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Did You Fly The Vulcan?? (Merged)

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Did You Fly The Vulcan?? (Merged)

Old 25th Aug 2020, 08:09
  #2061 (permalink)  
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BB, combat rules, you just might have been lucky. No notice check and if only 2 crew members present they still got all the questions to answer. I remember one uncomfortable interrogation by Joe Sievright, I just did not understand the question "how would you get to your target"

Few wing staff took that responsibility seriously. It was certainly mandated. Jock McColl was more interested in golf. Joe Quinn didn't get involved. Bill Cooper did until he managed to lose the responsibility. Dick Emerson and John Stanley didn't know there was a Vault. Spike Hughes was too busy doing his multiple secondary duties and his replacement, Digger Booth just kept his head down.

In Cyprus we still did target study and had two or three keen wing staff. IIRC we only covered 3 targets as there was no QRA and no sqn detachment plan.
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 09:24
  #2062 (permalink)  
 
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Bill Cooper was a very good O/C BNS, as was his successor, Ian Topping, and his, Gordon MacLachlan, - you felt that they were on your side.

Last edited by Barksdale Boy; 25th Aug 2020 at 10:00. Reason: memory
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 10:36
  #2063 (permalink)  
 
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Petet:

PN has summarised the ground training which included:
Target study,
Intelligence reading and study,
Weapons Standardisation (Nuclear weapon knowledge and procedures both academic quizes, training / tests on a rig and actual procedures around a real aircraft)
Aircraft systems knowledge - examined both airborne and academically by the Group Standardisation Unit

Any and all of the above was additionally examined by external and NATO examiners during the roughly annual Taceval process.

Flying was largely driven by BTR requirements but since you ask about a typical year, and since I am bored at the moment and have my logbook to hand here is 1976 flying:

January BTR + Double Top (Bombing Comp ) training. this, of course counted towards BTRs
Feb More Double Top training, some of which was flown from Bedford during a dispersal exercise (Index)
March Double Top training
April BTR + Ranger to Malta including 2 Italian low level routes, again, counting towards BTRs
May BTR + Ex Scorer ( Group sponsored I think, including BTRs Low level route, 2 x LL targets, EW run and First Run Attack on a UK range)
June BTRs including another Bedford dispersal and fly off
July BTR + 3 Co pilot ICC trips. I must have offended someone that month!
Aug BTRs at Goose Bay
Sept BTRs including Ex Blue Moon (Can't remember what that was)
Oct Goose and Offutt ranger -including 3 low level trips - all counting to BTRs
Nov BTR
Dec BTRs, Convex training on posting to a new Sqn and Crew.

So, to summarise, Some flying crew planned to achieve BTRs, some flying externally directed (exercises, rangers etc) but still designed to achieve BTR.
The crew classification scheme can perhaps wait for another day.
What is the interest petet, writing a book or just curious??

TL
PS. Sorry AEOs, I forgot EW training. Trying to identify various squeaks and groans heard on the warning receiver as given radars and systems (Fiddler, Big Nose Ash!!) You guessed it, this too was a BTR!

Last edited by Timelord; 25th Aug 2020 at 11:08. Reason: PS
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 12:41
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TL, he has a website for 35 Sqn.
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 13:33
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Originally Posted by Barksdale Boy
Bill Cooper was a very good O/C BNS, as was his successor, Ian Topping, and his, Gordon MacLachlan, - you felt that they were on your side.
Ah yes, Ian T. He was an instructor at Lindholme. Interesting tale about first night dates but I won't spill the beans so to say.
He next tour was at a NATO HQ in Denmark. That of course in the days when the RAF would be wearing blues when crisped and no tin hats. Come exercises the Germans would run around with coal scuttles. One said "Why do you British not wear helmets?"

Tapping his head, Ian said "We British have thicker skulls, that is why we won the war."
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 13:55
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A problem with sortie planning, especially at Cottesmore was the aircraft fit would drive the sortie plan often causing a complete replan after a late aircraft change. A full 'standard ' training sortie with high and low level navigation and bombing might suddenly have to be changed to accommodate a mandatory ECM monitor run at 112AT Stornaway. As this was essential to the operational mission it overrode everything else. Or the aircraft might be loaded with 100lb Practice Bombs and a mandatory T4 bombsight calibration sortie, again secondary operational necessity. Worse was being given a fatigue limited aircraft necessitating cancellation of a planned low level trip.

