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Gulfstreamaviator
30th Aug 2013, 17:59
I was reading a recent issue of Airliner World, and there was a feature on 1970 long haul operations. Specifically the Australia route on 747's.

There was reference to a typical tour of duty being up to THREE WEEKS.

I would like to ask any survivors of these extended rotations for their stories.
A typical duty roster, typical allowances, booked hotels, structure and types of rooming.
Interaction between LHR Operations, Out Station managerment, flight crew. Who carried the flight funds.
This was pre mobile phones and Internet, so how family communications if any could be made. Portishead HF radio, or ARINC, or via Ops ctl on HF.
How many crew ended up in long term relationships.

glf

crewmeal
30th Aug 2013, 20:23
Back in those days, speaking as BOAC cabin crew we used to be rostered a 3 'weeker' about twice a year. Routes would include:

LHR - THR 48 hrs
THR - HKG 48 hrs via BOM
HKG - SYD 48 hrs via MNL
SYD - MEL 24 hrs
MEL - SIN 48hrs via PER
SIN - SYD 24 hrs via PER
SYD - HKG 48 hrs
HKG - BOM 72 hrs via BKK
BOM - BAH 48 hrs
BAH - LHR

Duty days were rarely longer than 10 hours back on the 747-136's

There was one nasty trip LHR - FCO - DEL/CCU where there were 3 meal services depending on the time of day. It then went on to HKG and SYD/MEL Sometimes if you got to BAH on the last leg you could have been turned round and do the same again.

Room parties were the norm on those trips with plenty of 'flasks' full of booze floating around. Girls usually went to a certain jewellers in HKG to order rings and bangles that they never declared on the crew dec at LHR. Many male crew had shirts suits jackets etc made to measure and this was before credit cards.

Allowances were always paid by the hotel or by the Duty Manager in local currency. Typical hotels included the Gulf in BAH, Cosmopolitan (motel)in Bondi, Some dump we nicknamed 'Crossroads' in MEL. The Excelesior in HKG and the Oberoi in BOM/DEL. Teheran was fun, we used to stay at the International which according to locals was the old morgue, however the union got us moved to the Hilton which was out of town. A great place to 'slip'. Quite often we would passenger to BKK on a QF 707 and pick up a trip from there. There were 'C bird' trips which involved paxing to and from the Orient. Again a 3 week trip with different crews but no one liked those because you missed out on Gulf allowances as you 'ate' on the aircraft. These trips coincided with Chinese and Indian based crews.

Flight deck would do similar trips but on a 3 week trip you met 4/5 different crews. By the time you got back to LHR you made some good friends, however you rarely saw them again unless you kept in close contact.

Calling home from India usually meant booking a call in order to wait for the satellite to be in the right position. I believe Portishead was used as HF comm back in those days. As for relationships that's another story!

One of the most lucritive trips was a 15 day LHR - ANC - HND - ANC - LHR. It was a nackering trip because of the time changes, but I was lucky enough to do one over Christmas and New Year which meant you either celebrated it twice or not at all depending where you were. The one trip which the 747 missed ou on was the SYD through the west. That was exclusively for the mini fleet (VC-10/707)

Gulfstreamaviator
31st Aug 2013, 05:27
Many thanks for taking the time to respond.

I am sure that you have many stories best kept in the dark.

The room parties go down in aviation history. Memorable I am sure.

In 70's I was corporate aviation, based on short contracts world wide.
I experienced many crews out on the town, as well as pool side, but with my freelance situation was normally always working with locals, so usually I was the lone guy with a book eating alone.

I missed out on the Hamble recruitment, so ended up in corporate aviation.

Question what is the "C bird" trip.

What notice of these long trips did you receive, to enable family life to be organized.

Again many thanks,

Glf

crewmeal
31st Aug 2013, 06:40
Working positions on the 747 worked like this. Note this was before equality for women.

Cabin Service Director (always a male) in charge of the aircraft.
Purser First Class (male) in charge up front.
Purser Economy (male in charge 'down the back'
A bird (female) slaved up front and did the PA's.
B bird (female) looked after mums and babies.
C & D (either male or female) worked down the back.
Lounge steward (male)worked up front and looked after the lounge and flight deck.
Steward 1 (male) looked after and cooked the food up front.
Steward 2 (male) looked after and cooked the food down the back.
Bar 'tarts' 1 2 3 & 4 (either male or female) worked in the 4 positions down the back selling drinks and duty frees along with renting headsets.

In those days there wasn't club class and first class had 27 seats. Promotion was usually 'dead man's shoes' and took about 6 years to get from Steward 2 to Steward 1 and another 6 to make Purser.

Albert Driver
31st Aug 2013, 19:07
Compared to cabin crew rosters, life was much more civilised for flight crew in late BOAC/early BA.
14-day maximum trips (obviously subject to disruption at times).
Bidline system for choosing 28-day blocks of work depending on seniority. This permitted choice of destinations, short or long trips, days off etc.
Bidding system for annual leave, not dependent on seniority, but a points system based on popularity of leave period, ie take an unpopular leave period in winter and get your choice of popular leave period in summer or v.v.
In those days a 14-day trip would usually take duty hours close to the requirement for the 28 days, perhaps needing a three day Atlantic trip to complete the "month's" work. Possible (just) to work 14 days on, 14 days off.
Roughly half of hotels in common with cabin crew, half away from CC, due to different requirements. Generally CC preferred beach hotels, flight crew city centre hotels.
Good flight deck/cabin crew relations in those days particularly on "Minis" (VC10/B707) . B747 ruined all that.
Captain had real authority over the crew and the operation. Expected to liase with Station Staff in the event of diversion/civil unrest etc to fix accomodation for pax and crew and plan the recovery. London sometimes only "informed"
Station communications via Telex. International phone lines often poor/unusable in some places. SSB HF radio on the aeroplane usually reasonable. Speedbird London would sometimes accept and relay personal messages if serious/urgent, otherwise crew depended on the hotel telephone (and paid the very high charges). Consequently phone calls home were usually restricted to urgent matters. Letters home usually arrived after we did.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority (just about) of flight crew marriages survived, particularly where the wives were reasonably self-sufficient and had available a little support from family and friends, and the upside was long periods of time off.
We were all tough in those days....
But it was a great life!

wiggy
31st Aug 2013, 22:39
Sigh, I joined too late......

Consequently phone calls home were usually restricted to urgent matters.

Jeepers, nowdays our younger crew members have perfected the art of holding a non-alcoholic fruit cocktail in one hand whilst texting about the same with the other hand........

Brian Abraham
1st Sep 2013, 02:56
Good flight deck/cabin crew relations in those days particularly on "Minis" (VC10/B707) . B747 ruined all that.Why so Albert? Just the increase in crew size a cause?

crewmeal
1st Sep 2013, 06:28
On 'Mini's there were certain Captains who only spoke to the Cabin Crew through the First Officer. "Would you ask the Captain what he would like to order from the menu" This of course was before CRM. There was also a certain Captain nicked named 'The Blade' who wore white gloves and would run his finger along the armrests of first class. Woe betide the crew if his gloves were dirty! That of course was before slots!

I believe the 747 help do away with all that.

Albert Driver
1st Sep 2013, 09:16
There were a small number of difficult Captains. Always were. Always will be. Cabin crew thought they were unreasonable towards them. They were right - but these Captains were unreasonable towards everyone....! They were not the norm (but they were a pain).

The physical separation of flight crew and cabin crew (upstairs/downstairs) and the fact that the first B747s suffered frequent engine failures which made the Captains understandably reluctant to leave the flight deck to tour the cabin as they used to, left a bit of a power vacuum in the cabin which the new Cabin Service Officers were happy to fill.

From the other side, the large cabin crew and increased complexity of cabin service needed a new kind of leadership which the CSOs quickly developed. I thought the cabin service adapted quickly and well to the new space and most CSOs did an extremely good job on board.

The problem was a (small) number decided that they now (as Officers with four thin rings on their sleeves) were in charge of the whole aircraft and stopped liasing effectively with the Captain and flight crew, some even encouraging the rest of the cabin crew to do likewise.

The company was beginning to discover customer service and Cabin Crew as a department moved from Operations to Commercial, separating them further from flight crew.

In short, change was needed but badly managed - as indeed was the whole of the new British Airways following the merger. But that's another story.

crewmeal
1st Sep 2013, 09:25
A very good and clear analogy Albert. However there were those Capts who flying at FL350 who thought they were nearer to God than anyone else and acted like it. On the other hand there were some who were perfectly normal guys who acted 'in the spirit' of the crew. In other words what happened in the Hiltons and Sheretons of the world stayed there.

However whilst there are the 'whistle blowers' then flying has become less fun. I'm glad I'm out of it now.

CNN.com - British Airways' staff suspended over alcohol claims - October 4, 2000 (http://edition.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/10/04/britain.airline/)

Ian Burgess-Barber
1st Sep 2013, 17:16
Both crewmeal and Albert Driver have given an excellent account of the way things were on the 747 fleet in the 70s. I was cabin crew on the fleet 1973-79 and recall how often, trips did not go to plan. Once you were "off-schedule" all bets were off, and you could end up anywhere in the world, and often did. We were fully of the opinion that 'Scheduling' had forgotten where we were and how long we had been out for - this could be to our advantage, or not, depending on the attractiveness of the location and the hard value of the currency our living allowances were paid in.

Herewith the itinerary of my first trip to the land of Oz
22 Dec 1973 Pax QF760 B707 LHR-ATH-TEH- DEL
23 Dec Asleep
24 Dec Taxi to Agra visit Taj Mahal. Evening Xmas room party with BOAC VC10 crew in the Oberoi plus we invite the Lufthansa 707 crew down the hall to join us for carol singing.Their incredibly young Captain leads them in 'Stille Nacht' (Silent Night) - puts me in mind of the Xmas day truce in WW1
25 Dec The flight we are due to operate diverts due fog at Delhi airport, we remain in hotel with Xmas lunch provided by BOAC Catering. We are now OFF-SCHEDULE
26 Dec We are told to operate BA812 to HKG. The crew who should have taken that flight are not best pleased as they now have to stay in Delhi OFF-SCHEDULE
27 Dec Evening we Pax on Cathay Convair 880 HKG-KUL-Djakarta-PER.
28 Dec Asleep in the Parmelia. Evening room party plus the Cathay crew
29 Dec PM operate to SYD via MEL (bad turbulence)
30 Dec Bondi
31 Dec Bondi New Years Party on beach
1 Jan 1974 Bondi
2 Jan Bondi Visit Rose Bay and marvel that QF still operate Flying Boats from there (to Lord Howe island?)
3 Jan Operate SYD-HKG
4 Jan Evening operate HKG-BKK
5 Jan R&R in BKK
6 Jan evening operate to BAH
7 Jan Gulf Hotel on standby for diverted flight - no go
8 Jan Due to pax back to LHR on BA743 - but off-loaded so back to the hotel
9 Jan evening repatriation flight to UK on QF Jumbo, but in-flight engine shut down (my second such experience in two months with P&W JT9Ds) and we land in Vienna
10 Jan Lifted back to Blighty on BEA Trident 2 - trip over.

So there you have it -20 days at sea with just 5 flights operated plus 4 pax trips,
but that's how it often was - forty years ago.

Ian BB

Dora-9
1st Sep 2013, 20:10
Ian BB:

Great description, a small correction though. Qantas did not operate the flying boats (a Sandringham and a Solent) out of Rose Bay, it was Ansett (actually by then it was Airlines of NSW, an Ansett subsidiary).

Ian Burgess-Barber
1st Sep 2013, 21:41
Sorry if my memories of forty years have let me down - I seem to remember the paint scheme looking like the Qantas livery. We live not far from a place called Foynes on the Shannon Estuary here in Ireland which has a great Flying Boat Museum as this was the European terminal for the first regular transatlantic air services

goodnight
IanBB

Dora-9
1st Sep 2013, 21:51
No Ian, I'm not a Virgo, but I was married to one once - a ghastly experience!

Cheers!

Fris B. Fairing
1st Sep 2013, 22:23
Sandringham and a Solent

Actually two Sandringhams or strictly speaking one Sandringham and one Sunderland converted to Sandringham configuration by someone other than Short Bros (i.e. Ansett). A rose by any other name.

Rgds

Dora-9
2nd Sep 2013, 00:47
Frisbee is correct. They were a Sandringam and a locally converted Sunderland.

Ian Burgess-Barber
2nd Sep 2013, 08:13
Dora & Frisbee I am a happy (if humbled) Virgo now that my forty year brain-fade has been corrected by your goodselves as to the ownership and provenance of those fine old Flying Boats still in use in the 1970s. Possibly I thought Qantas because (If I remember right this time) they kept a DC4 in service well into the jet age to service Norfolk Island from SYD.
Dora - sorry about your experience with a Virgo - even the best of barrels can have a rare bad apple in 'em.
IanBB

Airclues
2nd Sep 2013, 22:53
As has already been stated, the flight crews were limited to fourteen days away, unlike the cabin crews. This caused problems in the case of disruption. So, in 1978, BA introduced Australian postings. Flight crews would spend four months based in Sydney (initially the base was Melbourne but moved to Sydney after a few months).
The main 747 operation was London-Muscat-Singapore-Sydney, then to either Brisbane or Melbourne and London-Bombay-Perth-Melbourne-Auckland. The Sydney based crews would operate all services south of Singapore and Bombay.

This was pre mobile phones and Internet, so how family communications if any could be made.

The short answer is that we didn't communicate once away, except for the odd letter. I realise that this is totally alien to the modern generation, but the need for constant communication hadn't developed yet. Phoning from hotels was stupidly expensive.

What notice of these long trips did you receive, to enable family life to be organized.

Sometimes very little. Nowadays under bidline rules, BA can only use you during the days when you should have been working. However, in the 70's there was no such protection. I was assigned a two week trip at the beginning of the month so arranged our social activities during the second half of the month. BA then cancelled the trip and gave me a two week trip at the end of the month.

Question what is the "C bird" trip.

BA employed nationally based stewardesses. These ladies always operated the 'C' position. A UK based stewardess would operate a random trip, often with many positioning sectors so as to operate the sectors where a national stewardess was not carried.

How many crew ended up in long term relationships.

Of the 24 pilots on my Hamble course who joined BOAC, six divorced and eighteen are still married. I celebrate 40 years of marriage next month.

Gulfstreamaviator
3rd Sep 2013, 13:52
25 Dec The flight we are due to operate diverts due fog at Delhi airport, we remain in hotel with Xmas lunch provided by BOAC Catering. We are now OFF-SCHEDULE
26 Dec We are told to operate BA812 to HKG. The crew who should have taken that flight are not best pleased as they now have to stay in Delhi OFF-SCHEDULE

I was rejected by Hamble, and that's why I spent all my life in corporate aviation. I was considered unsuitable to be a BOAC Pilot....

Why would being OFF the schedule in India be a hardship, I assume Per Diems were still paid, but perhaps not sector or flight pay.....If I remember correctly, there were many increments added to basic pay and expenses.

Glf

crewmeal
3rd Sep 2013, 14:38
Allowances dear boy allowances. No one wanted to end up with Indian rupees that you couldn't exchange. Not only that the weather at that time wasn't very good for topping up the tan. Once you've done the sights there was very little else to do. I remember getting stuck in the floods of Calcutta for a week and walking over planks with rats swimming under them at the Oberoi. India wasn't a favourite at that time. I have all that on 8mm cine film. I must get round to transfering it.

Ian Burgess-Barber
3rd Sep 2013, 14:48
Hi Glf
You might note that in my first post I referred to hard currency. The main objection of most crew to being left in in Delhi for an unknown amount of time would be that the allowances (as always) are payed in local currency - in this case rupees. At that time these rupees could not be exported and changed into hard currency (except in HKG at a ludicrously poor rate). So if you were left in BAH or HKG or Aussie (or anywhere with hard currency) you were consoled by your prospering wallet whereas in India or Kenya the money was only worth anything if spent in situ.
Anyway Delhi in winter can be cool and foggy so the hotel pool is not so attractive, and not everyone enjoys curry!
IanBB

Oh I see crewmeal got in first - great minds etc.

Halcyon Days
4th Sep 2013, 08:41
I was VC10/707 cabin crew and probably needless to say the VC.10 was always the favoured fleet.
I did two 591's back to back on one occasion. The 591 was basically around the world heading West.
Route was London/New York/L.A/Hawaii/Fiji/Sydney/Auckland/and airline back to Sydney or Melbourne before moving on to Brisbane or Darwin (I think?) and. then Singapore/Delhi/Dubai and finally back to LHR.
Normal trips took 3 weeks but I was on one when a flare up of some sort occurred in the Middle East (nothing changes there does it!!) and they reduced the service to a couple of times a week instead of daily-so it took us close on 6 weeks to go all the way round.
I had 7 days off and was then on standby for three weeks and was called out on my first day to do another 591-just a short 3 week one this time though!!

crewmeal
4th Sep 2013, 11:12
Here is a link courtesy of British Pathe news showing a 10 minute clip of a BOAC 747 in it's original config with the upstairs lounge.

