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Rothmans Aerobatic Team (& Others)

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Rothmans Aerobatic Team (& Others)

Old 20th Apr 2006, 22:59
  #161 (permalink)  
 
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Location: NSW Australia
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Many thanks PPP, captions now on pictures in Post 160; one a bit like a gossip mag, I'm afraid!
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Old 20th Apr 2006, 23:58
  #162 (permalink)  
 
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Sorry Tim, his memory is fading.
He did recall (despite trying to forget) a flight in a Tiger in the UK and has a letter from the CAA as a momento. Some-one threatened to transport him to the colonies.
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Old 21st Apr 2006, 22:46
  #163 (permalink)  
 
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I canít tell you how fantastic it is to see your pictures Tim. It was your team that inspired me in my early years. I never met you personally but when I joined the team in 1977 your team were already legends and heroes of mine. I first met Neil Williams when I was working for Rogers Aviation at Cranfield. He came in for fuel in an S1 Pitts. Having filled him up I was asked to swing the prop for him. Always difficult to start was a half hot injected Lycoming! The Hangar foreman had a fit and told me I couldnít do it. For Godís sakes! I had gone solo on a J3 cub and was the Tug pilot at Dunstable on Chipmunks, swinging props was a way of life! Neil, however, spotting trouble, sat me in the Pitts and swung the prop himself. After that I knew I had to be a part of it. Neil died a few years later in the Cassa 111 out of Cuatro Vientos. His death to me was like the death of Donald Campbell must have been to those a few generations earlier.

I saw your team for the first time at Old Warden, I had borrowed the tug from the Gliding club and arrived at the field, girl on my arm and as young as I was you could see the envy in the eyes of some of the crowd! As we were air-side we had ring-side seats and I will never forget Mike Finlay cutting the ribbon inverted.

What is most humbling about all of this, is that thousands of people would give their right arm to just meat their Heroes and those that inspire them. I not only did that but my Heroes became my colleagues and indeed my friends and I shared with them some very personal moments. I laughed with them and shed a tear with them once or twice as well.

Bob.
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 08:25
  #164 (permalink)  
 
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Bob,
I was at Cranfield 74-75. Neil brought the Zlin in a few times, I don't recall him bringing the Pitts. I was a regular at Old Warden too.
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 11:26
  #165 (permalink)  
 
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Yes indeed! it was a lovely little red number! Pitts S1. I can't remember the exact date or year for that matter.
What were you doing at Cranfeild? since we we obviously there at the same time.
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 12:03
  #166 (permalink)  
 
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Student - aerodynamics, flight test & design subjects.
Did a bit of gliding, bit in the Condor and the Pups. Tiger at Cambridge.
Engineering exercises in the Jetstream & Paris.
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Old 22nd Apr 2006, 23:08
  #167 (permalink)  
 
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DJPIL...Gosh! that brings back some memories! Those noisy Jetstreems I remember well, but I had forgotton about the Paris Jet. Do you remember the TSR II and the Bolton+Paul Delta wing prototype?

Bob.
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Old 28th Apr 2006, 08:04
  #168 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: NSW Australia
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Just got back from a most enjoyable week down the coast with Mrs T escaping the grandchildren, so have only just seen your post, Bob. So glad you liked the pictures, courtesy of PPP, and many thanks for your kind comments. I suspect you enjoyed your time with the team as much as I did, one of the treasured memories of my aviating life, not only because of the flying but also the chaps.

I had known Iain since being at Cranwell together, and Manx and I were on the same Canberra squadron together, so that was a good start. I had of course heard of Neil, but never met him, and did not know Mike before. And then David Perrin, of whom I have spoken before, lovely chap, great loss. Can't imagine a better bunch to be with.

Neil mentioned my name to the Falcon Jet company he part timed for, and when I joined I inherited his set of Jeppesons after he was lost in Spain. Very sad, but many thanks to him for his introduction which led to fifteen odd years of happy employment.

No worries, djpil, I'm not surprised Phil didn't remember the odd chap from those days, but wouldn't mind hearing the Tiger Moth story one day!
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Old 4th May 2006, 06:54
  #169 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
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Hi folks,
Not exactly on thread but a nice recollection of Marcus Edwards.
We were all instructors at the RJAA(Royal Jordanian Air Academy)
Lee Jones was the boss and had organised a 12 ship formation display in Wadi Rum for the benefit of Flight magazine. Lee was not renowned for high flying and the whole thing was pretty hairy, especially if you were on the outside as i was. Anyway the pictures got taken and it was a very succesful day. On the way back up to Amman we were tailchasing through the wadi's, Markus with one of the Flight team on board. It was a warm day and he had the canopy of his Bulldog open. You can probably guess the rest. At some point they were inverted (much more fun!) and all the film, cameras etc were dropped somewhere in the desert. I guess they are still there because they were never found. The only momento of the day were some pic's taken from the ground in Wadi Rum. If I remember correctly, one of these made it into the magazine.
Happy Days!!
PS If anyone has a copy of the picture I would much appreciate it!
Cheers
Old Fart
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Old 4th May 2006, 07:34
  #170 (permalink)  
 
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I get the impression that everyone who flew with Marcus has an interesting tale to tell. For me, one of several was when he destroyed a boyhood illusion which formed when I saw the members of the Red Pelicans sipping orange juice at an air display in Cardiff. I was in awe of their keen blue eyes and perfect complexions. To me they looked like gods.

Twenty years later I was in the right seat of a Red Pelican JP5 with Marcus in the left seat and, at the hold, I looked across at his blood shot eyes over the oxygen mask and wondered. At the end of a most memorable flight we walked into the bar at Little Rissington and the steward looked up and asked "Same again sir?". To be fair, he was on leave at the time and only came to work to take me up. RIP.
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Old 12th May 2006, 12:46
  #171 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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Rothmans and Marlboro

embarking on a search for information about the Stolp Acroduster Too, I happened upon this thread. I was so intrigued, I decided to add my humble piece of information.

In 1979, whilst beginning my PPL at Teesside, I was smitten by a Rothmans Pitts S2A weaving its way along the taxyway. A little like Toad from Wind in The Willows, all else was completely forgotten until this thing of beauty passed by. I wanted one!

About the same time as I gained my PPL, I heard that Rothmans had decided to withdraw their sponsorship of the team and the operating company, Anvil Aviation, was to shut down its operation at Teesside. During 1981, Bob Thompson was temporarily based at Teesside and frequented the Cleveland Flying Club. During one of his visits to the club I asked him if it would be possible to have some aerobatic instruction from him in the Pitts he had retained. There followed about five hours instruction, with me, as happy as a dog with two wotsits, finally being supervised through a basic sequence of loops, rolls of the top, slow rolls, fourpoint rolls, stall turns and cuban eights, all at quite a low level. Then Bob showed me a similar sequence how it should be done and at a considerably lower level! Bliss!
I'll never forget some of the interesting things we got up to, with and without smoke.

The aircraft I flew in was G-BGSE and I think it was virtually brand new. Many years later, for my 40th birthday, I treated myself to a session of aerobatics with Alan Cassidy at White Waltham. The aircraft was, as I recall, G-TIII. What I didn't know then was that it was G-BGSE re-registered.

Having had a long period away from flying, I decided in 2004 to return to chase my dream of flying aerobatics and acquired myself a Pitts S1, G-OKAY. After several hours of re-acquainting myself with tailwheel aircraft and being checked out in an S2, I fulfilled my 25 year old dream and took to the air in my very own Pitts. Dreams can often turn into nightmares and mine did so on this occasion. I made several mistakes which culminated in a crash landing on my first flight. Yes, I was the twit who damaged the ex - Marlboro Pitts S1. I'm now flying another aerobatic biplane and one day I will have another Pitts. Next time, however, it will be the one I should have had, an S2A. The dream hasn't died.

Several years ago, I contacted Rothmans and acquired some copies of photographs of the team. They are similar to those that have been posted, so I don't think they would contribute anything new. Something that might be of interest, however. Around 1979 - 1981, I believe one of the team's aircraft suffered an engine problem and had to carry out a forced landing. I think Brian Lecomber was the pilot. I'm sure there was a photograph of the aircraft inverted on the ground published in the Northern Echo. One day, when I have little else to do, I might search this out.
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Old 12th May 2006, 13:15
  #172 (permalink)  
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Welcome to PPRuNe Paul, great post!

There was an entertaining "I learned about Flying From That" by the excellent Mike Riley in Pilot a few years back about his first flight in the Aerobatics International Pitts G-AZPH. I can't recall the technical specifics, but suffice to say the prop parted company with the rest of the airframe, and with just a few minutes on type and no landings under his belt, Mike had to squeeze it into a small paddock. Which ended with the Pitts on its back! I know it's in the pile of recently re-read mags, I'll see if I can find it again...

By the way, I think 'ZPH is inverted again, hanging from the roof of the Science Museum!
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Old 12th May 2006, 22:04
  #173 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Pitts upside down in the grass

We had a number of engine failures! Those engines worked very hard. The incident in question (Paul Zebedee above) happened in 1979 I think, but it wasn't an engine failure! We had flown all the way back from the Canaries after a short tour over there. The same tour that George Smith crashed and died. It took a number of days to fly home and we had some exciting moments. Going into Rennes in France the cloud base was too low, so we followed the Islander in close (Very Close) formation and followed it down the ILS. when the runway came into view the Islander did a go-around and we all landed on the runway at the same time. The Air traffic controller wasn't expecting that and went ballistic! Screeming down the radio that we were not allowed to do that, Bob Thomson simply pressed the TX and said casually "well we're not taking off again".

We arrived in England at Lydd and cleared customs, well sort of. The customs chaps had a baby over the amount of Rothmans Cigarettes we had on board the Islander. "We're the Rothmans team, for gods sakes, what did you expect!" They told us we would have to pay duty on them so we said they could keep them. They couldn't do that so in the end they just told us to take our fags and piss off. Marcus, meanwhile, was giggling hysterically over a stupid joke I had told him about an Irish man who went to the drive-in cinema, didn't like the film so he slashed the seats. Anyway...

Approaching Teeside the weather was once again appalling, we were having real trouble getting even close. the Islander had gone off on some errand or other, so we were on our own, following Bob in a Bad Weather Battle formation. The whole thing was becoming impossible. I was number 2 behined Bob and Marcus was behined me, then Mike Finlay. Bob Thomson had to hop over some Pylons, I did the same and went into cloud. When I came back out Bob had dissapeared from sight and suddenly I was in the lead. Marcus came along side pointing in some direction but I gestured back that I was going down and landing. Field landings was something I knew I could do, I had been a Glider Tug pilot for a year or two. I found my field and was just about to land when I saw Mike Fin approching the same field from another direction. He hadn't seen me so I let him land and watched carefully! I followed him in. We were safe and having some kind of chat when Bob Thomson flew over, turned back and landed as well. Three Pitts in one field but where the hell was Marcus? Did you Guess? Yes that's it, he was upside down in another field! Apparently it was some kind of crop that looked like beautiful grass from the air but it was about two foot high. He hit the stuff and went clean over. He was very lucky. So remember, Tufts and turds! that's short grass anything else might overturn you!!

Bob Lee
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Old 13th May 2006, 11:27
  #174 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by treadigraph
By the way, I think 'ZPH is inverted again, hanging from the roof of the Science Museum!
That would be this one then:-

g45
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Old 30th May 2006, 10:44
  #175 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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Amazing what you find...

Hi Bob, Norman, Rod and all others here -

Amazing what you find when you scratch around on the net! It was an absolute delight to come across you guys here, especially since my time with the team(s) was undoubtedly the most enjoyable time of my entire working life to date.

