View Full Version : Ring any bells with anyone?

Footless Halls
7th Oct 2006, 10:14
Clearing out my bedside table (of all things) this morning, I found my old ATC Record of Service, RAF Form 3822 (Revised 1969). It's got my original 'Glider Flying Log', including the flights during which the ATC was kind enough to send me solo.
I can I guess track down the aircraft I flew, if I want to, but I was wondering whether anyone else has any memories of them or of the poor Instructors who had to teach me the rudiments of flight:
My first ever glider flights were in Slingsby T21 WB939 at Linton-on-Ouse. The P1 name I recorded as 'Brown' and I recall him as being relatively young. This was in April 1974 at which point I had attained the grand old age of 15.
I was sent on my week's course, to be trained to fly my three solo circuits, in August 1974 at Spitalgate. There I was trained on the Slingsby T31 and the only record I kept of its registration was '799'. I recall that the letters were XY799 but memory may be playing games with me on that. The instructor, poor sod, was F/L Johnson. I recall that he was extremely monosyllabic - has may not have been a terribly fulfilling job - and the only thing which seemed to interest him in the whole week was finding mushrooms on the airfield. They sent me solo on the Wednesday with three solos of 3, 2 and 3 minutes each, and after that all I got was a single 4 minute as P2 to F/L Beeston, of whom I have no recollection at all, in T31 ??794.
But what a wonderful experience to have soloed in a wire braced, fabric covered aircraft with its wing mounted above the open cockpit, and about 4 instruments as I recall. Quite a thought given that I now fly a diesel turbo DA40 made from carbon fibre with two G430's...

7th Oct 2006, 10:34
Guessing at the RAF reg's, your gliders are probably these?

XE799? Now at the Boulton Paul Museum, Wolverhampton.


and XE794? Like mine is now motorised and is registered as EI-CJJ, I can't find a picture of it so here's one of my T31m to give you an idea.



Footless Halls
7th Oct 2006, 11:49
Wow! I think a trip to Wolverhampton is called for, with my now somewaht abraded RAF Form 3822 (Revised 1969) in my hand.

That's a very interesting Museum - wasn't aware of it. Anyone else interested the link is http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/Links/bpa/bpa1.htm.

(I hope that does not constitute advertising...)

7th Oct 2006, 15:01
(I hope that does not constitute advertising...)

Not at all!

What a nice little thread. :)

7th Oct 2006, 15:42
Yes, it takes me back too. No photos, unfortunately, but I spent a happy week at Weston-Super-Mare in 1969, age 17 (I drove MYSELF there, in my Mum's car!) and the patient ATC Instructors showed me how to fly a Mk 3. I went solo after 21 launches, each flight probably 3 minutes, so I was solo after about 1 hour total flying time!

I remember being flown in a T21 too, and looping in it. Distinctly remember the weird sensation of the upside-down horizon appearing over my head...

Didn't fly solo again until 1996, in a Puschacz at Bidford. I fly solo all the time now though... :)

7th Oct 2006, 16:44
Hi All
I was one of those lucky ATC Staff Cadets that became an instructor
At the best school in the ATC Old Sarum 622 Gliding School

T21 700 Launch’s
T31 800 Launch’s

Average flight time 4 min (That’s a lot of log book filling in)

And there are many many more out there who have done a LOT more than this.

Still ask when briefing pilots about the AN2 if they have ever flown a T21 as it has similar turning characteristic !!!

Footless Halls
7th Oct 2006, 20:22
Fascinating. Loads of people must have had the same experiences as me.

Given that XE799 is no longer airworthy - I spoke to the curator of the Boulton Paul Museum today and he told me that the last time it changed hands the price was £100 - where do I get my hands on an AN2?

Martin @ EGLK
9th Oct 2006, 12:05
I'll have to dig mine out. I think it's in my mum's loft.

From memory:

Gliding at Kenley - including the Gliding Scholarship to solo :D
- wasn't that glider called a zedberg (sp?)

Flying chippies at Abingdon among other places & the Bulldog at Cambridge. One of the pilots I remember flying with was a Jaguar pilot who was rehabilitating & keeping the hours up after banging out of a Jaguar over Germany a month or so before - something about a compressed spine.

Also quite lucky & flew in a Herc out of Lynham, a Chinook from Odiham & VC-10 out of Brize.

Footless Halls
9th Oct 2006, 20:10
Footless, you have a pm re AN2 not far from you.....
50 gallons an hour! It's amazing to think there's still any oil left in Russia.
The DA40D does 6 gallons per hour. On the other hand the T31 did zero.

9th Oct 2006, 20:15
My T31m uses around 2 - 2.5 gallons/hour ... interestingly, the same engine in my old VP2 used nearly 4 gallons an hour! Just shows what drag and a webber carb can do! :eek:


10th Oct 2006, 12:49
- wasn't that glider called a zedberg (sp?)

Close - "Sedbergh", I think, but I always got T21s and T31s confused (not being a glider pilot)

10th Oct 2006, 17:14
I may be wrong but I seem to remember being told the XE airframes were actually Mk2s re-manufactured as Mk 3s by addition of the later wing; the Mk2 originally having a wing with parallel leading and trailing edges like the single seat Mk1.
I only flew Mk3s in the WT and XA series. Some of these had spoilers, and very effective they were too; my forte flying AEG cadets was to turn base leg at 300ft, and open the spoilers 'over the hedge' (you weren't supposed to go beyond the downwind boundary of the airfield in a Mk3) resulting in an almost vertical descent to spot land at the launch point, with the nose of the glider over the next available cable, one cadet out, next cadet in then off again. Great fun!!

10th Oct 2006, 17:29

Were you at 622 in JETP's time? If so, we were probably colleagues. I left in 72ish. Great days. p1

10th Oct 2006, 21:40
Hi pulse1 please check pm

11th Oct 2006, 12:50

when were you there?
I passed through their hands in 1969 or 1970. Had to go back for a couple of extra weekends due to weather before I eventually went solo. Managed scrounge a flight in a Beaver around the Plain at 20'.

My main memory was of how peaceful the airfield was - in comparison to today that is.

Happy Days.

11th Oct 2006, 19:08
Yep : my CCF log book surfaces every few years: it has currently gone AWOL:
I too got a 'Gliding Scholarship' courtesy of RAF section of CCF at RAF Henlow at Easter 1962:
Great time: we all went solo (I went solo on my 17th birthday) I got the BGA gliding certificates A and B which are in front of me as I type : FAI certificate No 34440 countersigned by no less than the then President of the Royal Aero Club, Lord Brabazon of Tara.
It was a great atmosphere at Henlow: the C O was a (?) Flt Lt Bullivant and the chief Cadet NCO a Sgt Buckby (yes much p*ss was taken behind his back.)
They had a couple of civvy gliding instructors, one of whom was called 'Pete' and drove a souped up Ford Zephyr Zodiac like a loony all over the airfield.
All it cost us was mess fees of a shilling (5p) a day.
Only excitement apart from cagging down the side of the Sedburgh and having to wipe it off once back on the ground, was a cable break on my second solo necessitating a v rapid circuit and crosswind landing across the cables.
I went on to join Cambridge University Gliding Club (membership card signed by Anne Heyhurst - another name to conjure with) in the heady days when they flew out of Marshalls, spending many a hot summer's day in the winch in return for a quick five minute circuit at dusk in a Ka7.
When I wasn't in the winch I was repairing cable breaks: they used to buy up the RAF's cast offs (RAF dumped a cable after 3 breaks) CUGC cables had a repair every 50 ft or so it seemed.
Soon had to give up though as my univ course was too busy to allow much free time and haven't been in a glider since.
One day maybe.
Safe flying

11th Oct 2006, 20:38
Cusco you must be older than me! My BGA cert was 4 ---- and Pete Bullivant was an instructor at No 1 GC when I was at 613

12th Oct 2006, 07:21
This lead to me digging out my old 3822,
My gliding was done early 70s at Tangmere, mainly on Cadet Mk111 but a couple of launches on the Sedberge (The Barge?).
Anyone else fly from here?
Memories include:-
One instructor who had a Jag with an external sound system, he would drive down the runway with a tape of machine guns or Elephants charging.
Another instructor who would finish the day with a high speed run and then follow the taxiway at zero feet all the way back to the hangar (probably nearly a mile).
"Riding the Chute' " - sitting on the chute' at the end of the cable as it was winched in.
Accomodation during courses was at Thorney and there are also great memories of mad drives between Thorney and Tangmere in the squdron Landrovers.

12th Oct 2006, 10:59
I just had to look up mine too! My squadron was 2395 (a Cornish school squadron that no longer exists). Gliding in the T31 was at HMS Preddannick in XN244 which was sold in 86 and has dissappeared. Other aircraft were Chipmunks WP833 (one of the last sold and which flew to Moscow) and
WB860, various Hercules and VC10's.

It's amazing how few kids now seem to be interested in cadet forces, when I was 13 (1978) loads of my peers were in one or other of them.


12th Oct 2006, 15:26
The character at 613 was Fred Fermor (who actually looked a bit like Fred Flintsone!)
He had a homebuilt sports car on which the perspex windscreen as so badly crazed, he used to drive with his head out of the right hand side to see ahead!
One day he flew a Mk3 'back to the hangar'. There was clear daylight between the wheel and the ground as he went through the hangar doors!

Footless Halls
12th Oct 2006, 16:12
Funny this. Yes for us at Spitalgate they were 'the Brick' (T31) and 'the Barge' (T21).
I also recall the circuit planning advice:
1) Do not fly downwind of the boundary fence, and
2) On your solo flights, irrespective of the progress of your launch, pull off at 900'. I suppose this was to ensure that you flew a square circuit and landing where you were supposed to.
Rather like the German officer learning to fly in 'Those Magnificent Men..', you may recall:
"But how do I fly it?"
"The same way a German officer does everything - by the Book!"
"No1, sit down!"
On my first solo I forgot part two of this briefing and by the time I remembered to pull the little yellow knob, I found I was at the dizzy height of 1,100' .
Consequently I landed further down the field as I had no awareness of the concept of circuit planning. This was treated as a major infringement and a personal insult to my instructor. In stony silence, I was sent to fly my next two solo circuits 'by the book', and it was five years until I flew solo again (in a K13).

12th Oct 2006, 18:54
I can't lay my hands on the lil blue book, but I have great memories from AEF's in the chippy at Cambridge and my my glider course in the Vigilent at Syerston in '92.

:D for the ATC!!!!

14th Oct 2006, 06:59

I must be really old then because according to my 3822 since 1979 I have flown solo in:

WT series MKIII
XN series MKIII
XA series MKIII
XE series MKIII

XN series T21/Sedbergh
WB series T21/Sedbergh

XZ series T61/Venture
ZA series T61/Venture

ZA series ASK21 Vanguard

ZA series AW19 Valiant

ZE series Vigilant

ZE series Viking

plus multiple other RAF types as passenger in ATC (Herc, VC10, Gazelle, Chinook, Bulldog, Chipmunk, Hawk etc..............)

What a great organisation the ATC is/was. Pity the bureaucratic rubbish of today and repeated defence cuts makes it so difficult to operate because it was the gateway to aviation for me and many others I'm sure.


14th Oct 2006, 07:42

No PM received yet. p1

14th Oct 2006, 08:17
I'd be interested to know if anybody flew my T31m when it was a glider in the ATC. Its serial was WT873 but I haven't a clue where it was based.


16th Oct 2006, 11:45
Nice to meet you Footless Halls. Hope you found you way to the I.O.W OK

SS :ok:

17th Oct 2006, 21:53

Were you at 622 in JETP's time? If so, we were probably colleagues. I left in 72ish. Great days. p1

Hi recheck PM hope I have got it right this time

18th Oct 2006, 08:23
My first flight in anything was a T31 at Swansea with the ATC back in 1971. When I showed my kids a T31 being rebuilt and told them it was the first thing I ever flew in they looked at me as if I was one of the Wright brothers!

23rd Oct 2006, 09:14
Great little thread, which led me to dig out the little blue 3822. Enrolement 23rd May 1965.

41 launches from Kenley in the Mk3 3 of them on me own, and 12 in the Sedburgh.

The serials also lack the first two letters. Mk 3s 196,301,300, and Sedburgh 940

Seem to remember 196 crashing in the trees on the undershoot about 1969, and having the film recording the recovery of bits from the wood being removed from my camera by a surly NCO and exposed as he muttered something about the Russians needing info like that to assess our strength!

Instructors by the names of Nunn, Bellis Townsend Coomber White and Tarrant (civvies) and Vince, Crowley, Kemp (VRT)

Oh dear, just discovered Discharge Cert not complete. Better dig crab blue surge uniform out of Dad's loft and give it back!!

Just found at http://www.ukserials.com/ 300 and 301 were XA. 300 destroyed in the Kenley hangar fire in 1978 and 301 written off in 1974. Can't find 196 anywhere

Dave Gittins
23rd Oct 2006, 12:26
What a nostalgic thread. My ATC gliding was at RAF Burtonwood, now known as part of the M62, back in 1969. I flew Cadet MkIIIs and Sedberghs but have long since lost the RAF log book. What was astonishing to me is that I flew solo before I was old enough to have a car license so my Dad used to drive me to the airfield on a Satuday morning.