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/boac-jumbo-jet/query/BOAC+747

Regarding the upstairs lounge I remember looking after Sir David Frost back in the days when he commuted to New York. All he wanted was a plate of smoked salmon and to curl up and go to sleep. On landing he always had coffee and orange juice.

rog747
4th Sep 2013, 14:03
great early BOAC 747 video

anyone know where that airfield is in the opening landing?

also did anyone here operate the Palma Majorca charter flights on BOAC 747's
i think in 1971 and 1972 and following years for a while.

very short haul rather than long haul...

i went on holiday as a teen with mum and dad (begged them to book the 747
i think it was sovereign or silver wing holidays part of BEA)

it was Saturday afternoons if i recall summer only high season...

we had a terrible delay on the way out...the engines i recall

SOPS
9th Oct 2013, 19:07
The proper days of flying. Aircraft should have never been designed to fly longer than 8 hours. Just finished my last long haul flight, 17 hours in the air....we are too tired for room parties or anything else.

vctenderness
10th Oct 2013, 09:09
On the subject of off schedule operations. The worst I ever experienced was going out to Tokyo via Moscow in the middle of winter. The dread phone call came in the night to say we had been re scheduled to operate a VC10 service to Hong Kong and then onwards via Colombo and Bahrain to LHR.

The only problem with this is the fact that the crew all had kitted out for mid winter Moscow and Tokyo not Colombo and Bahrain. If you could have seen the faces of the other crew as we disembarked carrying fur coats and heavy overcoats in Colombo!

crewmeal
10th Oct 2013, 10:20
Some of the Australian 747 - 136 routes had BA9xx flight numbers back in the 70's. Some of the routes they took in addition to those mentioned were:

Direct Route

LHR - BAH - SIN - SYD - MEL (Sometimes transiting ZRH on some days)
LHR - MCT - SIN - SYD - MEL

Indirect routes:

LHR - FCO - DEL - BKK - HKG - SYD
LHR - BAH - BOM - HKG - SYD
LHR - BAH - SIN - PER - MEL - AKL
LHR - THR - BOM - HKG - SYD

There were probably other combinations as well and I remember being stuck in Darwin enroute to SYD during the cyclone. One service even went via MNL.

pax britanica
11th Oct 2013, 12:47
Crewmeal

That schedule list brings back some memories.

I had to go al the way to Sydney for a important meeting -despite my youth- and planned an arrival the day before. My BA 741 went tech in London and was delayed for hours. It was due late afternoon I think and father and gf had taken me to Heathrow- both in BA Ops and both amused by a PA that said 'further information will be give at 10pm.When I queried their smirks they said that's when the late shift leave and its not our problem anymore-in the end we took off about 5 am for Muscat . At SIN we had a leading edge flap prob that got cured but because it was the pneumatic alternate system meant no a/c during the stop.
Arrive in Sydney twelve hours late and an hour before the meeting due to start at 10 am -very very tired . I always remembered that MCT was the first stop but could not remember the second until your reminder..
I am sure the crew had a lot of fun back then -as well as working hard and having to put up with some ;challenges and I always enjoyed the times I met the crews off duty in places like HK-Bahrain, Doha, Bermuda,Seychelles -happy days
PB

The SSK
11th Oct 2013, 13:12
I remember from my BA check-in days, Qantas used to have a weekly 707 that flew London Bermuda Nassau Mexico City Acapulco Papeete Nandi Sydney.

How on earth would that have been crewed? Where would they slip and for how long?

barry lloyd
11th Oct 2013, 14:23
vctenderness:

Now regarding these Moscow nightstops. :) There was a story doing the rounds many years ago when the LHR-SVO-TYO crew used to stay in the Metropole in Moscow, that a certain incident took place to do with a chandelier. I checked this with the hotel manager some years ago and he confirmed it. I also checked it with the British Embassy press office in Moscow who also knew of the incident. It has since been attributed to a Canadian hockey team, but the manager denied this. It was said to have been the inspiration for the famous scene in 'Only Fools and Horses.'