It's Sue (Sue Brown as I was then), Promotions Executive from 1979 until Rothmans disbanded the teams in favour of returning to Formula 1 racing.
After staying with the company for another 12 months to set up an in-house publishing operation, I missed the buzz too much and moved on! I did stay in touch with Jeanne for a while, but lost contact when I moved to Australia in the mid-80s.

You're right, Norman, there should be a book! Reading these threads triggers so many memories - joining the team for the Greek tour; the Playboy 25th birthday party - remember that? Nor could I ever forget the rides on the Harley, Bob...

I've come to the conclusion that having any kind of contact with the team carries a certain kudos (and why wouldn't it?) wherever you are in the world. A couple of years ago, I accompanied a friend to a flying school at Bankstown, Sydney. He'd mentioned to his instructor that I'd worked with the team - and did I get attention! Not only did I get quizzed for just about everything I could remember, but one of the guys took me up for a joyride in a Cessna and proceeded to take me through a series of stall turns and barrel rolls. I had to remind him that my job had been on the ground - unaccustomed as I am to G-force, it's a bloody good thing he didn't keep me up there for too long!

Such a shame that Rothmans pulled the plug and the proposed Australasian tour never got off the ground (pardon the pun) - it would have been a blast.

Anyway, great to know you're here, and all respect to the memory of those who are no longer with us. Now where did I put all my old photos...?

Cheers, Sue

[[email protected]]
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Old 30th May 2006, 12:35
  #176 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Well if you're suffering long-term withdrawal symptoms from the Pitts I've got a lovely S-2C at Camden....
http://images.google.com.au/imgres?i...lr%3D%26sa%3DG
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Old 30th May 2006, 14:08
  #177 (permalink)  
 
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Indeed she IS lovely, HappyJack - I might have to pop down and take a closer look one of these days!
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Old 3rd Jun 2006, 19:17
  #178 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs up

Wow - can't believe this thread - and can't sleep either.

Grew up watching the Rothmans team at Finningley air displays and saw some of the Marlboro team a/c at Booker in the mid 80's.

Great to read the Aussie connections. I have time on some Pitts out of Bankstown and Camden that I believe are still around. I flew them over 10 yrs go now. I miss Pitts flying.

VH-FFF S2A - I still have an "award" from ground looping it in 93. Ouch !
VH-PIG S2S ex Royal Jordian AF aerobatic team. Awesome.
VH-ZZZ S2B - the infamous 'indoor Pitts' - had the tailwheel seize up and dig a rut in the Camden runway. Stopped pretty quick though !

As has been written - "there is nothing, absolutely nothing like flying a Pitts Special".

To the guys who flew with RAT - it's all your fault ! Ask my mum.
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Old 3rd Jun 2006, 23:22
  #179 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Aussie Pitts

VH-FFF - so-called because the owner reckoned that "if it flies, floats or f***s, it's cheaper to rent than to buy") is still at Bankstown. It's been somewhat in the wars over the years. Apart from that ground loop, a student managed to taxi it into the tailplane of another aircraft on the taxiway; then the owner had a mid-air collision with another Pitts during a mock dogfight and the operator got pinged by CASA for under-recording the hours and ordered to increase logbook times by 40% or so.
VH-PIG - still at Bankstown, though it spent several years in the hangar until the owner could afford a new engine. I believe it's operating now.
VH-ZZZ - now in Victoria (Morrabbin, I think).
Camden has the Pitts S-2C (VH-JAX) and a Pitts S-2B (VH-TKV). I've flown them both, and whilst I have to admit to being biased, I'm a great fan of the S-2C. It's a little easier to land (but still quite a different proposition compared to the average trainer) and the 3-blade prop and improved controls make it feel significantly more powerful and higher performance than the 'B.
You should take a flying holiday in Sydney - park yourself in the B&B across the road from Camden airfield, and come and get some serious hours on the Airborne Aviation S-2C. 2- 3 hours a day and you'd be back up to speed in no time!
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Old 4th Jun 2006, 04:40
  #180 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs up

HappyJack260

Why thank you. Next time I'm down I will definately look you up.

K
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