View Full Version : Bomber crew

23rd Nov 2004, 10:59
Not sure whether this belongs here or on the Nostalgia forum but "Bomber Crew" starts next Monday on Channel 4 at 2100. It was part filmed at Duxford this Summer and follows the format of "Fighter Aces" which was also on C4. As the guys were PPLs it will be interesting to see what they made of the RCAF Lancaster.

23rd Nov 2004, 14:59
See further here (http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/B/bombercrew/).

24th Nov 2004, 10:45
Sounds remarkably like the series two years ago where they put a contempory crew together to fly a Lancaster simulator on a "dambusters" raid...

... are they going to use the same simulator... with the software bugs fixed!??

24th Nov 2004, 14:51
Presumably (?) they will be getting experience in either PA474 or FM213 (C-GVRA).

24th Nov 2004, 17:49
IIRC they have used B-17G Sally-B, filming was carried out at the end of this summer.

Evening Star
30th Nov 2004, 07:14
Rather enjoyable, and will most certainly watch the remaining programmes in the series. One big gripe is why do we have to tolerate same stock film, along with a reminder of the objectives, every few minutes? Pointless padding.

Interesting that the airline pilot had a few difficulties at first with the Harvard. Credit to him that he used an overnight to analyse his flying.


- Interviews with the former aircrew.
- Aerial shots of the Lancaster.
- Obvious pride candidates had in their grandfather's and the way their heart is in what they are doing.


- Every few minutes being told one of the three will go on to fly the Lancaster.
- Some dumbing down of history.

30th Nov 2004, 08:23
Why is the longish grey haired type so very pleased with himself?

He seems to get off when there's youngsters around him, giving them the "I'm a flying god" routine.

Who is he?

30th Nov 2004, 09:17
That is THE sky God, Brendan O Brien of much aerobatic type stuff fame. Toatally agree- always comes across (ooh er missus) as a complete know all, as do all the other self important know alls who present aircraft related programmes- Alain de smarmy Cadenet, John I'm a war hero Nicholl, Julian I should stick to sport Tutt and his amazing choppers, Paul dreary but "nice" Beaver, and any other dim witt they use who just because they fly/have flown or work with aeroplanes in some shape or form makes them think they know a lot!

Genghis the Engineer
30th Nov 2004, 10:03
Come back Raymond Baxter, all is forgiven.

Remember them bringing him in for the Concorde last landing at LHR - and the BBC presenter who showed the enormous sense to belt up and just let him talk uninterrupted.


30th Nov 2004, 12:09
And where did the bloke with the grey hair (I refuse to use the term BoB as it would be an insult to The Few) get that completely sheeeeite leather flying jacket?

Biggles Flies Undone
30th Nov 2004, 13:54
Is The Sky God an oxygen thief or what? I remembered my checklist perfectly and hit mute on the remote every time he kicked off :mad:

Raymond Baxter is the tops. He came to a GatBash several years ago and appeared very frail - but when he stepped up to talk you could have heard a pin drop. Wonderful raconteur - and I've even forgiven him for his motor racing commentry on a Formula Ford race many years ago when he insisted on calling a Crossle (kros-lay) a crossul ;)

30th Nov 2004, 14:44
Hear hear for Mr B - consumate professional and bladdy nice bloke!
Even my Dad forgave him for knocking my sister over in his (IIRC) MG whilst leaving Farnboro' 68!

3rd Dec 2004, 21:04
Yeah, if you hang around any flying clubs in the UK you always find the smug, i got loads o money types. I flown this n that.
Dont worry there are some of us working class scrubbers who scrimped n scraped to fly and we aren't always dismissed by evryone. The average flying instructor aint no millionaire so you can mostly have a coversation with em.

For real ordinary Joe flying , go to the states. there you will find proper friendly chaps with no smugness. And they don't wear cheesy flying jackets cos that would use up the money for the flying !!

Land at an airfield there and the first thing they do is point you to a refreshment area or help park up your aircraft and offer to refuel it.

Here , it's directions to pay the landing fee.

Bomber crew is great, lots of aviation emotion, and it shows that some flyers love flying more than themselves.

Anything that helps to educate people on the sacrifices made by many, whatever their nationality, gets my vote evrytime.

3rd Dec 2004, 22:11
Always strikes me as funny how people knock Brendan O'Brien and his TV appearances. Yes he wore a bizarre jacket and yes he does ooze, but after watching the show again I think it's fair to say that he didn't utter one innacuracy or do anything wrong and considering he can actually fly pretty much everything from a teacup to a 747, seems a shame really to slag him off so much. Equally taking a pop at John Nicholl seems a bit unfair. He did serve on the front line and was a guest in the Baghdad Hilton, so I think he has a right to appear in aviation related programming. Used to be that eccentricity and enthusiasm were applauded in this country, now it seems that all they do is annoy the Monday morning experts!

Eric Mc
4th Dec 2004, 14:35
Another vote here for Brendan O' Brien.

OK, he looks a bit like Peter Stringfellow's long lost brother but he does know his flying. He's entertained me a number of times at airshows - remember the Fournier Unipart Duo or the Piper Cub landing atop a moving artic?

