View Full Version : Dounreay's air mishaps go online

14th Nov 2009, 16:21
Incidents of air crew mishaps at a nuclear plant's airfield during the 1970s have been published online.

More at:- BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Highlands and Islands | Dounreay's air mishaps go online (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/8359368.stm)

14th Nov 2009, 19:25
Doesn't seem anything untoward in that article.

A fence post being taken out, a hanger fire, something going off the end. I should imagine if you had a blind look at alot of airfields in the 70's you would probably wouldn't be able to spot the difference.

Have a look at the number of accidents just down the road in Wick and you will see that Sutherland is a challenging environment to work in.

midnight retired
23rd Nov 2009, 19:14
Many thanks for bringing the Dounreay Airfield article to PPRuNe. Over the years there was quite a select band of Pilots who earned their spurs flying into that remote outpost of the UK mainland, most approaches being with a crosswind and associated turbulence created by the coastline and tall buildings.
Night approaches were a speciality and we had a company NDB cloudbreak procedure that involved a timed descent over the Pentland Firth followed by a procedure turn to minima and then a visual search for the lights on the USN transmitter for positioning onto finals for the Westerly runway or the lights of HMS Vulcan for the Easterly runway, but look out for the High tension power cables crossing this approach and maintain the steep approach to roundout and land on the upslope of the runway, all in a good crosswind of course. Good character building stuff!
Wick was our nominated diversion airfield but we rarely needed to use it, although by comparison it was a doddle.
It is a testimony to all the operators that the accident record was so low and speaks volumes for the high standard of airmanship of all those involved with the Dounreay passenger contract.
According to my logbook I was priviledged to fly the last scheduled flight out of Dounreay on the 28th June 1990 in G-VRES a BeechKingAir 200,departing at 1505 hrs, returning to Northern Executives Manchester base at 1655 hrs.
I believe that John Hall the ATCO sped south in his car as we disappeared over the Caithness landscape. ATC Dounreay had closed forever after an estimated 5.5 million passenger miles spanning a period of 20 years.
Not a bad record for a remote airfied that the FAA and the RAF did their best to avoid using.

Dual ground
23rd Nov 2009, 19:30
"Have a look at the number of accidents just down the road in Wick and you will see that Sutherland is a challenging environment to work in."

Just a point of order Mad Jock, both Dounreay and Wick are in Caithness not Sutherland. :ok:

23rd Nov 2009, 20:21
Now that is something else that I have done during my fairly extensive flying career.

Deliveries to Dounreay from Carlisle were great fun. It would have been so much easier if the full length of the wartime runway had been available but the half that was left made it a bit more of a challenge.

I often thought that the US equivalent when carrying such an interesting load would have demanded two parallel 10,000 foot runways with CAT IIIB ILS on each end.

It was nothing like as much fun when 'elfin safety closed Dounreay and we moved over to Wick.

aw ditor
28th Nov 2009, 13:42
Vernair (of Liverpool) part of the then Vernons' Group were the Kings' of Dounreay for some years after the previous operator lost the AE contract. Vernair was closed down and NEA took over the route certainly with some of the aircraft if not the crews.

28th Nov 2009, 14:33
I have access to the tower log from Sumburgh for 2 years in the early 70's. The number of incidents recorded far exceed those at Dounreay. Even taking movement rates into account Dounreay doesn't look too bad.

29th Nov 2009, 06:13
Was it former a WW2 airstrip?
Was it east or west of Dounreay complex?

29th Nov 2009, 07:37
South East. Try Google Earth or satellite mapping. Had one or two visits there including a night stop. I seem to recall some sort of video library.............:eek: