, 00:12
Ther are photos and some written detail on the XH498 incident at Wellington on this thread......somewhere:ugh:

Pontius Navigator
19th Mar 2007, 17:56
I have just published the following text (on request) on a different forum and am cross posting here for completion. It relates to supposition that the last Black Buck raid dropped its bombs in airburst mode. It explains how the bomb fuzing was selected etc.

<<RAF Conventional bombs have exploder pockets in the nose and the tail. Initially pistols were fitted to each pocket namely a Number 76 Nose and a Number 75 tail. An alternative tail pistol was the Number 79 delayed action pistol. These were all ‘impact’ fused systems albeit the detonator could incorporate a delay, short in the case of the 76/75 and up to 48 hours or more for the No 79.

The fusing was initiated in the by the selection of a two-way switch. The default (off) position was TAIL with the up position as NOSE and TAIL. This enabled airborne selection of impact fusing (nose) and tail (backup) or delay (tail) and nose inactive.

The pistols were carried safe with a safety pin in the arming vane and a fusing lanyard. With the appropriate fusing selected an electro-magnetic fusing unit (EMFU) was activated which locked the fusing lanyard. When the bombs dropped the fusing lantard would pull the safety pin from the pistol, the arming vane would rotate, and after a safe separation and fusing unit (SAFU) period the pistol striker would be free to start the explosive train.
In the 50s a new fusing system, the 900 series, variable time (VT) fuse was developed to allow air burst fusing. This fuse, with an integral detonator, was initiated in much the same way but also required an electrical pulse through a ‘Churchill’ plug. A second fusing switch was then added to the armament panel next to the Nose/Tail - Tail switch; this was the VT on/off.
To drop a stick of bombs with airburst function the switches would be set to Nose/Tail and the other to VT. To drop the stick with only Tail impact the VT would be left off. Now we get a problem.

A later bomb fuse, the 947, was developed for the tail fusing pocket. For this fuse to function the VT function had to be selected.

In the case of the Falklands the correct selection for an airburst would have been Nose/Tail and VT. For an impact detonation the selection would be Tail and VT. If the airburst fuse, say the 952, failed then the tail fuse, the 947, should have worked. However whether or not a nose fuse was fitted, it would be essential to select VT. If VT was not selected then neither a nose nor a tail function would work.

Now I am speculating but I do not think there was any intention to drop the bombs in airburst mode. In that case only the tail fuse would have been fitted. Fusing selection should have been Tail and VT ie the VT should have been selected UP.

The stick that failed to explode would have caused as much chaos and disruption as the one that did. Bombs that do not explode my be delayed action with delays from 30 minutes to 48 hours or even possible 96 hours. As they failed to explode the first task would have been to identify the impact area and impose a quarantine over an area at least 1600 x 500 yards and that only after you had located bombs 1 and X. I imagine there would have been a shortage of volunteers doing the initial survey!

Amended to update fuses and facts.

19th Mar 2007, 18:08
Now I am speculating but I do not think there was any intention to drop the bombs in airburst mode.If there was no intention of dropping the bombs in airburst mode, why would there have been Radio Altimeter NOSE fuses fitted, this would be a waste of 21 pieces of expensive fusing kit, so if not required to be dropped in airburst mode, they would have removed them, wouldn't they.:ok:

Pontius Navigator
19th Mar 2007, 18:20
ZH, you are of course correct, however I did not say they did have nose VT fuses fitted; I was describing how the original VT fuse was a nose fuse.

There was a presumption that bombs intended for impact would have had the 76 Nose and 75 Tail pistols.

There is also the possibility that the aircraft was loaded for both airburst and ground burst options. It all depends on how the bombs were preped and loaded as the fitment of the nose fuses would have been done in the bomb dump and not on the aircraft.

The 90-way bomb distribution system and the fusing and isolation switch options were at once incredibly simple and overly complicated depending upon ones training. For crews who had only trained for a nuclear mission the switch to conventional operations would have been very rapid. Dilution rates among Navs Rad was high in the late 60s and 70s so long term memory would have been fading.

22nd Mar 2007, 08:06
In my 2000 Vulcan hours I never dropped anything heavier than the 28lb practice bomb. On the rare occasions we came near a 90 way my Nav Rad claimed it meant 89 possible ways of getting the wrong result.
Time to get back on the front page.....

Pontius Navigator
22nd Mar 2007, 08:24
50+, clearly you weren't in Cyprus.

We got to chuck several tons of HE into the oggin. I believe that notices to mariners were issued but a 100 of so tons of HE going off over an hour of so must have echoed as far as Israel and Egypt.

We dropped free-fall from 2500 feet with, I believe, 10 millisecond delay pistols tail pistols. I don't remember any nose pistols. It was both spectacular and beautiful.

Running in at 500 feet we could see the target 'bloom' as the bombs from the aircraft 10 miles ahead detonated. I used to wonder what it would be like with a stream attack on an airfield with 4 aircraft at 30 seconds interval.

As each explosion developed it would throw up a mass of water magenta in colour. You could see the difference in yield, bomb to bomb. I don't recall a dud.

The first stick I remember feeling in the aircraft. Later sticks I only remember seeing them. It is possible they had longer delays.

On a later demo in Epi Bay our flight commander dropped 21 retards from 300 feet - very impresive. Great blue grey water spouts reaching up to the clouds above the Vulcan.

22nd Mar 2007, 08:36
It beggared belief to learn that the navigators had been flown thousands of miles from ASI only to screw up the 90-way switch.....

Surely they should have been practising the switchery until it was second nature to them?

Pontius Navigator
22nd Mar 2007, 09:30
BEagle, some years earlier we used to fly mixed loads of 8x25 and 8x100.

The mantra that all Nav Rads were taught was "zero press - zero press" on the 90-way; this would ensure the first bomb release pulse was sent to the first available bomb.

Now the 25 lbs had to be dropped from low level and the 100 lber from high level. If the bombs were loaded so that the 25lbs were first and the 100lbs second, but the crew planned the high level drops first, the Nav Rad would have to 'step through' the 25s so that the first firing pulse went to bomb number 9. This evolution was deemed too intellectually challenging by the powers that be, probably pilots, so we would arrange for the bombs to be loaded with the 100lbs set to go first.

Carefully briefed the Nav Rad went on the sortie. All he had to do was zero-press etc and drop 8 x 100lbs. If he did not drop all 8 I seem to remember that he was supposed to bring all remaining bombs home.

Well, on this occasion he had the load correctly set for the mission - which, this time, was 25lbs first and 100lbs second. Off he goes and carefully steps through all 8 25lbs and proceeds to drop 8 100lbs at Wainfleet at low level. Predictably 8 unexpolded bombs although he got 8 scores.

Then off to Jurby for the high level phase. Once again he dropped all 8 25lbers that were susceptible to spinning and other sins and proceeded to get a very large and irregular bomb pattern.

And back to the fusing. In practice bombing fuse selection was an irrelevance. Our unofficial mantra then was 'train as you would for the best scores.' By 1982 a large degree of corporate memory had gone. Dilution levels would have been high.

Even in the 60s training shortcuts were taken. Some crews, to 'discharge' the nuclear bomb response simulator away from the target area. Bomb doors would be opened and the requisite number of firing sequences would be done before the serious business of actually doing the practice or simulated drops.

green granite
22nd Mar 2007, 12:46
On a later demo in Epi Bay our flight commander dropped 21 retards from 300 feet - very impresive

Having filmed the trial release of 21 retarded 1000lb bombs from a vulcan at 500ft over Larkhill I can attest to the spectacular nature of the result, I was deaf for days. :O

30th Mar 2007, 13:53
I've been reading the thread on most Canberra hours; who do we think had the most Vulcan hours, Dave Thomas, Joe L'Estrange, John Willy, Jon Tye?

Only 1700 for me in two tours.

Also, what ever happened to "Bombay" Peach?


Yellow Sun
30th Mar 2007, 16:41
Also, what ever happened to "Bombay" Peach?

He was manager of the Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough for a good many years. He died about 3 years ago.


31st Mar 2007, 06:59
Vulcan Mk1 Weapon Bay and Bomb Separations.

Clearances for weapon releases from the Mk1 Vulcan (XA892 mostly) involved dropping enormous numbers of duds into Lyme Bay. All sorts of combinations of test releases preceded service approvals.

The airflows around the Vulcan weapons bay seemed to be particularly benign although some close jostling of bombs was occasionally observed.

Dropped the first big blunt 10,000 pounder at 0.98 IMN and watched it on closed circuit TV disappear with a slight pitching oscillation. The release was hardly perceptible.

Did we at Boscombe Down do a satisfactory job or were there any occurrences of damage to a Vulcan or cases of dangerous live bomb jostling ?

Some releases from other platforms can be terrifying and close to terminal.

Pontius Navigator
3rd Apr 2007, 20:04
Milt, I watched many bombs fall away clean with the bombs slowly rotating as they fell.

To minimise the risk of jostle we were limited to a minimum interval of .3 sec IIRC.

There was an incident in 1967 I think. Boscombe managed to drop 10 x 1000lb (probably inert) out of a load of 21. Only problem was the bomb doors were shut at the time.

Despite the weight of bombs, most of which imagine would have been in the middle of the bomb doors, the bomb doors did not open. I also guess the landing was particularly gentle with gentle breaking to avoid the bombs moving forward through the fueslage fuel tank.

3rd Apr 2007, 21:21
Also, XM612 on arrival on ASI (14 May 82) had a few loose bombs, as the top row of the middle carrier had released the 4 1000lb'ers, but the bottom 3 were still attached. :uhoh: This occured when the bombs were dropped to save weight (slight excess of fuel usage encountered).

Superb landing by John Reeve, used up quite a lot of the runway.

4th Apr 2007, 03:41
So, nothing to do with 'midnight confusion' then? Or 'Caligula' not understanding how to plan from the ODM???

Both of which I have been told were probable contributory factors.

What was the landing fuel state in the end?

4th Apr 2007, 09:05
According to the AOC's PSO, the b%ll&cking Caligula received had to be heard to be believed!


4th Apr 2007, 10:33
Wish I had been there to hear it:)

4th Apr 2007, 11:53

Thanks for the response on bomb clearances. We TPs at BD generally flew as briefed or to flight test instructions. It would have been the boffins who issued the 0.3 second interval. Interesting.

Cannot imagine a pilot bringing back a stick of inerts on the doors. I once had a delayed release of a live 2,000 pnd target marker on to a Canberra's doors. There was no way of knowing then whether the arming wires had been pulled and it had barostatic fuzes to open a parachute and to light it up at lower altitudes. Pencil beam radar director of the Imber range talked me back to the release point where the target marker departed on opening doors. Pencil beam radar then followed the store measuring its trajectory. It was armed as I still had the arming wires and it did its thing on the way down. No significant damage to the doors.

Cannot recall whether the Vulcan had weapon bay door interlocks to prevent inadvertant drops on to closed doors. One would expect this to be a design requirement.

Pontius Navigator
4th Apr 2007, 16:18
If you remember the Vulcan bomb doors, they were double hinged. They folded UP in the middle. If a dropped bomb was outboard of the centre hinge then the doors could not open.

I don't know how they knew they had come off - cameras?

4th Apr 2007, 16:34
If you remember the Vulcan bomb doors, they were double hinged. They folded UP in the middle.

.......... middle of each side.


Pontius Navigator
4th Apr 2007, 16:38
Amazing thing the internet.

Forget please see PM.

5th Apr 2007, 12:06
"On one attack he gave me a shiftless basic."

Eee... it's been years since I heard the term shiftless basic!

5th Apr 2007, 12:32
@ BEagle
"It didn’t take much for them to ring McConnell and the next day there were heavens knows how many TV and radio journos waiting to greet the other crews when they landed."

Yeah, and before we set off, we were all given strict instructions not to do any more 'flypasts'! :hmm:

My logbook says: Nov-7 / XM571 / GV Semi-Final - Land McConnell / 6.15 Day.

Great pleasure reading this thread. I'm just amazed at the long memories you all have. I can remember hardly anything from that long ago!

Ooh, look! A picture of us having just arrived at Barksdale! (http://i11.tinypic.com/2yo32mq.jpg)

9th Apr 2007, 21:16
I own and am currently restoring the cockpit & nose section of XA903, a mk1 Vulcan used to test the Blue Steel, the Olympus 593 (Concorde) engine and the RB199 (Tornado) engine. It is being restored to its Olympus 593 test configuration.

Although the aircraft is fairly well documented and photographed from the outside, there doesn't seem to be any info or pictures of what it looked like inside.

I would love to hear from anyone who flew in XA903, and especially anyone who has any photos, drawing or notes of the internal layout to help with ensuring that the restoration is as accurate as possible. This includes the pilots consoles and the rear desk (epecially the AEO side).

I have started a web site, and although its in its early days, it may help to jog a few memories. www.2av8.co.uk (http://www.2av8.co.uk)

13th Apr 2007, 14:39



Now that I've found out how to upload pictures hopefully this will work
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/th_XL361Goose4.jpg (http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/XL361Goose4.jpg)
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/th_XL361Goose3.jpg (http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/XL361Goose3.jpg)
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/th_CopyofXL361Goose1.jpg (http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/CopyofXL361Goose1.jpg)

13th Apr 2007, 15:29
scorpion63 - what happened to 361 at Goose? Did someone put the 1-to-7 transfers into the 'aft' gated position for too long?

brianlj, sorry if we queered your pitch at McConnell! It seems the 'flypast' at KICT, great big noisy wingover over the top of Wichita city and visual join at KIAB must have really woken the locals up! Then the departure, teardrop around and max perf. climb an hour or so later had them falling off their sisters again. Yee-hah, as they say in that (red) neck of the woods....:E

13th Apr 2007, 15:48
Something like that, crew chief must have spent to much time in the Bulldog Club.
The Red Steer cone was boarded up with a plywood cover and flew back like that, can't lay my hands on the temporary repair pictures at the moment.

13th Apr 2007, 15:55
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/th_XH498.jpg (http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/XH498.jpg)Someone asked about XH498 after hitting the undershoot at Wellington, here's the pictures.
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/th_Vulcan_Wellington.jpg (http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/Vulcan_Wellington.jpg)
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/th_vulcrash1.jpg (http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w77/scorpion163/vulcrash1.jpg)

Yellow Sun
13th Apr 2007, 15:59
what happened to 361 at Goose? Did someone put the 1-to-7 transfers into the 'aft' gated position for too long?

There was an instruction in the Ground Refuelling Procedure that the AAR Panel should be monitored throughout refuelling to ensure the correct operating sequence of the tank valves. Apparently this wasn't done, the sequence was incorrect and the rest is history.


13th Apr 2007, 17:59
There was also a well-known instruction NOT to 'dip' the tanks during refuel as that would cause the refuelling system to think that a tank had been refilled when it was only partially full........IIRC!

Sit, watch, don't touch!

Sadly it still happens today. Recently, we spent ages sorting out a new tanker aircraft's Mission Computer system after 'hangar pilots' had given themselves some 'training' on the system overnight.............:*

18th Apr 2007, 12:17
My inventory so rudely taken away in May 1973, I have a Pee tube engraved "Up yer kilt Shiraz 1973":{ .............

18th Apr 2007, 15:25
Any pictures of '781 post crash gents? :{

The Real Slim Shady
19th Apr 2007, 19:18

That was the infamous Hills Mob, including old Two Ton,Two Pints,Tight Turn Tooley RIP.

I have a memory of JH being "Rommeled" in Stavanger during a JMC when the weather closed in in 1979.

19th Apr 2007, 19:52
Yes, on that day we were also flying. Asked how much fuel we had, I was just working out an answer which would have meant an immediate diversion to Stavangar when the captain came out with an answer which gave just enough for an approach at Kinloss first. They were just finishing off snow clearance when we landed.....

Then stuck in the sodding place for another 4 days in goon suits instead of spending blats aplenty in Stavangar....as did the 617th Bombardment Wing crews.

Thanks, Pat.............NOT!

Pontius Navigator
19th Apr 2007, 19:58
It was always a mistake leaving div fuel to a pilot. On the Nimrod we used to plot the Iso-dollar line. Made sure we were always the right side of the line when we were short of fuel.:}

20th Apr 2007, 05:47
That was the infamous Hills Mob, including old Two Ton,Two Pints,Tight Turn Tooley RIP.Ah, but which infamous Hills mob?

There's a photo of former fellow "Ton-Five" JH with a quite different infamous Hills mob at Barksdale on John Leitch's "Vulcans in Camera" website (See the "Vulcan People" section)

Our "other shift" toppled "Happy Jack" Helmsleys B1A up like that one swing shift at Waddo. As it started to tip up, the refueller cut the flow and a lecky and a fairy grabbed the nose leg. It was enough to stop it sitting completley on its backside and the refueller was sent up the steps to keep the nose down until they could get a picket shackle onto the nose leg. Phew! Happy Jack was even more miserable than usual next morning.

Pontius Navigator
20th Apr 2007, 07:00

I can't recall the aircraft number but at Akrotiri we were taxiing past the sooty area near the tower, well away from the Bomber Dispersal, as we saw the nose wheel come off the ground and the luckless chief throwing himself onto the towing arm.

He had been faced with a stark choice, race for the bowser and stop the refuelling or jump on the tow arm. As the aircraft was already tipping he chose the tow arm.

He was, IIRC, on his todd and the inevitable happened. I don't remember any great fuss so maybe it was only a gentle touch. Be about 71-72.

20th Apr 2007, 07:12
"I didn't do it." as Bart might have said.

I was safely on VC10s by 71 so it wasn't me....

Not that long ago someone wrote off a VC10 when they got more in the Fin Tank than they had in the inboard wings. There's always one on every squadron isn't there. :ugh:

20th Apr 2007, 07:34
That one was written off and given an M number. It then sat out behind the Q shed on 56's patch (Golf pan?) and was used as a christmas tree and for plumber training (bombs on/bombs off). The Chief Tech was CM'd and busted IIRC. I suppose it was scrapped in situ at some point.

Didn't the Tehran one fall foul of a bondu drain after it went off the runway?

20th Apr 2007, 08:08
Didn't the Tehran one fall foul of a bondu drain after it went off the runway?

Shiraz, long way south of Tehran. I saw the aircraft, where it came to rest, from a taxiing Iran Air 737 and it looked to be fairly unwrinkled - side on. It had run off into sand and muck so, if the will had been there, I think it was re-coverable. But then again, in Iran? Perhaps not.

The Real Slim Shady
20th Apr 2007, 12:13
I reckon every crew led by JH was infamous for their antics!!

My leader - Ron " I've been sick in better taxis than this" Chivers - was bad enough but JH surpassed him in Stavanger :D

Pontius Navigator
20th Apr 2007, 12:54
The Shiraz one would have been OK if they had told the crew about the ditch. The ditch was only on one side!

3rd May 2007, 18:34
LINK to Flight Testing Forum

Pontius Navigator
3rd May 2007, 18:50
Spekesoftly, thank you for the link. Very good, shame the obituary writter had such a tenuous grasp of the technical aspects of the aircraft.

15th May 2007, 20:32
I was so interested to read this article. My father was Denis Mountford. I remember him returning from the trip. He had obviously enjoyed the exercise.

J Hodson

Pontius Navigator
15th May 2007, 21:36
I remember Dennis Mountford though I did not know him well. Which article about Exercise Moonflower?

19th May 2007, 09:37
I would like to be put in touch with any of the crew of XM599 from 1979. I have the names, but in the interest of confidentiality, I am only providing the initials here.
I'm not positive who the Captain was, possibly Flt.Lt WHG, but the Co-Pilot was Flying Offr. JBC and the Nav was Flt. Lt. JRN
If anyone is in touch with these people, please pass on my email address, joe.mcgonagle(at)ntlworld.com. I have something which may possibly interest them.
Joe McGonagle

19th May 2007, 13:00
I am trying to contact members of the crew on a mission which took them over the bay of Biscay on 25/26 May 1977. The a/c was XL321 and the crew surnames (initial only) were as follows:

Co-Pilot: Flt Lt D. 230 OCU
Capt: Flt Lt E. 230 OCU
Nav Plotter: Flt Lt D. 230 OCU
Nav Radar: Flg Offr D. 230 OCU
AEO: Flt Lt S. 617 Sqn

I do have the relevant surnames, but I am using initials only for reasons of confidentiality.


Joe McGonagle

19th May 2007, 13:09
Ah, good old XL321, AKA Rusty Bin.

I was (un)fortunate enough to see her off on her final flight to catterick along with another aircraft.

Should have been a straightforward flight, with the North Yorks Police closing the A1 to allow the 2 kites to land as close as possible to the start of the short runway.

The only thing that marred the whole plan, was that the times the Police were given, were in Zulu, and they turned up at Local time, to see a bit of a traffic problem as the aircraft had already landed and cars had stopped to get a better view.

IIRC '321 was the highest houred Vulcan on the fleet.

21st May 2007, 20:11
We flew it back from Barksdale to Waddington via Goose Bay 14-16 November 1979. That's the only time I flew it; it had been one of our 4 Giant Voice '79 a/c, but was ferried home after the semi-final as it wasn't one of the best. We had to leave our far nicer XH538 for another crew to fly.

Hmm ,not so about this. This was a 44(R) Sqn jet. I was a Crew Chief at the time and I have it in my little book that I flew down to Barksdale with Dion H***** and crew in 824 on the 12 nov 79. I think we used the aircraft to ferry some vital GV spares. For some strange reason we went via Gander. We had real trouble trying to get off the next day, it had rained overnight and by morning the aircaft looked like an ice cube. Oh boy what joy! So 824 never to part in GV thank goodness, she really was a bit of a monster, the fuel sytsem was really touchy, during refuel you had to watch it like a hawk otherwise she'd be on her arse. IIRC we took of on the 14 Nov for Goose planning to leave there on the 15 Nov but got stuck for a day due to a "White Out". We took off again on the 16 Nov and landed at Waddo. So BEagle am I correct in thinking that you were on 35 Sqn?

21st May 2007, 20:21
Yes, I was indeed on 35 Sqn and we flew that heap home in the period to which I refer. Or so my logbook says. Pete D**k*n was the captain. Perhaps it was flown down with spares, as you say? Next time I bump into Dion, I shall ask him to dig out his logbook!

We came very close to aborting at Barksdale due to a JPT gauge which went from normal to zero to full scale deflexion to normal again just before Decision speed.........

And whichever of the 44 (Zimbabwe) groundcrew pinched my 'dragon' glove puppet (used to stick it out of the DV when taxying to amuse people), please return it!

Tim McLelland
3rd Jun 2007, 13:41
Has the Vulcan thread finally run out of steam? Surely not!

I've just about finished my book so it should be out around Christmas time. I believe there's another three Vulcan books appearing before then but whether they'll be good, bad or indifferent I don't know!

5th Jun 2007, 11:45
Brilliant! Brilliant! Posted last month. 9 minutes of the best Vulcan/Victor footage I've ever seen. :ok::ok::ok:

( No doubt I'm the last in the world to have seen this. :hmm:)


5th Jun 2007, 11:48
Can anyone remember the Bomb types that matched particular ballistic film numbers?

Bomb type Zero of course was easy. What about the 1000lb bomb, 28lb bomb etc?

5th Jun 2007, 13:08
Wasn't a Type 40 bomb a 1000lb er? I think you wound the FT on manually for 28lb PB.

5th Jun 2007, 13:26
TL, close on the type 40, I had in mind a 41 or 41A, maybe one for the Calc 3 the other for the 3a.

As for setting the FT manually, that would apply to all weapons dropped from below 7200 feet, Mark 1 and Mark 2 post-circa 1968, and 17200 feet (Calc 3a and Mark 2 aircraft pre-1968).

IIRC the setting for the 950 was 450 yards but for the 1000lb and 28lb considerably further than this.

The real hit/miss was the 28lb dropped from the 2J pop-up. A real :mad: as the pilots needed to fly an accurate g/s and height to match the pre-calculated forward throw.

5th Jun 2007, 13:40
I hadn't seen it... it totally rocks. Let's see three B-2s in that kind of formation. (Jeebus, could any one of those three Vulcans actually see each other?)

5th Jun 2007, 13:51

I haven't had the chance to see the video yet but I suspect the answer was probably not.

I once watched a Vic 3 attack Akrotiri. It was a text book example of how not to do a Vic 3 attack.

An RV was set up (sort of) over the sea off Famagusta. Two aircraft were from one sqn and one from the other. They did not have a formation leader nor did they have a common RT frequency.

They attacked from the east, over Limasol Bay at 300 feet, 350 kts. They had 3 different aiming points. One was the runway, one the ATC and one the Med Centre. While these three targets ranged north to south the right-hand, northern aircraft made for the middle target crossing over the one going for the runway.

The only good news was their cross-over manouevre meant the Bloodhounds would probably only have got 2 kills.

5th Jun 2007, 14:06
As a Spacey, I used to spend some of my spare time watching the F4s going round and around and around strafing the float off Cowden.

One quiet afternoon, I looked south towards Donna Nook and spotted something heading up the coast. Lo and behold, one Vulcan, bomb doors open, running in at what seemed cliff-top height.

Imagine the excitement, soon to turn to disappointment at the sight of what must have been the tiniest of practice bombs, which barely caused a ripple as it missed the float by a fair distance.

5th Jun 2007, 22:45
A really nice compilation. At the 10 sec point, I do believe that was R Falk Esq, in his chalk stripe "flying" suit, walking out to VX770.

6th Jun 2007, 03:36
at the sight of what must have been the tiniest of practice bombs, which barely caused a ripple as it missed the float by a fair distance.One day at Waddo my tea break was interrupted by Chiefy sending me to marshal a Canberra, that was diverting to us with a hang-up. He briefed me to go down the peri-track and bring it to a halt by the Echo dispersal turn-off. (Vulcan Line was based in the Delta / Echo buildings in the centralised servicing days) I trudged off down the peri-track, while everyone else including the Flight Commander jumped into various waggons and headed off down to Charlie dispersal.

"This is not good" I thought as the aircraft approached, trailed at a respectable distance by a convoy of fire trucks. Knees knocking I waved him in and stopped him as far as possible from our precious buildings. The DV window opened and a finger beckoned me closer. "Who me?" I questioned pointing at my chest. There wasn't another soul within a thousand yards, so I walked over and opened the hatch. Whereupon the navigator sprang out, dashed off under the wing and emerged with a 28 pounder practice bomb tucked under his arm. Close the hatch, fire up the starboard engine and he was off again.

Call that thing a bloody bomb? :rolleyes:

"Old Yeller" - now there was a proper bomb. :ok:

Pontius Navigator
6th Jun 2007, 07:02
You've not seen a 28lb er up close and personal then?

Beautiful piece of engineering. Engineered superbly to provide a technical solution to a rare problem at a huge cost. Electrically initiated explosive squibs, moving shutters, large quantity of smoke and flash compound and a frag area out to 25-30 metres.

New design costs peanuts and uses kinetic energy principle to keep the miniscule cartridge from premature detonation and placed in a carrier to stop birds hitting it in the first place.

Tim McLelland
6th Jun 2007, 12:42
Oh dear, I had the misfortune to thumb-through the new Avro Vulcan - A History by Peter Dancey (Tempus Publishing) yesterday.

Some absolute gems:-

...both the Blue Streak ballistic missile and the Blue Steel stand-off missile came to be seen as the Vulcan's main armament

or how about

...these airframes were the re-designated as B2A

then again we could try

...27 Squadron at RAF Waddington from November 1973 until March 1982

maybe the best one I've found so far however, must be

... Vulcan B.2 BB serial XM607 (seems this designation refers to Black Buck aircraft)

I stopped reading after this:D

6th Jun 2007, 12:57
The Tempus Publishing book revue is revealing.

...........went on to serve in the RAF from 1952 to 1984. During this time it carried Britain's first nuclear weapon, the gravity bomb, and played an important part of the deterrence policy in the Cold War.

I now understand why the bomb doors were on the bottom of the aircraft.

6th Jun 2007, 13:20
miaaooow Timothy, we're all sure there won't be any mistakes in your book !

S_H ;)

Tim McLelland
6th Jun 2007, 13:30
Mistakes would be fine but there are limits! It's also a bit annoying to see that the author's stolen stuff from my last Vulcan book and hasn't even got the good grace to give me a mention in the acknowledgements or references. Couldn't even give one of my own photographs a suitable credit to the bloke that took it (me!). Shabby business!:)

8th Jun 2007, 09:34
I am looking for anyone that knew Flight Lt Stephen Sumpter (my uncle) he was killed when Vulcan XM604 crashed at Cottesmore on 30th Jan 1968 he was the Nav/plotter. I would love to hear from anyone that knew him.
forget has already been a huge help in finding information on the crash itself.
Many Thanks
Matt Sumpter

9th Jun 2007, 21:38
I read about the exercise to Australia. I remember him returning in good form. I think the exercise had gone well. I also think he got a CBE after the exercise.

J Hodson

Tim McLelland
21st Jun 2007, 16:54
Here's one for ya - XM575. According to the info I can find, it was retired and delivered to Bruntingthorpe and subsequently ferried to East Midlands. Other snippets contradict this and say it went directly to East Midlands. Anyone know the truth on this?

21st Jun 2007, 17:10
Vulcan B2A XM575 was withdrawn from service with the Royal Air Force on 21st December 1982 and arrived at the Aeropark early in 1983. It was repainted in 1986 and 1994.

Retired in 1983, 575 is preserved at the East Midlands Aeropark.

Delivered to Castle Donington on 28th Jan 83, is was udated to G-BLMC.

From three of the sites I looked at.

Added from a forum:

XM575 is the last surviving vulcan of the very last 'public' QRA at Raf Finningley on the 19th september 1981. She was retired to east midlands airport. Then in 1985 ther wer plans afoot to fly her to Bruntinghorpe with help from Bae who came and started to restore her to flying contition for this one off flight.

The civil serial for XM575 is G-BLMC. I work with XM575 at East Midlands Aeropark (I am a volunteer), she is in a really healthy condition. 3/4 engines are in working order (although we can't test them due to houses behind). 575 looks to have a happy future here at the Airport. It's highly unlikely 575 will fly again. I'm just happy its on display.

21st Jun 2007, 17:47
Good to hear she is in such great shape. Could she not be repositioned so she could be run?

22nd Jun 2007, 12:38
Don`t say "Vulcan B2A" in front of Tim!

28th Jun 2007, 20:38

Apologies that this response is over 2 months old but I was researching something when I came across your posting.

I worked on XA903 in both OLY593 and RB199 configurations during the 70's as an engineer at the R-R Flight Test Centre at Filton. However, I regret that I don't have any photographs of the cockpit - mores the pity!

I assume you have tried the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust at Bristol and, in particular, Alan Baxter (assuming he still takes an active role in things - you'll have to excuse me but I'm a little bit out of touch with things at the RRHT) who was the Flight Test Engineer most associated with XA903.

If I can be of any assistance please send me a PM and I will do the best I can. Thankfully, I am still in-touch with some of those remaining from the halycon flight testing days at Filton.

11th Jul 2007, 21:01
Thanks for that. A PM was sent by return. If you didn't get it, let me know.


12th Jul 2007, 09:48
A bit late but I've just remembered that I saw 903, OCT/NOV '71, being converted for the 199 in a certain big shed outside Cambridge. Perhaps Marshall of Cambs have some pictures or drawings still?

12th Jul 2007, 21:49
Thanks. I have tried contacting Marshalls a couple of weeks ago, but not heard anything yet. I'll give them a bit longer then try again.


12th Jul 2007, 21:58
Not long now until your appointment with that rose, eh Tombstone?

And Primetime Joanna's team are busily polishing their lenses ready to record the event in all its dubious glory for posterity!

12th Jul 2007, 22:20
Is that posteriority?

15th Jul 2007, 15:27
This should rattle a few old brain cells. Pictures taken from 1968 Bomb/Nav/Comm competition.



Pontius Navigator
15th Jul 2007, 15:36
Forget, Indeed. I remember Mick Hibberd as an old man :(

Also Taff Traylor. I seem to remember this was about the time that the AEO had to respond to an encrypted morse question with an encrypted reply.

Questions along the lines of "What is your eta FDP?" or "What is your estimated fuel at FDP?" Such multi-choice questions could then be answered with "1012" or "12000lb" etc.

As the AEO wrote down the received code the plotter would decode the message. As the plotter decoded the message the radar would select the correct prepared and encoded answer. As the meesage receive was acknowledged the AEO would immediately respond.

One crew go zero penalties for response delay and 100% penalties for wrong answer!

17th Jul 2007, 13:05
Once ran into John Huggins in a Marylebone Road sandwich bar 30 years ago,wonder where he and his motley crew are now. Happy days on the Goose 1971 and at Machrihanish MBD 1968 and Valley 1969/70. I was permanent staff on dispersal, what a life 2 weeks work a year and the rest waiting for it to happen.
Did a months relief at Leuchars in late '70s, anyone remember removing 43 Sqd Cockerel and handing it back from the whistling t*t while sitting on the runway... happy days.
Oh yes, 17.5 years, first night at Waddo out of trade training 02.00 QRA start engines right behind my block! I thought my world was ending very early!!

17th Jul 2007, 13:13
Never Zimbabwe!!!

Pontius Navigator
17th Jul 2007, 13:56
Once ran into John Huggins in a Marylebone Road sandwich bar

Ah yes, he of the incredibly short stature. Paired up with Wally George, Wally on the seat looking out, John on the floor working the pedals.:}

I believe he also flew at some incredible height over Darwin on an attack. Considerably higher than the oxygen system could cope with. Then I heard he went crop spraying.

17th Jul 2007, 15:48
My crew dropped a Yellow Sun practice bomb on the range at West Freugh(?)
from a Victor 1A. The score was about 600 yds(this was in the days before metres had been invented), which, has it been the real thing, would have been quite adequate. The lurch upward after release was there but not as dramatic as anticipated. Happy days !

Pontius Navigator
17th Jul 2007, 16:07

Yes, West Freugh indeed. Good score too. Was it a 2H attack, release in the climb?

Can you remember the pop-up distance and climb angle?

BTW, the range control was Stranraer 2501 ext 76. The number of times this little old dear would go "Stranraaaar 2 5 oh too" then when asked "76" would say "Yes" followed by a whole string of callsign, IP time, target number, attack track etc etc. After a pause "This is Stranraer 2 5 oh Two"

Thanks GPO but I lost count how many times I had to say sorry.

green granite
17th Jul 2007, 18:11
mstjbrown wasn't up there but I did the analysis of the drop from the kine films of both the Victor and the Tin Triangle drops of yellow sun mind you twas a long time ago now :(

17th Jul 2007, 20:17
It was a high level drop from about f/l 430. I guess it was in the days before the pop-up attack concept when we still planned to go in at high level. It was in the pre TFR era. A bit Stonehenge really.

Pontius Navigator
17th Jul 2007, 20:26
Ok, however the whole force was low level about 3 years before TFR started to come in.

TFR was not the magic bullet. It had a non-steerable antenna +/- 3.5 deg. Any drift over that meant you could happily TFR into a hill or side of a valley. The H2S was essential as a backup.

At least on war sorties there were not many hills or valleys and the higher speed meant smaller drift angles.

18th Jul 2007, 08:47
I take your point re low level coming in before TFR arrived. I remember it well as I started on Victor 1s when they were just coming into service and we used to nip to to Radlett in the station Anson to collect the new aeroplanes which were never ready. We had to freight down our Mae Wests and chutes which cluttered up the cloth bomber a treat. We had to take the crystals to tee up the VHF to Bomber Command frequencies too.

The early low level sorties were interesting - many a climb-out from the route in deteriorating wx. and the nav rad working like a maniac on the H2S during the low level.

We also did the early in-flight refuelling training - from Valiants. But enough of this for the moment.

Thanks for your response

18th Jul 2007, 09:47
Mick never got to be an old man, sadly. He died of a heart attack (I believe in India) when flying for a freight company in the late '70s.
The Ancient Mariner

Pontius Navigator
18th Jul 2007, 15:22
Very sad about Mick, great bloke as most of them at Waddo were in those days. FV will remember him too although different sqn.