Anybody know what the registrations were of those little beauties or what happened to them ? I've just remembered that because it was so cold, I had huge ATC boots and two pairs of socks so had trouble feeling the rudder pedals and it was a piece of red cotton on the pitot tube ahead of the windshield (sic) that was used to keep straight, and the volume of the wind noise to keep level.

The following year, by which time I could drive my Mum's mini, I spent a fantastic 2 weeks on the Long Mynd with the Midland Gliding Club doing bungee launches off the hillside in Schleicher K13s and soaring up and down in the ridge lift for as long as a half hour on one occasion. Only came down coz it was somebody else's turn. Do they still use elastic bands to launch gliders ?

Only flown in a glider once since then, at Dunstable about 4 years ago. Scared the life out of me not having an engine - how d'you do a go-around in a glider ? like flying the space shuttle.

2nd Nov 2006, 12:06
If you gents want to know where your T21's and T31's are now, try www.rcawsey.fsnet.co.uk/slingsby.htm
All may be revealed!
I often fly T21 WJ306 which is at Oxford Gliding club these days - still in the ATC warpaint. Still 'kin cold at over 4000 feet.
WJ306 was at 626 VGS Predannack from 1969 - 76 and 621 VGS at Halesland until disposed-of in 1985.

10th May 2009, 20:00
Hi I started as an Air cadet in 1973 did a gliding course on T31's in 1977 then did the advanced course on T31 Cadet Mk3 and T21 Sedburghs. I was then asked to stay on asa staff cadet running the winch and retrieving cables and gliders and getting between 1 and 3 flights at the end of the day. We were the first school (644 VGS at Syerston) to convert to the Venture Motor Glider in 1978. We operated the Venture until 1990 when again we were the first school to convert to the Grob Vigilant. In total I flew nearly 1000 hours in Air Cadet gliders and motor gliders.

Some of the characters I knew and flew with included Bruce Tapson (he retired in 2005 from ACCGS but still flies principally from Saltby and is a senior examiner with the BGA). Although I never met Peter Bullivant, I did teach and fly with his son Richard who went on to be CO of 644VGS. Albert Johnson I think retired in the late 90's, but continued with Four Counties RAFGSA club.

I have lots of very happy memories of times spent in the Air Cadets and would still reccomend joining to any youths of today.

10th May 2009, 21:09
I was priviledged to be a Staff Cadet (later CI and "B" Cat) at 637 GS Gaydon 1968-72 and then 622 Old Sarum '73-76. 2000+ launches T21, T31, Prefect, and Swallow.
Les Stockdale, Bill Walker, Bill Jones, Jim Morrow, Tony Dring, Dave Bellis, Pete Fanshaw, Ted Smith, Dave Austin, Paul Whitehead, Paul Whitters, Woodbridge(!!) - where are you all now??
Hitch hiking in my ATC uniform from school in Solihull after rugger on a Sat mornings, driving the winch all afternoon, nightstopping on the floor in the office with the rest of the guys (no bunkhouse, Gaydon was on "care and maintenance" by then) maybe a couple of 3 min launches late on Sunday. Doing my weekend prep in the back of Ted's car on the way home Sunday evening, back again next weekend for the same all over again.................
Happy Happy memories and such a good upbringing for a tearaway 17 year old!
Jez Cooke.

11th May 2009, 06:40
Mere sproggets all of you.

Kirton in Lindsay, 1961, and yes, we spent first thing in the morning picking mushrooms.

11th May 2009, 09:39
Plenty more memories/ registrations and photos here............................still running on the Mil forum


11th May 2009, 10:19
How do I join?!

11th May 2009, 17:01
I was lucky enough to do a Gliding Proficiency course with 644 VGS at Syerston in 1983. Despite one of my instructors being a gentleman by the name of Keith Chesher (who along with Paul Blackmore) taught me what flying was really all about. I went on to be an instructor spending 18 happy years there

11th May 2009, 22:08
Where is that lamp !!:ok:

126 Derby squadron 1950's - those were the days.
Did the gliding A & B at Spittalgate. Travel warrants to get there :}
The winch had big Ford V8 engine. Starting them in winter was an epic. Usually a rag dipped in the fuel tank and then pushed in the air intake ! Elf & Safety:=
Like Footless was told to let go at 900 ft on first solo. Also kept it going to 1,000 ft :)

Summer camps Hullavington - Provost
and Hemswell - Lincoln :O !