With the change to low level operations aircraft fatigue became a major problem. Fatigue management centred around controlling fatigue life consumption until the next major service. Fatigue meters were fitted in the rear cockpit and G readings recorded after every flight. From memory any G was clicked off against letters A to H on the meter. A was a very small amount of G and could click up quite merrily. For G you might not even get one count in a sortie. I remember one flight over a Greek island where we hit a standing wave and there was a real crunch. We clocked an H count or two and I think the aircraft had to be checked out.
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 14:55
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Timelord

As PN says, I am in the process of documenting the history of No 35 Squadron (1916-1982) [non-commercial / educational project] so that it can be preserved for future generations. It's a labour of love, driven by the fact that my partner's grandfather was lost whilst serving with the squadron in 1945.

I update the website (currently about 1500 pages) as and when I can (and I provide families with details about their relative's service with the squadron) ...... at the moment I am trying to drill down on the post war era, learning as I go along, so help from forums such as this are invaluable.

If I can get the "generic" headings correct, it makes it easier to drill down, and, more importantly, it ensures that I get the history documented correctly, hence my earlier question

Regards

PeteT
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 16:35
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Good luck. I was never on 35 but happy to help if I can. (50 and 44 1974-79)

TL
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 17:28
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Based on feedback, the Activity section on my 1982 page now reads as follows (although I am not sure targets were relevant at this point in time)
  • Aircrew Training Programme
    • Ground Training Programme (including subjects such as Targets, Intelligence, Weapons and Aircraft Systems)
    • Flying Training Programme (in accordance with the Basic Training Requirement [BTR] Scheme)
    • Ground / Airborne Checks and Classifications
  • Flying Activities documented in the Record Book during the year included:
    • Rangers
    • Navigation / Bombing Competitions
      • Red Flag 82-2 (January / February 1982)
Note: In support of the above, engineering personnel (who were on strength of the squadron and who continued to receive training in their designated trade) carried out (a) operational ground activities and (b) first-line rectification of faults, on a day to day basis

Am I heading in the right direction?

(It is worth noting that the squadron disbanded in February 1982, hence the lack of flying activity)
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 21:19
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Flying Training Programme (in accordance with the Basic Training Requirement [BTR] Scheme)
Not sure I’ve read the whole thread but I’d never heard of BTR. I was on and off V Force from ‘63 to ‘81 but not on Vulcans and not on ‘bombers’. I remember having to get ‘ticks on boards’ but it didn’t seem very rigorous on PR or on Tankers. We had to do the equivalent of Target Study but that often involved playing cards in the ‘vault’.
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 22:34
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BUT a replaced the Classification scheme in the late 60s. As its name implies, it was supposed to be the minimum events to maintain crew proficiency. It was a one size fits all approach. The previous scheme was based on an average of 300 hours per crew per year but ranged from 320 for a new crew to 240 for a Select Star crew. Many of the latter's hours could be overseas rangers. In contrast the BTR set out the same number of navex, bomb runs, approaches of each type.

As with the previous scheme combat grades were largely dependent on bombing results.

A failure of the BTR system, and it was not confined to the V-Force, was the need to tick all the boxes by the end of the 6 month period. If for instance the requirement was 6 ILS approaches logic would suggest one per month. If at month 5 you were 3 short what as the benefit of squeezing in 3 more when basic requirements were one a month?

Other aspects on the ground training side would cover egress drills, fighter drills, para landing drills, annual refresher training and annual combat survival exercise.

Of these latter we were a precious resource and our fitness could not be jeopardized by risky exercises. Our CS at Cottesmore was a day out, construction of a shelter, and cooking on a fire. The Sqn was bused to Folkingham airfield and we got out with a rat pack, parachute and some bits and pieces. We were in a,partially wooded area of an over grown bomb dump. After a by The of foraging we got a suitable pitch, created a suspension para teepee, found an old radio crate, found some coke, and soon had a good cooking fire going. At endex we cleaned camp. The following year we reclaimed our pitch, 30 minutes later we had the radio crate cooker back in use. I wonder if it's still there.
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 15:11
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Does anyone have a photograph of the Bristol Siddeley Trophy.

I have photographs of it being handed over to 35 Squadron (1975 to 1977) but I don't have one showing the trophy detail

Can anyone help?
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Old 19th Jan 2021, 23:06
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In-Flight Refuelling

Can anyone enlighten me on why "in-flight" refuelling training was introduced in May 1964?. Was it linked to the introduction of low level attacks in February 1964 or was it for other reason(s), or was it ..... just because

Any help would be much appreciated

Regards

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Old 20th Jan 2021, 09:50
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Pete, short answer, it wasn't introduced in Feb 64. Flight refuelling was introduced much much earlier with record breaking flights to Africa and Australia. There had also been trials for airborne alert.