Did you or any of your colleagues ever hear of this? Just curious, because it's a very funny story.

The SSK
11th Oct 2013, 14:47
That story was certainly doing the rounds in BA when I was there (pre-1980)

crewmeal
11th Oct 2013, 14:59
Did you or any of your colleagues ever hear of this? Just curious, because it's a very funny story.

The story that went round was that a crew member was checking his room to see if it had been bugged and found what looked like a bugging device. He unscrewed it and the chandelier crashed one floor below.

barry lloyd
11th Oct 2013, 15:40
crewmeal:

Yes, that's certainly the basics of what I was originally told (by a BOAC captain, but not the one who was on the flight!).

Albert Driver
11th Oct 2013, 20:01
It's a classic and brilliant story but if you think about the practicalities of it for half a minute, it doesn't stack up.

Remember it came from the age when people had to entertain themselves. There was no TV on much of the route network, BBC World Service only if someone had brought a radio. No Walkmans, let alone i-anything. The prime entertainment among crew members were individuals' party-pieces of various sorts, magic tricks, jokes, long shaggy-dog stories and general hot-gossip. But mainly stories - thousands of them. People made up the most amazing stuff to get a laugh at the next crew party.

I was lucky enough to spent time with a number of the great TV and film comics of the day, either travelling passenger with them (everyone travelled by scheduled airline, no private jets except for plutocrats) or by inviting them on to the flight deck, even to a crew party if they were staying at the same hotel. Without exception, they all wanted to hear the latest crew stories and many of those stories found their way into their own sketches. Naturally, when they had listened to our new stuff they would entertain us with theirs.

But most of the stories were just that - or embellishments of things that really happened - or might have happened if something else hadn't got in the way. It was a way of life to have something entertaining ready to tell at a moment's notice.
It didn't have to be true, only to be plausible ----- and very funny.

WHBM
11th Oct 2013, 20:46
In 1980 BA were still doing a weekly 747 operation Hong Kong to Johannesburg, as Cathay hadn't got into long haul ops by then. How was that crewed ? A triangle LHR-HKG-JNB-LHR ?

I remember from my BA check-in days, Qantas used to have a weekly 707 that flew London Bermuda Nassau Mexico City Acapulco Papeete Nandi Sydney.

How on earth would that have been crewed? Where would they slip and for how long? Yes, that must have been a challenge because this flight only operated once a week (leaving LHR on Saturdays), and Qantas had no other service to these points apart from Nandi, so slips would need to be one week at a time. Possibly crews were repositioned between Mexico City and San Francisco (in those days Qantas served only SFO in California, not Los Angeles).

This flight also got pretty poor loads (inevitably). It was the days of the 10 "assisted passage" for emigrants to Australia, so was a favourite to put such families onto rather than the more mainstream and heavily loaded routings. These pax must have ended up thinking that Australia was a very long way away.

Wunwing
11th Oct 2013, 21:56
SSK.
The Qantas Bermuda run was 2 a week.I operated on the last one as an FE.
The trip was 18 days out of Sydney, terminating in Bermuda. A London base crew did the last leg.
It wa not all that popular as most QF trips for Tech Crew at that time were about 10 days.
Wunwing

DaveReidUK
11th Oct 2013, 21:57
It didn't have to be true, only to be plausible ----- and very funny.snopes.com: Bugged Chandelier Bolt (http://www.snopes.com/embarrass/accident/bugrug.asp)

The SSK
11th Oct 2013, 22:30
This flight also got pretty poor loads (inevitably). It was the days of the 10 "assisted passage" for emigrants to Australia, so was a favourite to put such families onto rather than the more mainstream and heavily loaded routings. These pax must have ended up thinking that Australia was a very long way away.

Evidence please?

My recollection (and I checked it in often enough) is that it was just as full as the others. And it was very rare for emigrants to be booked on it.

Georgeablelovehowindia
11th Oct 2013, 22:43
For a factual account of the early days of BOAC's Trans-Siberian operations see:
Russia (USSR) Trans Siberian Start-up, by Brian Burgess (1969-1972) (http://betteronacamel.com/Russia-USSR-Trans-Siberian-Start-up-by-Brian-Burgess-1969-1972-)
Brian mentions a BOAC station officer being posted to Moscow, to do the flight planning. I was the second one posted, from 24/09/70 to 23/12/70. Note that Brian makes no mention of crashing chandeliers, and nothing of that nature happened in my time. The BOAC representative USSR, the catering officer and I were in the Metropole, but by the time I arrived the crew had for several weeks moved to the International, a more modern hotel a short walk away.