23rd Jul 2007, 08:59
When I arrived on the Goose, 2nd Jan 1971, Squiffy met me and looked after me. I had the room next door!! I remember buying some outragaeous trousers at the Hudson Bay Co. Think you had a Mini. But I know you had the first ever 8 track I saw and a CCR tape that played continually so much so I used to trip your room power switch.
I also got half of the flying schol. gave it back as a previous recipient was also awarded half to do his night rating... not very fair I thought.
Goose was great, I renewed my friendship with my old friend Nora last year electronically, but it went the way of the original. Nice to know she had survived and was OK.
Carnival was superb, the Bulldog was outstanding, skiing, sailing, snowmobiling. I remember Tony Bastable from Magpie coming out. Sqiff, Barry, Reg, Rod, Keith Squiffs eventual replacement Dave. We had a good time.
Tony Davis was OC Ops during my time, David Leith was the Unit OC later went on to Command the Tornado Conversion Unit at Cottesmore I believe. Can't remember the Eng Off but he was a bit of a Richard Cranium!
Got my PPL, joined the Rhodesian Air Force (44 Squadron connections!) spent most of my time in Africa after 2 years in Saudi, lost a few wives along the way but now still deal with MoD on a daily basis.
I remember those days with fondness, what are you up to now Squiffy!!

23rd Jul 2007, 11:49
David Leith was the Unit OC

Remember David Leith, OC Ops Cottesmore immediately after the apocalyptic wg cdr (:) see other thread on Bud Holland).

He wa stold he would have a really hard time as his predecessor used to work 6-days per week and Sundays too. His desk was always burieed under at least 3 stacks of pink files each a foot deep.

Not me said David, Mon-Fri and on Thursdays I will be flying. He was and he did.!

That your man? :)

Brian Abraham
27th Jul 2007, 11:35
The latest issue of Air International has an item on the Vulcan in which the author says “Avro aircraft were built by ‘simple folk for even simpler folk to fly.’” Now before either Beags or PN become apoplectic he was referring to the bicycle chain operated speedbrakes. The question I ask, was this a reputation Avro designed/built aircraft had, and in particular, was the Vulcan regarded as simple when compared to its contemporaries in terms of ease of maintenance, systems and ability to fly/operate? Many thanks.

27th Jul 2007, 11:55
I seem to remember that that doctrine was that of Sir Frederick and not Avro.

HP reckoned to be able to build the Victor with a largely semi-skilled labour force. Allegedly a wing former would have 4 accurate master holes drilled by skilled labour the the hired help would then add the rest.

When BAe prepared new wing mods for the Victor K2 they used one aircraft as a template and produced 21 sets of kit that would fit only one aircraft.

Mind you I understood the Nimrod was no example of identically machined parts either.

The Vulcan had an offset doppler bay. A doppler aerial alignment required knowledge of the aircraft's fore and aft axis which was determined using the compass swing rods and a Watt's Datum Compass. A line normal to the fore-aft axis was then determined by spotting the Watt's datum on this axis, under the aircraft, and swinging the Watt's Datum head through 90 deg.

A point was then measured along the normal at a precise distance of 15 foot 4 and a quarter inches (IIRC) plus or minus a bit. The plus or minus was the known variation from the standard for a particular airframe. Clearly manufacture in those days was more measure with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, cut it with an axe.

When we changed from Green Satin to the solid state DD72M it was a fit and align once and forget.

Any errors in this are due to anno dominii as it was over 40 years ago.

27th Jul 2007, 12:22
The ex boss of the Goose was a Nav, is this the same guy.

Anyone know what happened to Boots Griffiths ex-CO Waddo 1967 certainly until '69, think he was promoted to Air Comm and went to FEAF or NEAF with a Staff job? I am sure that he did the air test on the Lanc (then KM-B) in '67. I remember watching that, no mid-upper turret in the early days that was WIP 5 shed Waddo needing adaption as I believe that it was not an original Lanc turret?
Anyone remember the twin Derwent snow-blo turning over near 5 shed must have been '67.

27th Jul 2007, 13:55

Boots rose to at least Air Marshal and, I believe Commandant of the RAF Regiment. With a nickname of Boots, who says that the Air Sec had no sense of humour.

Flew with Boots several times. He could operate the 4 unsynchronised throttles in one hand.

Pontius Navigator
27th Jul 2007, 15:00
the author says “Avro aircraft were built by ‘simple folk for even simpler folk to fly.’” Now before either Beags or PN become apoplectic he was referring to the bicycle chain operated speedbrakes. The question I ask, was this a reputation Avro designed/built aircraft had, and in particular, was the Vulcan regarded as simple when compared to its contemporaries in terms of ease of maintenance, systems and ability to fly/operate? Many thanks.

Brian, not sure I can really answer your question except to point out that the Vulcan was in many respects a product of its time, ie the 1940s. By the time it came into service many of the groundcrew working on it would have been through the various RAF apprentice training schemes, simple they were not.

Many of the early aircrew were ex-wartime aircrew. Many of the new intake had the requisit 5 O-levels; no grades in those days and no A-levels required for direct entrants.

The aircrew course was quite long with the early NBS course, pre-OCU, lasting a year. Later these were shortened to just 4 months but no significant change in the syllabus!

As for ease of maintenance and ability to operate it was probably designed with that in mind but it had its moments. Dozens of zeus fasteners to be undone every trip to access air charging points when a later mod simply moved the access point the other side of the bulkhead. The doppler aerial door could be opened and shut with the aircraft either fuelled or unfuelled but not opened before fuelling and closed afterwards. There were many little tricks and I am sure the engineers knew many more. No engineer was without his little note book of facts, figures and tips.

28th Jul 2007, 16:44
The first V aircraft I was on was the Mk1 Victor which was, for its time, quite sophisticated with a very elaborate ac electrical system. I think that this aeroplane was in many ways over-engineered. An example of that was the extendable nose flaps which had coefficient of lift detectors that extended the nose flaps automatically in adverse circumstances but which were a nuisance. Eventually Handley Page riveted them to a permanently out position.

The Mk 2 Vulcan was much more robust but by then lessons had been learned from earlier models.

I served at Honington which had Valiants and we claimed that they were built by Vickers using the same materials and staff that they used for submarines, when demand for subs was slack.

Interestingly the Lockheed Neptune which we were using at the beginning of the 50's had immeasurably better electronics equipment than the RAF was using. The later Shackletons didn't really match up to the P2V5 in many respects. I believe that these Neptunes eventually found there to the Argentinian Air Force/Navy and were on the go at the time of the Falklands war but can't state that as definite.

30th Jul 2007, 08:04
Most of the Vulcan was relatively easy to maintain, with two exceptions I had particular interest in maintaining.

Some of the components in the hydraulic panel area aft of the NWB were a nightmare to get at and change. Wirelocking them back was even harder, quite a lot of them claimed my hand and lower arm skin.

The other area that caused me probelms was a fuel coupling which was situated aft of the upper air brakes. We had to take the panels out and I was fed upside down and backwards with the c clamp spanner to tighten them tied round my neck to perevent losing it if I dropped it. Once got into a bit of a panic and it took my fellow workmates nearly 2 hours to extract me from the hole. That's the problem of being young and thin, sadly, not the case now!

Pontius Navigator
30th Jul 2007, 08:09
probelms was a fuel coupling which was situated aft of the upper air brakes. We had to take the panels out and I was fed upside down and backwards with the c clamp spanner to tighten them tied round my neck to perevent losing it if I dropped it. Once got into a bit of a panic and it took my fellow workmates nearly 2 hours to extract me from the hole. That's the problem of being young and thin, sadly, not the case now!

I recall a similar incident in a Victor. The engineer had managed to manouevre his arm into the hole and reach the bit that needed reaching but there was no way he could get his arm out. I believe they had to deskin the wing panel to extricate him. Turned out that HP had never done that job in a sealed wing box.

2nd Aug 2007, 08:04
I had secured the SWO and CO of Machrihanish in the dispersal Ops room shortly before the excersise (fish run really). They were planning what they would do with our buildings when we were gone. Me 19 year old SAC, loyal to 1 Group and cognisant of my responsibilities, so I held them under Chubb lock and key and telephoned Waddo Ops for advice. Mac'nish boss was advised to apologise and f**k off out of it.
So we have a 'Mick', Bootsie flew up in the first kite. CO Mac'nish arrives at the ORP to greet, Bootsie gets out, has a pee up the nose wheel and told the boss to f**k off from HIS ORP, boss did as asked, Bootsie pops into Campbeltown to visit the fishmonger and flew back to Waddo on the support whistling tit.
I and a couple of others shut the dispersal down in Feb '69, back at Waddo Bootsie had me in his office, asked me what I wanted over a cup of tea and told the Education Branch, they had been our Camp Commandants and good friends on dispersal, to get me to the required level and on the next fitters course. That happened, Bootsie if you read this, thanks from the bottom of my heart Sir.:)

2nd Aug 2007, 08:50
If this was the June/July effort, I spent hours guarding an electrical installation at the back of the NAAFI with a pick axe handle! 17 years old LAC I was forgotten until the CO drove past and asked what I was doing sort of mid-afternoon, told me it was over and to go and get some food before reporting back to ME(G)S. I was niave in those days!!:{

2nd Aug 2007, 09:08
I don't know about simple, but a lot of it was done on the cheap and caused we electrickerists a lot of headaches. The refuelling system was a leaky, dzus fastened panel full of Post Office 'K' relays - they were unsealed and we were eventually issued with a diamond tip file to clean up the contacts whenever the sooties had trouble refuelling. I don't know which genius thought up the idea of mounting this panel in the mainwheel well. The same genius who decided to put the engine fire detection "Firetec" boxes in the nosewheel bay I expect. :ugh:

Charging the AAPU oxygen system at the same location as the pressure filler nozzle for the oil system was pretty clever too, though we never had one of those explosions they put in the training films to frighten us - as far as I know. The worst job I ever did was replacing a fuel quantity unit in a number seven tank. It was so tight you had to wriggle all the way in with your arms extended in front of you, and with one cheek pressed permanently to the floor. It took ten minutes to get in and worm my way to the unit but it was more than an hour to get out, face covered in agonising fuel 'burns'. It was no use suffering from claustrophobia if you were a Vulcan electrician.

Changing a jet pipe thermocouple was no fun either, though they eventually replaced the asbestos insulation with glass fibre, working with either was no fun. In general, the Mark 1As were the worst, we were often still working on the previous flight's snags when the crew turned up for the next one.

Day shift wasn't too bad as, unless you were 'ghosting, you got away when the back shift came on duty. Backshift would get all the after flights and work through until daylight, de-snagging yesterdays flying programme and 14 or 15 hour shifts weren't uncommon, especially when a bombing competition was on. Friday night/Saturday morning was the worst, as the Staish always wanted everything left serviceable in case of a Mick. A serviceable Vulcan? Who ever heard of such a thing? You'd always find something jiggered every time you put the ground power on. I often thought it was amazing they ever got off the ground.

...in particular, was the Vulcan regarded as simple when compared to its contemporaries in terms of ease of maintenance, systems and ability to fly/operate? Many thanks.The Vulcan was pretty much a machine of its day and wasn't much different from any of its contemporaries. Cheap and cheerful construction, badly laid out from a maintenance point of view and not very reliable; though it wasn't particularly difficult to maintain, the work was time consuming, dirty and often done in appalling conditions.

One last thing - I'd like to get hold of the chap who designed (and one uses the word loosely) that execrable contraption - the Vulcan towbar. I'd jam his fingers in a bench vice and then beat him slowly to death with the axle pin... :E

2nd Aug 2007, 09:39
I'd like to get hold of the chap who designed (and one uses the word loosely) that execrable contraption - the Vulcan towbar :)

The only tow bar in aviation history where it was easier to leave the tow bar static - and then move the aircraft to fit it. :p

2nd Aug 2007, 09:46
Fully agree with what you say, but no aircraft of that era were very easy to work on, however there was some inter trade fun to be had, I remember the HEIU cables were routed over the top of the engine behind the titanium shielding & they were insulation tested using a Mile HiVolt Tester to 10,000 volts when any insulation breakdown was detected by the meter but also a very loud cracking sound! My fellow electricians soon found out that if you used a particular test sequence (which I am not going to disclose here), the cables would hold a charge (typically left about 1000 volts - no current to worry about). The sooty would come along to connect the cable to the igniter plug & wham. I soon learn't that a sooty's revenge was equally painful or humiliating so rapidly backed off from this trick!
Towards the end, refuelling was done by electricians, I still have my trusty green file & Dzus key in my tool box, funny you didn't mention replacing the frequency changers & Special Weapons checks, but there were so many unpleasant jobs to do that interferred with the Uckers game - happy days:ok:

Pontius Navigator
2nd Aug 2007, 14:51
Backshift would get all the after flights and work through until daylight, de-snagging yesterdays flying programme and 14 or 15 hour shifts weren't uncommon, .... Friday night/Saturday morning was the worst, as the Staish always wanted everything left serviceable in case of a Mick.

The flypro, you will remember, had a number of fixed slots throughout the day. At Cottesmore and Waddo first launch was 0830L but last scheduled flight could be 2000 or later. Naturally the later sorties were flown using whatever ac could be turned round from the morning sortie. Often this meant that the sortie plan could change by the minute as different role-capable ac came and went.

Anyway, at Cottesmore our Sqn Ldr Trg did an analysis of successful sorties and successful crews. Naturally the 0830 slots usually launched and the post-QRA fly off also even if it was a heap of sh1t. Only servicing for the PQRA was a weapons download and minor safety rectification.

While the early slots were OK the 2000 slot was down at about the 10-15% probability. For that slot we always ate the pre-flight first then hit the bar when we stacked :).

Our crew had one of the worst records for getting airborne and my skipper got a bollocking for poor attitude as it had been noticed we would arrive at the ac, remain in the crew bus and wait for the chief to pronounce it u/s. He countered by pointing out that we got the majority of the doomwatch sorties.

Anyway we asked the chiefs, what would you prefer? That we bounce down here and get the beast airborne as a reward for all your hard work during the day or stack as it has a few snags.

STACK then we can get the b:mad:r to bed 6 hours earlier.

We also had an OC Eng, Waddo I think, Matt F******n if I am right, who said aircrew should be available 24 hrs a day to fly the jet as soon as the grundcrew fixed it. B:mad:ks said Boots, I would rather have them all on the ground serviceable.

2nd Aug 2007, 18:41
Hey all, really enjoyed reading this thread - yep, every single page! TOok a fair while! Anyway, just wondering if any of you former pilots or flightcrew can remember Trevor Jackson who flew the Vulcan?

3rd Aug 2007, 01:09
...funny you didn't mention replacing the frequency changers & Special Weapons checksFrequency changers were a breeze to those who had been working on the B1A's Rotary Tranformers! (112VDC to 28.5VDC) They were in the nose wheel bay as well. Doh! The B1A's 112VDC generators, PFCUS, inverters and rotary transformers all used molybdenum disulphide 'PEGG' brushes to handle the conditions of high altitude and we had to do brush length checks in-situ every Primary. :ugh:

We never mention Special Weapons checks. :=

4th Aug 2007, 17:41
Pontius N.

1. The YS I referred to was actually dropped on the Jurby range in Oct. 61

2. The first LL sortie we flew in a Victor1A was in May 63.

3. First in- flight refuelling trip was in Aug 62 receiving from a Valiant.

4. You spoke in an earlier thread of the comfort of the leather upholstered Shackleton beam window seat - but didn't mention the built-in ashtray in the armrest - and the way the flight engineer drifted down the fuselage just after take-off sniffing steadily before clearing the crew to smoke. Autre temps autre moeurs !

5th Aug 2007, 08:38
Blacksheep, yes you maybe right about ease of the changing of the frequecy convertors, but the idiots who numbered them, made it so to get to no 1 you had to remove no 2. I can't remember how many times, when on a crew in snag, I switch the frequency changer switch from 1 selected to 2 selected and then again explained to the crew the reason for this.

5th Aug 2007, 09:07
But you are talking about navigators, after all..........:hmm:

5th Aug 2007, 09:33
Yes your correct Beags, Just remembered something else, before I was posted to the sqd. ( 617 ) I worked in MEAS Scampton, and an aircraft was just finishing a check, got told the window boxes where fitted, so dispensed an airman to fit selector boxes. Then when fitted went out with him to functionally check them. ( probraly trouble 4 ) remember that one Beags. Sent airman to right wing complete with dust bin. and selected two on the selector, pressed switch, did you get that I asked, no came the reply, selected five, and pressed, again no came the reply, selected ten and pressed, half way through the dispensing a head appears through the door and asks " do you know you are dropping window out off the left wing onto the hanger floor. oops. right and left selector boxes where next to each other and could easily be cross conected, and being summer both sets of hanger doors where open. Took months to find all the chaff

7th Aug 2007, 05:20
I did a similar trick out on the line, doing combat preps during a 'Mick'. A brand new OC Eng was wandering about outside as we were about to do a special weapon load and he'd never seen it done before. Attracted by a buzzing noise from just behind the stbd gear he went to take a look. My catcher behind the port leg reported a blank drop. There was a cough from the other side. One Wing Commander covered from head to toe in fairy dust. Merry Xmas Sir!

7th Aug 2007, 07:29
Nice shot though blacksheep, and as of shapes, what I could not understand, was that I was never allowed on the aircraft alone when a shape was fitted ( Nuke Trained ), I had to go with another who was familiar with the system. Being as it took two to drop the weapon, it never did make sense. It was only a shape after all. :confused:

7th Aug 2007, 07:42
It may have only been a 'shape' but both were treated as 'live' systems,including having a 'No Lone Zone' so hopefully, having practiced everything with a 'shape' (both aircrew and groundcrew) nothing should go wrong when working with a real weapon.

7th Aug 2007, 08:13
ZH875, you did not quite get the point. The chances are if I was going out to the a/c, it was to check something before I signed it off. Only needs me. I then had to wait up to half an hour to do a 2 min. job.
In the mean time the a/c is still not ready for service. If it was to do with the sw system then I would not be by myself and could get on with it straight away, Shapes fitted on excercise, excercise = all running round like headless chickens, normally because the people you need have not yet arrived, and you have 8 or 9 from admin who have never been to the dispersal before and are wandering around lost. hence the half hour wait while the aircrew are at their briefing and can then spare somebody to hold your hand, or at the rugby club....don't forget your IFF code book when you leave, but thats another story

7th Aug 2007, 09:12
We had to go out to the live aircraft on QRA two by two as well. I thought it strange.

Post taxi checks after a zero-two and I was with another chap in the bomb bay changing an upper anti-collision beacon. I was up the front of the bay, "Old Yeller" just behind my bum, doing the job; Nez was holding the torch and minding the tools. The snoop woke up from slumber in his Tardis to find the bomb bay hatch open and voices coming from inside so he climbed up through the hatch, pistol drawn. Nez hit him smack in the middle of the white hat with a hammer. Off to Ely with a fractured skull. Live weapons make people nervous.

7th Aug 2007, 09:41
Nice one Blacksheep, should not have been asleep on duty. Didn't do Q when I was on Vulcans, Just sealed two aircraft at the end of the late shift. Just in case. Mind you why did they always pull the exercise when you have just finished sealing, signing, and filled in the handover book. :confused:

7th Aug 2007, 10:29
The only tow bar in aviation history where it was easier to leave the tow bar static - and then move the aircraft to fit it.

Oh yes - I remember one cold foggy/snowy morning on Charlie Diespersal at an airfield north of Lincoln where the Cpl MT driver got impatient when we were wrestling with one. Without prompting, and despite our screams, he decided to align the holes for one of the towing pins using his fingers. Well suffice to say he would never pick his nose with that hand again.

7th Aug 2007, 15:11
As I sit here typing remembering June '67 and fitting the brushes to a runway sweeper at Waddo workshops with a Vulcan tow bar pin, the 3rd finger of my right hand is still flat after trapping it between pin and the frame of the sweeper, God those tow bars were big b*****ds!

8th Aug 2007, 10:59
………… in the bomb bay changing an upper anti-collision beacon.

Must’ve been after my time. Something very Monty Python about this. Let’s see. Quick Reaction Alert, fully armed nuclear bomber, low level camouflaged, Electronic Counter Measures equipped. Take it off-line (one bomber down) because the red flashing thingy on top, so people can see it, isn’t working. :p

And ‘Nez’ with the hammer must have been Jim Nesbitt.

21st Aug 2007, 10:33
Some detailed photographs here of XM-573 at the SAC Museum, Omaha, Ne.

Wadpol won't bring this one back to pristine :uhoh:


Goer Round
21st Aug 2007, 12:20
I'm not really sure why we give away our heritage to other countries who have no particular ties to the item and let it rot away.

The same holds good for 2 Gresley A4s (Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada) which are dressed in non-authentic liveries and unkempt and uncared for in the US and Canada. At least with heavy metal steam locomotives they can be brought back to running order relatively cheaply.


22nd Aug 2007, 02:16
Something very Monty Python about this..."Exercise Edom! Exercise Edom! Alert Crews to Readiness Zero-Two!" and off they'd go, taxying down to the runway threshold with all nav lights on, anti-colls flashing and landing lights ablaze. I'm surprised we didn't fit them with extra loud 'Baa-Boo' sirens as well. The whole RAF seemed like Monty Python's Flying Circus most of the time. Those public relations scrambles were the biggest Monty Python joke. Freshly painted bombers lined up on parade on the ORP, with the ground crew dressed in white overalls and polished boots. What a load of bullshit!

On one VIP "Scramble" (I think it was when the Queen Mum presented 44 (Rhodesia) with a new Standard ) 44(R) still had B1As and I was still trying to pull out the port side Simstart cables when he started rolling. We called it "wheel dancing" because you stood on the wheels to reach the plugs. It got too dodgy so I baled out with one cable still in place. The aircraft towed the Simstart Trolley out onto the runway until the cable eventually gave way and off he went down the runway with the trolley heading for the Sleaford road. Fortunately he was the last to roll, but I trust the VIPs, Gentlemen of The Press and invited guests were suitably impressed.

22nd Aug 2007, 04:21
So, you compromised the safety of an aircraft and crew during a QRA scramble, eh? Bet that went down well in the Cold War - was there an inquiry to work out what had happened?

Most of the groundcrew on 35 Sqn in 1977 would have died of shock if they'd been told to wear white overalls and polished boots!

Pontius Navigator
22nd Aug 2007, 07:20

"Exercise Edom! Exercise Edom! Alert Crews to Readiness Zero-Two!" and off they'd go, taxying down to the runway threshold with all nav lights on, anti-colls flashing and landing lights ablaze. I'm surprised we didn't fit them with extra loud 'Baa-Boo' sirens as well. The whole RAF seemed like Monty Python's Flying Circus most of the time. Those public relations scrambles were the biggest Monty Python joke. Freshly painted bombers lined up on parade on the ORP, with the ground crew dressed in white overalls and polished boots. What a load of bullshit!

An element of truth here except we never heard "Exercise Edom! Exercise Edom! Alert Crews to Readiness Zero-Two!" The box would squawk and we were up. Then "Attention atten t i o n .........." and we had gone. The Tower used to fire different coloured vereys at us to signify the required state which could have changed even as we drove down. Good shot one day and the 35 sqn wagon collected a RED under the car. Thereafter they were told to fire away from the cars!

On one VIP "Scramble" and there were many, they always got airborne but not in the way Mr Avro intended. A proper scramble would advance from cockpit readiness power on to engines start and scramble. A VIP Mass Rapid would advance from cockpit readiness power off to scramble with engines running up as we moved but no instruments as the power had not been on. More than one aircraft got airborne on less than 4 engines. Remember one scramble at Finningly were a Mark 1a got airborne on 2 with the 3rd thrusting as he cleared the airfield.


Most of the groundcrew on 35 Sqn in 1977 would have died of shock if they'd been told to wear white overalls and polished boots!

You are showing your youth.

Do you remember AVM Parks in the BoB Film? White flying suit? Ground crew wore whites like that We had 4 flying suits. Two were heavish summer flying suits in light blue (Mk 2s). One was Temeperate climate thin slate grey (Mk 4) and similar cloth to the later Winter Flying Suits (Mk 3). And we also had a 'proper' winter flying suit. This abomination was issued as a pair of over trousers with detachable braces and a long belted parka with a cheap wollen liner. The parka was loosely stitched to the trousers so that we could separate them and do some creative tailoring during EinE. Everyone separated them and wore the parka as a rain proof - scruffy wasn't the word.

Anyway our staish, Mr Pastry, decreed that one Mk 2 flying suit was to be properly badged and used for day to day flying so we were smartly turned out in case visitors saw us. The second was to be kept for 'best' when VIPs visited. The very smart slate-grey was to be kept for VVIPs.

To a man everyone removed badges from two flying suits and claimed to be acting in accordance with the Geneva Convention (1949). We won. Mr P then arranged for flying clothing to fasten the badges on in such a way that we could rip them off. B*****ks. Loose article hazard etc etc, We won.

I think white suited groundcrew eventually faded away in the late 60s.

22nd Aug 2007, 07:29
Was on the finger pans at Scampton in around 75 with Hamish off 617 and a wanabee crew chief. We had snatch cables for everything by then, though not for the "extra" crewchief. The new boy had also got p1ssed off with his headset coming disconnected from the long lead so had clipped his headset to the lead with a couple of split rings := and he also securely fastened his throat mic :ugh:. Come the scramble for survival and Hamish and the new boy are on finger 4. Hamish signals me and the other liney to pull the chocks and dive behind the plinth. A short time later Hamish and his apprentice wave the crew off and head for the plinth to miss the jetwash. Shortly after that the new boy is dragged by the neck towards the runway at ever increasing speed. Fortunately he was a portly lad (he had earned the nickname TG (Tame Gorilla)) and the long lead snapped before his neck did. We hardly larffed at all :}

22nd Aug 2007, 08:09
So, you compromised the safety of an aircraft and crew during a QRA scramble, eh?We had standing instructions to bale out it if the leads were stuck. In the real thing one would of course, chance it for Queen and Country, but not for an exercise - or even worse, a 'Royal Command Performance'. It was often the case that we would be walking on the wheels of a slowly moving B1A but when you had to start running it was time to leg it. From my point of view the crew compromised the safety of a poor, hard-working Junior Magician by rushing off while he was still pulling the plugs.

I wonder what H & S would make of it these days. :uhoh:

except we never heard "Exercise Edom! Exercise Edom! Alert Crews to Readiness Zero-Two!" Nor did we when we were doing our month on Alpha dispersal, but there was a lighted status board about half way between the QRA caravans and the dispersal so we could check what we were in for as we ran out to the aircraft.

The tannoy message would echo all around the station in the NAAFI, messes and other places. It was because QRA ground crew were permitted to leave Alpha three at a time to go to the Airmen's Mess for meals or the NAAFI shop for soap or toothpaste. A nice pint of 'soap' would often go down a treat if we'd just had an alert and weren't expecting another one very soon.