He also used to co-present a flying show on Discovery (sadly no longer shown on the "normal" Discovery Channel) which was very good.

Evening Star
7th Dec 2004, 06:55
It is getting better. It is almost as though they edited the episode for last night after reading the comments here!

As for Raymond Baxter, he made 'Tomorrows World' the classiest science programme ever!

Census boy
7th Dec 2004, 09:39
Never been very impressed with Mr O'Brien when I read an article in which he killed a glider pilot in a mid air collision between his light aircraft and glider. Think if I'd done that I would want to keep a low profile rather than pretend to be an expert bomber pilot/bomb aimer etc. John Romain seems to be a nice guy. Presumably the Lancaster the "winner" gets to fly is the Canadian one.

7th Dec 2004, 11:29
Well if the wartime trainees learnt to be a Captain of a bomber in the right-hand seat of a Beech18, then when was it intended for them to get into the left?

I have a sneaking suspicion the same will apply in the B17 & Lanc.

7th Dec 2004, 11:42
One of the best thing about the program has to be the interviews with the old flyers. It amazes me the reserve and understated ness of these men. What summed it up for me was one them described his time over Berlin simply as being “a bit hairy” !

Eric Mc
7th Dec 2004, 13:28
The Lancaster and Halifax were single pilot aircraft (although the pilot did sit on the left).

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster has been modified to allow a co-pilot. I'm not sure of the situation with the Canadian Lanc.

And yes, it is the Canadian Lanc which will be used (it's the one they keep showing in the flying Lanacaster footage).

7th Dec 2004, 14:47
Census boy,

Never been very impressed with Mr O'Brien when I read an article in which he killed a glider pilot in a mid air collision between his light aircraft and glider. Think if I'd done that I would want to keep a low profile rather than pretend to be an expert bomber pilot/bomb aimer etc.

I'm sure Mr O'Brien didnt actually intend to kill another pilot; accidents happen, and don't you think thats quite a big event to have as one of your flying memories?

Despite his Capt Flashheart antics, I'd rather have B O'B as a co-pilot than any of the Pprune 'experts' - He DOES actually know a thing or two about flying.....No woolly pullies and 5 bar gold epaulettes, just excellent handling skills....


PPRuNe Radar
7th Dec 2004, 15:49
I did find it worrying on the Navex that a 'pilot' couldn't get within 40 degrees of the heading assigned by his navigator. For Gawd's sake don't let him within 100NM of the London TMA on his own ;)

7th Dec 2004, 16:01
The Lancaster's that were to go to the Pacific near the end of the war, were modified to replace the F/E with a second pilots position and the mid upper gunners position was removed to save weight. The war finished before they were sent .

Eric Mc
7th Dec 2004, 17:21
Didn't know that.

Were Lincolns twin pilot then?

7th Dec 2004, 18:58
Excellent programme -even my 70 y.o. parents are enjoying it!!

IMNVHO, it's better than the 'Flying Aces' series, which got right up my nose....


Krystal n chips
7th Dec 2004, 19:30
Best piece of programme scheduling ever-----albeit by accident---on one Channel-----"I'm a self centric tosser"---on C4--this excellent programme with real people---the guys who flew the missions and their anecdotes-----the contrast couldn't be starker-----as the 40 degs of course bit though :confused: bit alarming to say the least !!

7th Dec 2004, 19:45
No, sorry - O'Brien still comes over as a complete wanqueurre.

Perhaps he should be renemed 'Zero Brain'?

7th Dec 2004, 21:10
Census Boy,

Is there any reason you hold the incident that BoB was involved in against him, or do you think the same of every pilot that has had the misfortune to be involved in a mid-air ?

I bet thoughts of that incident are with him daily.

Census boy
8th Dec 2004, 09:35

Well I did lose my ex syndicate partner and the glider in a mid air collision earlier this year..... Did not like the matter of fact attitude this was in the article about BOB. He is always portrayed as being so wonderful but if I'd killed a fellow pilot albeit accidently I do not think I would want to be shown on tv as a "bomber ace/bomb aimer" holier than holy pilot etc.

I'm a glider pilot with all three diamonds and I have a PPL by the way....

8th Dec 2004, 10:53
I have known O'Brien for more years than I care to remember and I cannot in all truth say that I have an ounce of admiration for him. His attitude in this programme epitomizes his arrogance. What does he know about bomb aiming? Why did they not let him take the sight out of its box - perhaps because it is a valuable instrument that requires EXPERT handling.

He is spoiling the prog by being there. Thankfully by the professionalism of John Romain and the sheer exuberance of the 'trainees,' it is a very entertaining programme.

Eric Mc
8th Dec 2004, 12:08
I think some of you are being a bit hard on Mr O'Brien. I'm sure he was selected becuase he already has experience in presenting aviation related TV programmes. John Romain hasn't this previous experience - although his knowledge and intelligence comes through well in this programme and I'd like to think that C4 (or anybody else) would be inclined to use him again.

So far, I think this is the best prgramme currently on TV.

9th Dec 2004, 19:06
Well, whatever I, or anyone else thinks of Brendan o Brian, the program is excellent and compulsive viewing. I won't let his presenting skills or demeanour spoil it for me.
I'm sure that he is a far more experienced and skilled aviator than I, but we are all entitled to our opinions and views about people.

PPRuNe Pop
9th Dec 2004, 20:43
Absolutely right of course.

11th Dec 2004, 17:59
It is not just flying that has people full of their own importance! Having been in Telecommunications for 25 years, I have met my fair share of "I did that ten years ago" and "I was paid twice that, when I was doing that job." and so forth.

As to an earlier comment in this thread:One big gripe is why do we have to tolerate same stock film, along with a reminder of the objectives, every few minutes? Pointless padding. It is NOT pointless, it saves the producer a great deal of money. :hmm:

"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Bert Stiles
13th Dec 2004, 22:48
I know I'm a bit deaf, but did the portentous commentary - by Steven Mackintosh - (who he ?), really intone that a fully loaded B17 could weigh sixty tons ?.

Someone should have caught that shouldn't they ?

You could shoot the programme so full of holes it would resemble that poor B17 that gets surgically ripped apart time and time again, but never mind, I guess it's paid for another airborne season for G-BEDF.

The choice between the two pilot candidates is such a put up job. Well - one's pretty and the other isn't - so that's decided that. Good acting by James though, he looked convincingly miffed when being chopped by Brendan (in very restrained form). BTW, how many had he had when he dragged the Emil on two sticks across the range ?. That was very funny.

A medal for PB though, who sounds genuinely exasperated as the old thing has another hiccup. Was that real ?

All in all - a pleasure to see air to air of Sally B, all of the stock footage - for the x th time, and as previously remarked, the simple statements of survivors.

Say again s l o w l y
14th Dec 2004, 02:29
The Sally B chap's didn't do the most intelligent thing, which is to get paid up front, unfortunately it seems RDF didn't pay up immediately. Not sure if they have at all yet........

I thought they said 16 tons rather than 60. That would be ridiculous. I seem to remember that it weighed around 16-17 tons empty and just over 32 tons when fully loaded. So where they got 16 or 60 from I have no idea!

Evening Star
14th Dec 2004, 07:21
I also heard 60 tons, which did rather raise my eyebrows in surprise. It is silly things like that that detract from what is otherwise a very enjoyable programme. Agree with BS that the choice of pilot appeared a painfully put up job. Accounts by Allied and German survivors very poignant. One senses old men reflecting on how as young men they were caught up in something bigger than them, did their best and now with bitterness gone they proudly remember, albeit tinged with a sadness for those lost.

it saves the producer a great deal of money

Money saved which ...

it seems RDF didn't pay up immediately

... it appears they are keen to hang onto for as long as possible. Not clever. Having had some of my consultancy invoices go to extra time and a bit, I have views about unpaid bills!

Tiger_ Moth
14th Dec 2004, 12:43
The guy definetely said 60 tonnes.

22nd Dec 2004, 07:23
Was I the only one to think that stitching on the wings/brevets was far too tacky, and cheapened the entire concept?

22nd Dec 2004, 07:48
Come on folks, step back a little and stop your bitching! The programme was, as you say, "full of holes". Yes they used stock footage and the commentary could have been better, but you are in the know. People like my 12 year old son didn't pick any of that up, but he did learn a lot from the series. WWII is of little interest to him as much I suppose as the Boer war was to me as a child, but he related to what he saw in this programme and as a consequence his respect has grown for the generation that served. If he and others like him had heard the expert critique voiced in this thread prior to watching, he would probably not bothered with the programme.

Joe public are not purists, Channel Four aired a commercially viable product that drew a significant audience for that time slot and hopefully, as it did for my son, educated a few people to what has gone before.

Here endeth my pontification. :)

Ace Rimmer
22nd Dec 2004, 08:40
So I watched the series...well 3 out of the 4. As well as the Fighter Pilot forerunner

Both were worth watching for the anectdotes of the heros from both sides.

I too thought the wearing of flying badges a bit errr ummmm but then they also had rank badges (albeit US ones) on their flying suits too.

But please please please production people... get rid of the BO'B fella, I've seen his efforts here and in other programmes and it has to be said he does come across as bit of a self abuser.

Now if you want an aviation journalist that flies I'd be happy to do to oblige
:E :E :E

Seriously they should have used a colleague who as an ex-Crab nav spent some time on the BBMF on the Lanc so would probably know quite a bit more about the subject than the average.

Still nobody will ever be as good as RB... that great quality of presenting style (either on TW or airshow coverage) enthusiaum without hysteria...brilliant

PPRuNe Pop
22nd Dec 2004, 11:05
All in all I thought it was a good programme. The old crew were a delight to watch and listen to. The participants were all worthy. The 'Chief Instructor' had nothing going for him at all, nothing. I would have liked channel 4 to have gone for Paul Day of the BBMF to present the prog - if he fancied it of course - he would have given the programme great credibility. On balance a really good effort.

22nd Dec 2004, 15:58
All I can say is, if you want to slag off B O'B, then you've never met him.

27th Dec 2004, 08:03
The one thing that amazed me was the near perfect image the young pilot was when compared with his grandfathers picture.