View Full Version : Did A Bucc Fly Through Brough's Hangar

30th Sep 2008, 20:33
Heard about the time a Bucc was flown though Brough's hangar in the 60's/70's?.

Somebody called - 'Jacko Jackson'??

Is it true?

Thx For Any Replies.

2nd Oct 2008, 02:37
A friend of mine (an ex-RAF Officer who worked on Buccs for much of his service life) told me a story about a Buccaneer pilot flying along the runway at Honington at very low altitude with his hands behind his head. They never built any dual-control Buccs so it wasn't a case of the back seater flying it. Apparently, if you trimmed it properly and set it up straight and level very close to a smooth flat surface, it was virtually impossible to fly a Bucc into the ground because of "wing in ground effect".

I remember stories of a Bucc flying between the hangers somewhere. Might have been the same guy, also at Honington. There was also a large photo in a magazine in the 70's showing a Bucc banked at 90 degrees flying between a row of trees at the end of a field (near Lossiemouth?) whilst practicing for Red Flag so they would sometimes fly extremely low. From what I was told, the Bucc was one of the best low level aircraft from an aerodynamic perspective. I don't remember any stories about a Bucc flying through a hanger though.

Perhaps some of the former Bucc aircrew will have some low-flying stories they could share?

2nd Oct 2008, 09:51
Porrohman. I have been led to believe that 1 Buccaneer was dual stick. I think it may have been the one with the RAE, and is now at Thunder City, SA, it having the amazing good fortune of being videoed by me 3 years ago there. I t would NOT have been a squadron Bucc.

Phileas Fogg
2nd Oct 2008, 11:03
At Honington they used Hunters, decked out like Buccs, including the hook, for training.

Only trouble was that a Bucc could take the fast end wire, the Hunter could only take the stop end wire as one found out to it's expense one day :)

2nd Oct 2008, 13:36
The 2-stick Buccaneer, XV344, was an ex-FAA aircraft extensively modified and operated by the RAE at Farnborough. Christened Nightbird due to its experimental use, a removable control column could be fitted in the rear cockpit - no rudder or throttles. The design and modification was carried out at Cranfield.

The rear stick was intended to allow a safety pilot to take control if it was considered a hazardous situation was developing. However, even by day the forward view from the rear cockpit was hardly ideal for such a responsibility. At low-level by night, without the full benefit of the EO displays fitted in the front cockpit and precious little visible when wearing NVGs, not much point really. Hence, the stick was fitted for an assessment by the tps at Brough and then left on the shelf thereafter,

Rather an expensive and prolonged exercise that was overtaken by the confidence and safety procedures developed during nigh low-flying using NVGs in alternative aircraft.

The aircraft was in a pretty appalling state when delivered direct from Ark Royal but after much RAE tender loving care it was a pleasure to fly. It now rests on a concrete plinth, hidden away in the middle of the QinetiQ site at Farnborough. I stroke it when I pass by.


2nd Oct 2008, 14:49
PF said......
"At Honington they used Hunters, decked out like Buccs, including the hook, for training.

Only trouble was that a Bucc could take the fast end wire, the Hunter could only take the stop end wire as one found out to it's expense one day "

Anyone have any pics of a Hunter avec hook? Or any links to YouTube?

Just curious.........

2nd Oct 2008, 19:13
Had the unfortunate pleasure of watching A Saffer Bric do a wheels up at Swakopmund back in the mid 70s. One of lifes small memories.

2nd Oct 2008, 20:32
All Hunter G.A.11s and T.8s had arrester hooks.

2nd Oct 2008, 20:39
Lightningmate - please say Hi to 344 for me next time you pass - first flew her in May 84 when she came out of the sheds (after a long rest!!)

Phileas Fogg
3rd Oct 2008, 12:41
A Honington Hunter T7 (with hook):


3rd Oct 2008, 13:01
Quick thread creep......

Was a Hunter ever modded to do deck landings - either land based or at sea?

Thanks for the pic PF.

Phileas Fogg
3rd Oct 2008, 14:51
I very much doubt it, when a Hunter took the fast end wire at Honington it more or less broke the back of the aircraft, on a carrier there isn't exactly a 'slow' wire that it could take.