So yes, an amusing story, which always causes a wry smile when I hear it.

It's probable that our telephones were bugged, in which case it was more efficiently done than in Cairo where you used to hear the end of your previous conversation when you picked the phone up!

crewmeal
12th Oct 2013, 06:28
Albert your account of those days is so true. It was also noted that if you received a letter from a loved one whilst half way through a long trip it made all the difference. I lost count the number of times crew would check reception to see if there was a letter from home.

Now some of the more interesting trips that were going on the 747 fleet during the 70's. I haven't included 3 or 4 days Atlantic trips or Middle East night stops.

LHR - ANC - HND - ANC - LHR (5 days or 15 depended on the frequency)
LHR - JFK - BDA - JFK (shuttle) - LHR (5 days)
LHR - YYZ - PIK - YYZ - LHR (7 days)
LHR - JFK - MAN - JFK - LHR (7 days)
LHR - BDA - KIN - MEX (minimum rest) - KIN - BDA - LHR (14 days)
LHR - NAS - POS - NAS - LHR (7 days)
There were other Caribbean combinations that were night stops.

My luckiest trip:
LHR - NBO - MRU (1 week) - NBO - LHR (11 days) Qantas also had a similar trip on their SYD - PER - MRU 707 route. It really did make for such a brilliant trip.

LHR - NBO - JNB - NBO - LHR (7 days) - not popular because of SA pax!

There were also lots of pax trips which crews did together some with unsafe carriers, some with light aircraft. There were lots of interesting diversion trips when there were problems. The two I remember were:

LHR - NBO - JNB - CAI (4 days) - LHR - Israelis got their citizens out of Kampala after the Air France hijack.

DEL - THR (Divert KWI) (3 days) - LHR (Ayatollah came back from Paris)

I'm sure there were lots of others and there will always be weather diversions throwing you off your next roster.

Peter47
12th Oct 2013, 09:57
Very interesting thread and I'm currently looking at BOAC's 1971 timetable which helps it all make sense - here is the link again.

Index of /ttimages/ba2/ba71 (http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/ba2/ba71/)

Looking at crewmeal's rosters and Ian Burgess-Barber's post (#11), could someone tell me how much deadheading there was at the time as a proportion of hours flown? I would imagine that not much would be required to & from the USA & Canada but rather more on the Far East & Africa routes looking at the complexity of the schedules. Do you know how it would compare with other long haul carriers? Were crew paid for deadhead sectors the same way as for active sectors or was remuneration based on hours away from base?

crewmeal
12th Oct 2013, 10:15
could someone tell me how much deadheading there was at the time as a proportion of hours flown?

It all depended on the trip and the route. Where there was no direct BOAC service for example HKG - SIN crews would sometimes deadhead on CX. I did it a couple of times. As previously described there were trips where you would deadhead out and back to the Far East to cover for a 'National Girl' As the Days Overseas Allowances (DOA's) were based on meals at the hotel you would loose out because you will have had meals on the aircraft. The advantage there was duty free shopping.

Flightwatch
12th Oct 2013, 10:42
In 1980 BA were still doing a weekly 747 operation Hong Kong to Johannesburg, as Cathay hadn't got into long haul ops by then. How was that crewed ? A triangle LHR-HKG-JNB-LHR ?


I flew the 747C for BA in the mid to late 80s and the above flight was still being operated, twice a week as I remember. The full routing was LHR-ANC-NRT-HKG-CMB-SEZ-JNB and vv. It was flown by a 741 and held the record as the longest air route in the world at that time.

The crews were rostered for parts of the trip, to/from NRT was part of the daily operation there and the NRT-HKG sectors were flown by crews that had arrived or departed from/for LHR Similarly the sectors between HKG and CMB were flown as part of a triangular trip and so too was the CMB-SEZ-JNB. The latter was not much sought after as it was a 2 sector night flight with the "interesting" round the bay visual circling approach at SEZ in the monsoon at certain times of the year.