The reason for introducing inflight refuelling to the Vulcan Mk 2 force and specifically the Coningsby Wing was for the Far East reinforcement role. The V-Force had two reinforcement operations: the Near East where two squadrons would be based at RAF Luqa, and initially this was assigned to the Waddington Wing and the Far East where it was assigned to the Cottesmore/Honington Wing.
In Malta a purpose build apron was built. At Tengah two purpose built sqn complexes were built.
The Far East plan required the rapid reinforcement by two sqns of 16 aircraft. Flight refuelling offered the opportunity to deploy the two squadrons in 24 to 48 hours. It would require the Valiant tanker force to deploy and set up the route with tankers at El Adem, Khormaksar and Gan. I don't know how many tankers would be required but they would have been on a continuous rotation to meet the bombers. The Coningsby Wing assumed the role in September 1964 before it had worked up to an IOC. The grounding of the Valiants put an end to the Valiant/Vulcan training. In April 1965 the Cottesmore Wing deployed 2 squadrons via Akrotiri, Bahrein (I think) and Gan without flight refueling.
The Victor K1 limitations precluded a similar operation and the planned draw down from East of Suez ended the need.
The grounding of the Valiants, the planned withdrawal of the Victor and the withdrawal of the Mk 1a Vulcans reduced the UK contribution to SACEURs nuclear arsenal and the Government (Harold Wilson) was under pressure not to reduce our contribution further be having a permanent detachment in the Far East.
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Old 20th Jan 2021, 11:21
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In-Flight Refuelling

Thanks, as always, for your comprehensive response. In terms of timings, I should have said why did 35 Squadron start in-flight refuelling training in May 1964 .... but your post explains that quite clearly, so I have got the information I need.

Going back to some of our previous discussions, I am still struggling to establish when BTR was formally introduced and whether there was a name / term for its forerunner .... but I am still working on that one

It all keeps me out of mischief!.

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Old 3rd Oct 2021, 16:56
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In late 1964 / early 1965, the Flight Simulator Instructor at Cottesmore appears to have flown 3 operational sorties with No 35 Squadron. Does anyone know if this was normal practice (or does anyone have any thoughts / comments on the matter)

Regards

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Old 3rd Oct 2021, 17:05
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Do you have a name?

I think at that time the Sim Instructors were qualified Vulcan pilots though around then things were changing. Pilots not deemed suitable for a Captaincy were posted away from the V-Force and similarly end of Service pilots might be posted in to the Sim slots.
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Old 3rd Oct 2021, 17:14
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He was a qualified Vulcan Pilot with 83 Squadron prior to the posting to Cottesmore as Instructor .... as I say he (Conway) then appears in the 35 Squadron ORBs as 2nd Pilot (possibly as a fill in over the New Year period???)
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Old 3rd Oct 2021, 17:27
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Originally Posted by Petet
Going back to some of our previous discussions, I am still struggling to establish when BTR was formally introduced and whether there was a name / term for its forerunner .... but I am still working on that one

It all keeps me out of mischief!.
Looking at my Log Book I was Select Star on the 31st Dec 65. My next rating was Combat on 1st Jul 66 and Senior on 1st Jan 67. I think it safe to say that the new system of BTR was introduced on 1st Jan 66. A similar progression was true on my 2nd tour where we were Combat at the end of the first 6 months. There was certainly a name for the system before BTRs but I have no record of it.

The training criteria was similar between the two systems with each crew member required to complete a number of evolutions in that period. Some were not logical.

Of the bombing stats, which of course concerned my directly, the early system was based on a 50% score from a minimum number of attacks. If you failed to get, say, 2 out of 4 inside the 50% accuracy you simply continued and dropped a few more to correct that.

Under the new system you still had an accuracy level but one not based on 50% but a specific number within the zone. For instance it might be 6 out of 8 within 400 yards. Now if you got 2 out followed by 6 in that was sufficient. However if you got only 6 out of 9 you had to continue until you had a 6 out or 8 tally. One crew in Cyprus wee determined to achieve Command status (they did in the end) but had to make some 16 attacks to get the magic sequence. That rather defeated but the BTR and the Command system.

The early system was based around an annual allowance of 300 hours but new crews could expect to get extra sorties to around 320 and the Select Star crews maybe 280 or less. Under the BTR system it followed that the minimum continuation training requirement, say one simulated double engine failure after take-off (DEFATO) had to be done by all crews regardless of experience. Hours were therefore allocated equally.
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Old 3rd Oct 2021, 17:29
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Originally Posted by Petet
He was a qualified Vulcan Pilot with 83 Squadron prior to the posting to Cottesmore as Instructor .... as I say he (Conway) then appears in the 35 Squadron ORBs as 2nd Pilot (possibly as a fill in over the New Year period???)
That might have been Barry. Grabbing hours of keeping current was not unknown then.
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