From: Hawker Hunter development - the complete story from concept to service (http://www.wingweb.co.uk/aircraft/Hawker_Hunter_development.html)

An initial contract for 55 "Hunter Trainer Mark 7 (T.7)" machines was placed by the RAF, with the first production machine performing its initial flight on 11 October 1957, and the first deliveries to the RAF following shortly after. Only 45 of the 55 originally ordered were actually delivered to the RAF, with the other ten diverted to the Royal Navy FAA, as described below.

The RAF also received six additional T.7s as conversions from ex-RAF F.4s. Incidentally, conversion from an F.4 to a T.7 was apparently a straightforward process, requiring fit of a new forward fuselage but few or no changes from the wings on back. The modular construction of the Hunter not only eased assembly and maintenance but made modification relatively easy, a virtue that would help keep the Hunter in service for a long time.

Four of the T.7s were modified with the "OR946 Integrated Flight Instrumentation System (IFIS)", used on the English Electric Lightning and the Blackburn Buccaneer , and given the new designation of "T.7A". One more T.7 was brought up to the same standard later and may have been given the designation "T.7B", at least unofficially. In any case, these modified T.7s were originally used as trials machines but later were pressed into service to train Buccaneer aircrew.

As the T.7 was going into production, the Royal Navy's FAA decided they were in need of a new trainer to support higher-performance fighters then going into service, such as the de Havilland Sea Vixen and the Supermarine Scimitar. The FAA decided to acquire a variant of the T.7, the "Hunter T.8", to replace Hawker Sea Fury and de Havilland Vampire trainers. Ten of the 55 machines ordered by the RAF were diverted to the FAA, as mentioned above.

The T.8 was very similar to the T.7, but lacked the radio compass and DME (radio distance measuring equipment) gear of the T.7, and was fitted with an arresting hook. The T.8 wasn't stressed to land on a carrier and the arresting hook was meant for practice landings on ground strips fitted up to simulate a carrier deck. To add to confusion, some of the FAA T.8s didn't have the arresting hook while some of the RAF T.7s did, so it is not an entirely reliable distinguishing feature between the two variants.

3rd Oct 2008, 15:01
Refering back to AlphaIndia's original question - I don't recall there being any double-ended through-hangars at Brough. Perhaps it was Holme on Spalding Moor.

3rd Oct 2008, 16:39
Given the hangar layout at HOSM (http://www.content-delivery.co.uk/aviation/airfields/HolmeOnSpaldingMoor.html) that'd take some fancy flying, even for a Bucc.

Shell Management
3rd Oct 2008, 17:01
They were a series of very low fly pasts on the closure of HOSM. Could it have been between the hangars?

3rd Oct 2008, 19:01
I do admit to having flown between the hangars and the ATC tower at Honington, rather below the level of the tower roof.

But that wasn't in a Bucc.....

....it was in a Vulcan. XL319 on 17 Jun 1978, to be precise. And boy, were we ever in the deep and smelly afterwards!

3rd Oct 2008, 22:25
Between the hangars and the tower?

That's awfully close to my sim:=

(Sadly, before my time though:{)

3rd Oct 2008, 22:34
...it was in a Vulcan. XL319 on 17 Jun 1978, to be precise. And boy, were we ever in the deep and smelly afterwards!

And you just missed the 'WO's office - By a Hairpiece.Lol:D:cool:

Phileas Fogg
3rd Oct 2008, 22:39
Before my time also, I didn't work in the Honington tower until 79 ..... thank phuck :)

4th Oct 2008, 15:51
BEagle, the gentleman who flew down the runway with his hands behind his head was, I think, the same chap who flew between the hangers. It was his last flight/one of his last flights before leaving the RAF and I think he ended up in the same smelly stuff that you landed in. I'll bet it was worth it though :ok: :D Did anyone photograph your little adventure?

b.t.w. I was just looking at an aerial photo of Honington on Live Search Maps . It appears to have been censored as some of the dispersals look like they've been whited out; Compare this image; Web browser and Live Maps are incompatible (http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=52.34274~0.769&style=h&lvl=16&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=28419778&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1) with this one; Honington - Google Maps (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Honington&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=9.494005,28.476562&ie=UTF8&ll=52.342524,0.76973&spn=0.009583,0.027809&t=h&z=16) . Maybe it's a common thing but it's the first time I've noticed censoring of aerial photos on the web.

4th Oct 2008, 16:06
Try looking at Geilenkirchen or Deelen on Google Earth...

4th Oct 2008, 16:47

Request noted and will comply - happy days at that time producing so much that was good. Now all lost, despite the claims of a certain self-proclaimed 'World-Class' Organisation.