I think white suited groundcrew eventually faded away in the late 60s.Old groundcrew never die, we slowly fade away. :(

Green Meat
22nd Aug 2007, 16:32
I was watching the old "Hole in the Ground" film (for reasons we won't go into, but suffice to say it wasn't prompted by the resurgent North Sea Bear population :ok:) where after a limited strike, the Observer Corps are plotting fallout drift. The 'phone rings, apparently it's the RAF wanting to know which airfields are safe to use. Now to the question. This is presumably post V-Force strike as we've already seen the white beast rocketing skywards. Was the Vulcan (in particular) NBC proof in the modern sense and, if so, could it be turned around for a second go under fallout conditions or not?

I know I'm going to get a finger-wagging for asking such "special" questions, so ducking now! Don't need detail, just satisfying the old grey cells (or should that be Green cells?)

Pontius Navigator
22nd Aug 2007, 18:04
This is presumably post V-Force strike as we've already seen the white beast rocketing skywards. Was the Vulcan (in particular) NBC proof in the modern sense and, if so, could it be turned around for a second go under fallout conditions or not?

White beast suggests the pre-low level days.

Under the Bomber Command War SOP 1st edn crews were instructed to contact the nearest British Embassy and Air Attache or Bomber Command on HF and seek instructions.

I believe there would have been sufficient Red Beard and possibly even Yellow Sun that had missed the first raid to a second strike. Given the assumption that the Soviet Union had insufficient weapons such that a 2nd strike was possible it is also possible that fallout would have been sufficiently low that crews could have survived long enough for a 2nd mission.

Once the force was forced to go low level I believe the Soviet capability had reached the point that a second strike was most unlikely to be mountable. The advice to call home was removed from the 2nd Edn.

Was the aircraft NBC proof? Possibly. It would fly with cabin airs off and crew on 100% oxygen. After flight of course there was no NBC clothing, respirators or anything until the early 70s, a gap of some 10 years.
Lots of what ifs and most highly dubious.

23rd Aug 2007, 02:33
That time we ran out to the QRA aircraft and there was no status on the board - a real scramble! :uhoh: - once the aircraft had trundled off to the runway it dawned on us that we had no standing orders for what to do next.

The only thing to do was stand out in the open and wait to be vapourised...

Fortunately it was a Bomber Controller cock-up. I suppose a Vulcan could land on a glass runway, but who would have been around to do the reload?

Pontius Navigator
23rd Aug 2007, 07:43
Blacksheep, in your time any thoughts of a 2nd strike had vapourised.

The plan was to move families into the empty bunkers across the road and for the airmen to shelter in the basements of the barrack block.

One exercise, the off-duty ops officer was floating in the open air swimming pool. He was a 'real' flying officer with about 10 years seniority as OC Ops would never write him up as fit. Anyway we are now at fallout black.

Along comes a plod in landrover and hairy blue - "Oy, its fallout black get in a shelter."

"I know cpl, that is why I am in the swimming pool washing off the fallout. Now either get it the water or trot off to a shelter somewhere."

23rd Aug 2007, 20:50
Quote Pontius Navigator; Was the aircraft NBC proof? Possibly. It would fly with cabin airs off and crew on 100% oxygen. After flight of course there was no NBC clothing, respirators or anything until the early 70s, a gap of some 10 years.
Lots of what ifs and most highly dubious.

What about Op Aroma. Were these airframes specialy prepared?

24th Aug 2007, 01:34
The plan was to move families into the empty bunkers across the road and for the airmen to shelter in the basements of the barrack block.
Basements in the barrack blocks? There's that Monty Python again! :}

(An emoticon for laughing until you cry would be useful here.)
As most of us realised, not many seconds after the last V-Bomber departed - perhaps even before any of the bombers managed to get away - a nuclear device would explode within a few hundred yards of directly above our heads. Not that any of us would know anything about it...

The youngsters here should realise that in the fifties and sixties we truly believed that this was going to happen. Nuclear Holocaust was inevitable. The war may have "Cold" but it was war real enough - one reason why after the Cuban Crisis we mad twenty-somethings lived like there would be no tomorrow.

Thank God that Joan Baez and Bob Dylan won it for us. :rolleyes:

Barksdale Boy
28th Aug 2007, 06:53
Trevor Jackson was VW's co on 101sqn. As a footnote to Waddo history, he started up the Gas Tomato disco in the mess on Saturday evenings -- aaah, memories of Bende in the gilded cage with G** G****** RIP.

sled dog
28th Aug 2007, 08:29
The Airmans Blocks at Duxford did have basements. One of the 64 Sqdn blocks basement was converted into a coffee bar ( or other uses :p ) unknown to the C.O until an inspection, when the question was asked " what is down there ? ". I believe its continued use was approved under the guise of " initiative ".

henry crun
28th Aug 2007, 10:22
An underground bar at Duxford ? no one mentioned that to me when I was briefly on 64. :{

Pontius Navigator
31st Aug 2007, 20:46
Nice compilation and good for the anoraks <g>. The pilot cockpit shots are in the sim.

31st Aug 2007, 21:12
BS If you were a twenty something after the cuban crisis then pehaps we should both be drawing our old age pensions - I lived like there was no tomorrow as it was the sort of done thing in the 60s.

6th Sep 2007, 19:17
Sounds like some good stories fella's :)

Just another post wondering whether any of you had contact with Trevor Jackson (101 sqdn), who as someone mentioned, started this Gas Tomato disco at Waddo... anyone have contact with him at some point?

6th Sep 2007, 23:44
Certainly Waddo's Lincoln block NBC shelter was full of motorbikes that were being worked on. Not much use for anything else, and far more preferable to working on them outside.

7th Sep 2007, 18:09
Can anyone help me? I would like to borrow or buy a Vulcan CG slide rule for a talk I am giving in LA to the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. Replies to [email protected]

Tim McLelland
8th Sep 2007, 10:18
Just an update for anyone that's interested (and no it's not an advert as I'm not on commission!), my Vulcan book is now with the printer so it should be out by Christmas.

Anyways, thanks to all the folks that helped with the book - much appreciated:)

13th Dec 2007, 13:51
:confused:In 1975 ,the time of the Vulcan accident, 203 had been flying Nimrods for several years, I know, I was there in the first Nimrod to arrive for 203 on October 4th 1971

13th Dec 2007, 14:31
I was thinking of selling one of my Vulcan sliderules on ebay. Along with my NEAF goolie chit and silk escape and evasion scarf. What momentoes of great days!

13th Dec 2007, 14:33
Hi WAGMANBOB, I was on 203 Sqd Nimrods between 74 & 77. I remember the Shackletons when they used to visit Luqa, in particular one misty morning when on SAR cover one started up the other side of 203 pan it was a lovely sound.

14th Dec 2007, 11:36
Myself and a canadian Sqdn.Ldr. completed the 230 OCU course at Waddington on Vulcans specifically to carry out the tests on the automatic landing capability, at RAE Bedford.( Blind Landing Unit)
It was realised that in the event of a nucleur attack upon the UK it would be necessary to disperse the Vulcan squadrons around the country regardless of any weather conditions.
The equipment, which included,autopilot and auto throttle, worked really well and I would say the Vulcan was the most impressive of the aircraft it was used on.

Imagine my surprise, when,some years later, on a visit to a Greenham Common display day. My Son in Law managed to get me into a 50 Sqdn Vulcan, whilst looking around the cockpit and reminding myself of the blind landing controls, my host, a young Flt Lt Pilot said " You seem to know what those controls are" I explained and he said " We have often wondered, but certainly never used them".When I think how much the system would have been appreciated by the crews.Furthermore had it been available to XA 897 the London Airport crash could have been avoided.

14th Dec 2007, 13:42
I don't think you are quite right. I was taught to use the Vulcan autoland system by Joe L'Estrange while going through the OCU in 1977. And XA897 crashed at Heathrow in October 1956 because no-one knew then that you had to add a pressure error correction factor to all Vulcan instrument approaches.

14th Dec 2007, 13:53
That's interesting, Flatiron, there are several different explanations of the Vulcan Heathrow tragedy in "The Vulcan Story" by Tim Laming, that I am reading at the moment.
The most plausible to me (an ex PAR technician) is that there was divergent osillation due to the time lag between the GCA controller and the pilot. The controller had not handled a fast jet before and the Vulcan pilot had not used civilian GCA before. According to Peter Rivers, who wrote the chapter, "the delay in the pilot's response to the controller's instructions, and the delay in the controller following the radar plot, led to the flight path swinging further and further above and below the correct one, until the final low point caused the u/c to hit the ground, pushing it through the wing's flying controls."

14th Dec 2007, 14:09
Thanks AvroLincoln. According to the BoI report, about 7sec before the Vulcan hit the ground,the GCA controller told Podge Howard that he was 80ft above the glidepath. Even after XA 897 struck the ground, the talkdown continued as if the approach had been normal. The BoI concluded that 'the failure to warn the captain that he was going below the glidepath was the principal cause of the accident.' A subsequent Boscombe study of Vulcan altimerer errors revealed that the large delta wing area, plus friction with the altimeter, amounted to a total possible error of 200ft. As Heathrow 10 Left was 80ft above sea leave, even with 300ft indicated on his altimeter Podge Howard was already among the weeds.