Phileas Fogg
4th Oct 2008, 20:00
Put it this way,

A.T.C. are supposedly responsible for airfield safety and surface inspections but, back in the 70's, if we attempted to take the Landrover to a particular part, or two, of the far side of Honington airfield then we could expect to be shot at!

5th Oct 2008, 19:50
Not long before they finally disappeared a bucc flew past the old tower at Kirkwall close enough for me to see the bone dome and oxygen mask of the driver. Reminded me of the old joke about the low flying complaint where the magistrate asked the witness,'Could you read the letters on the wing of the aeroplane?' ' Yes.' was the reply 'And what did it say?' Answer, 'No step.'

7th Oct 2008, 09:23
Not sure but I think '344 was the Bucc used by RAE Farnborough for voice operated control systems tests, hence the second stick might have been useful if the 'driver' had a frog in his throat!
As far as low flying goes, there was a superb film of a Bucc at RAE Bedford flying past the north side T2 hangar below rooftop level, and I can vaguely remember the 'retirement' flight of the last white painted Mk1 at Farnborough (just before the three new build S2s were delivered) which did a flypast through west area and was not visible from the tower as it was well below the trees!
COEF came running up the stairs and asked 'what does Mr A....k think he's doing? Honey Monster (the tower controller at the time) answered 'hairy beatups where sir won't see him? COEF replied 'well sir did see him!'

7th Oct 2008, 09:45
Re. XV344, I think (but am not certain in case I'm shot down in flames here) it is the very same Bucc that the RAF pilot had problems landing on Ark Royal in the BBC 'Sailor' series.

By all accounts the real debrief he received from Keith Somerville-Jones post landing wasn't a jot like the one we all saw on the telly!

Lower Hangar
7th Oct 2008, 14:35
I did a couple of X decks on the 'windy' Indy -off North Cape and again in the Caribbean in 1975- my point of being there (I was a maintenance person) was to assist VA 65 (A6 Intruders) in turn round and handling the 2 Buccs that came over ( 2 x A6's to Ark in tandem) ....no problems of North Cape but in the Caribbean the 1st Bucc recovered nicely and cleared the wires - the 2nd Bucc did 4 bolters before diverting back to Ark !!- a certain very popular Flt Lt JB- I think 'Sailor' was filmed in 1976 - this was 1975 - so not being able to trap on what looked to me like a f****ing big deck compared with Ark wasn't without precedent :8:8:8

henry crun
7th Oct 2008, 21:30
Stories and questions about flying through hangars appear from time, it would be interesting to know how they start.

There are a number of instances that were filmed the 20'and 30's with biplanes, but I have yet to see any verifiable evidence that anyone has done so since.

Brian Abraham
8th Oct 2008, 02:15
For the movie "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" made in 1963 they flew a Beech 18 through a hangar at the Santa Rosa airport.

henry crun
8th Oct 2008, 06:54
When I clicked the Submit Reply box I heard a big bell ringing in my head saying, "Someone is going to offer the evidence Henry". :)

Brian Abraham
8th Oct 2008, 12:49
Other than going to your video store Henry the best I can offer is http://gchudleigh.com/images/santarosaproof.jpg

8th Oct 2008, 22:14
Flown by Tallmantz Aviation pilot - one Frank Tallman I think.

9th Oct 2008, 04:16
Alphaindia, so you were 2 when you flew the vulcan between the hangars then....?!!! (Well you did say that you were '32'!)

9th Oct 2008, 07:17
Tallmantz Aviation. Frank Tallman, who died in a Seneca crash, I believe, and Paul Mantz, who died after crashing the aircraft cobbled together in the original 'Flight of the Phoenix'

9th Oct 2008, 10:15
Alphaindia, so you were 2 when you flew the vulcan between the hangars then....?!!! (Well you did say that you were '32'!)

FYI, captainsmiffy: Although it's not very clear, BYALPHAINDIA was actually quoting BEagle's previous post:

....it was in a Vulcan. XL319 on 17 Jun 1978, to be precise. And boy, were we ever in the deep and smelly afterwards!


21st Oct 2008, 22:59
In '73 I went on a visit from ASF at Honington to Brough and HoSM to view Bucc production and flight test operations. The weekend trip was arranged by Len ***?, the Blackburn rep at Honington. We visited Brough on the Saturday and went on to HoSM on the Sunday morning, being treated to an excellent pub lunch courtesy the 'costs plus' regime of the day.

Imagine our surprise on being met at Brough by Derek Whitehead, the Blackburn CTP and the chap who made the Bucc's first flight. Derek stayed with us for the whole of the visit and came into his own when we entered his 'patch' at HoSM on the Sunday morning.

He told us a lot about the various Buccaneer flight trials and also their proposals for the Buccaneer 2**. At the time he was also flight testing Phantoms from HoSM and when asked how the two types compared he said that the characteristics of the Buccaneer, especially the harmonisation of the controls, allowed it to be safely flown at high speed almost down to ground level. Of the Phantom, he said that its controls were not a patch on those of the Buccaneer and it was not safe to fly the Phantom anything like as low as the Buccaneer.

There are a number of Blackburn/HSA/BAe shots of a Buccaneer flying past below the height of the photagrapher, with a hangar as a backdrop. These were taken at HoSM with Derek flying the Bucc and the photographer stood on the control tower balcony. I believe that Derek is no longer with us, but what a legacy.

22nd Oct 2008, 07:34
Deck landing aircraft had hydraulically powered hooks to keep the hook on the deck instead of bouncing and not going down again. The Hunter hook was gravity powered and hence useless on the deck.

Lower Hangar
22nd Oct 2008, 07:54
The Brough (ie BAe) rep at Honington was Len Pearson ( I was RNU/809) 1972 to 1978

22nd Oct 2008, 08:58
ISTR there was a Bucc-between-the-hangars sketch at Saints when the last Bucc came out of the MU there.

Can't remember the pilot's name, but I'm sure there was a painting of the incident in the TPs' crewroom at Saints.....

...... when Saints had TPs ..... :(

22nd Oct 2008, 18:43
Len Pearson - I remember him (if not his name!) well. Wonder if he is still around? Was at Hon 70 - 73, mainly ASF but also 237.

23rd Oct 2008, 15:25
While I was at Uni I did a 6 month spell on shop-floor at Brough in '68 or '69 and saw the low-level photos on the notice board. They were doing some low level flow visualisation work with tufts and the easiest way to get the photos was from the top of the water tower. Pilot was Dereck aka Block Whitehead.
I went to a RAeS lecture given by him and heard some of the tales including a refuelling test flight with Buccaneer buddy refuelling another Bucc. Block was lead and he gradually drifted down to below 100' and the guy in back had to get lower or break-off. This would have been one-up to Block so they continued on down until the receiver was just above the hedges!

henry crun
3rd Dec 2008, 05:56
Brian: In the Aug/Sept issue of Air & Space, Smithsonian there is an article about aircraft used in James Bond movies.

It says that a Corkey Fornof flew his Bede BD-5J Microjet through a hangar for a Toshiba commercial in Japan, and later did the same thing in the opening sequence of Octopussy.

Gen. Jack D Ripper
3rd Dec 2008, 06:51
Did a Bucc' once 'bounce' off the North Sea? Apparently it was coming to the UK from Germany in hazy conditions.


Tim McLelland
3rd Dec 2008, 10:34
I fear there are an awful lot of urban myths flying around (unlike Buccaneers which remain Earth-bound unless you're in SA!).

I suspect the "flying through the hangar" story developed from the many low level flights performed over HOSM where (as has been said above) an awful lot of astonishingly low photos were taken. I believe some of the flying over the airfield was quite spirited at times, and I'm sure that a few development aircraft slipped between the hangars. As for flying through, I think that can be safely regarded as a myth. The Buccaneer's a surprisingly bulky aircraft and British hangars are (proportionally) quite small. The odds on getting a Buccaneer safely through a hangar must be about zero and I think it safe to assume that nobody would be crazy enough to even try it.

B Fraser
5th Dec 2008, 07:52
I do recall seeing a head-on photo of a Buccaneer on exercise somewhere hot flying below ground level in a wadi. Could somebody post it please.

henry crun
5th Dec 2008, 08:21
I have deleted the pics Tim, because there is no response to my question.

Tim McLelland
5th Dec 2008, 20:35
They look like low-grade copies of Andrew Brookes' photos in which case they would have been over the Tain range I guess.

15th Dec 2008, 13:54
How about this phantom at St Athan...


link (http://www.flyandfight.com/Amazing%20Pics%20&%20Vids.htm)