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Did You Fly The Vulcan?? (Merged)

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Did You Fly The Vulcan?? (Merged)

Old 5th Oct 2021, 10:56
  #2081 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
That might have been Barry. Grabbing hours of keeping current was not unknown then.
Thanks, as always, for your interest

This is the information sent by the original enquirer on the 35 Squadron Facebook Page "Does anyone know anything about my father, Flt Lt Louis Bernard James (Jim) Conway? We moved to Cottesmore in 1964, were there for 2-3 years. I believe he was involved with the Vulcan simulator?".

Subsequent information provided by the enquirer via a PM states that he served as a Captain on 83 Squadron prior to the posting to Cottesmore
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Old 30th Oct 2021, 10:42
  #2082 (permalink)  
 
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I've spent best part of my spare time of the past weeks reading through the thread, absolutely fascinating.
Would I be pushing buttons by asking what was the story behind XL390 accident that was so heatedly debated 15 years ago on this thread?
I've exhausted my interweb search skills trying to find the final chapter but to no avail.
Would anyone in the know be willing to shed some light on this? I believe that the 30 year mark passed us 13 years ago.
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Old 30th Oct 2021, 14:10
  #2083 (permalink)  
 
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Crashed during an air display. The crash occurred after a possible stall at around 400 ft (120 m), during a wing-over. The plane crashed into a landfill just north of Willow Road to avoid surrounding residential areas. Photo of the aircraft at Glenview a few moments prior to the crash. Another discussion.

vulcan xl390 12 august 1978 glenview nas


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Old 30th Oct 2021, 14:36
  #2084 (permalink)  
 
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Thank you megan, actually I did read that thread earlier but it did not enlighten any more than the apparent stall.
What led to the stall and what were the findings of the (inevitable) investigation are the questions puzzling me (as were apparently the core of the debate years ago).

Edit: to give reasoning for my query to those that have not read or have forgotten what was discussed in this topic in 2006, there was a lot of debate on this thread of the accident, but many stated that they will not open the case any further until 30 years have passed since the accident. It's been 43 years now, and I am kindly asking if more details may be told now.
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Old 30th Oct 2021, 17:54
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I was a Nav Radar on a Waddington squadron at the time, and our crew did the Chicago display the next year. I think it is uncontroversial to say that the rules for selecting, training and supervising display pilots at that time were a lot less rigorous than they are now, and were tightened up partly as a result of this accident. This crew had the Squadron Commander as the Nav Plotter. The aircraft was based at NAS Glenview but the display was over the water in front of downtown Chicago. They flew the display with a four man crew whilst the plotter (Sqn Cdr ) went to the display site. For whatever reason the crew elected to do an impromptu display at Glenview before proceeding to the display proper. It went horribly wrong during a wing over and a rate of descent developed that meant they could not recover.

I believe that the Board also highlighted possible fatigue as a result of their Scampton - Glenview itinerary. As a result we had a very leisurely time the next year. Everyone we met spoke extremely highly of the deceased crew and there was a memorial plaque in base ops.
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Old 30th Oct 2021, 18:35
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Timelord, thank you for the explanation.
Was it ever established what caused the stall at wing over? I read somewhere a speculation that two engines may have been on idle and turning towards powered engines caused the descent.

And I want to emphasize that I am in no way looking for anyone to blame. I would just plain and simply like to understand what happened.
I have no malicious intent.
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Old 30th Oct 2021, 19:39
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Beamr,

I had left the Vulcan force when this accident occurred, but I knew the captain well. It happened a long way away with little resource on site for some time. I would not for a moment suggest that the investigation was in any way cursory but it was hampered by the time delay in getting RAF investigators to the scene. Factor in that this occurred nearly 50 years ago, investigation techniques were less well developed and that the aircraft carried no flight recorders and you will immediately see the difficulty in coming to a definitive conclusion.

As Timelord points out, this was an impromptu "display" and we cannot be entirely sure of the sequence of manoeuvres or the pilot's intentions. If you wish to try and understand how a large aircraft can be put in an unrecoverable situation in a display manoeuvre then I suggest that you read this report on the loss of Nimrod XV239 at Toronto in 1995. However I must emphasise that there is no way of knowing if this bears any relation to what happened at Glenview. The answer in that case is that we shall never know as the evidence wasn't there at the time and certainly won't be found now.

YS

Last edited by Yellow Sun; 30th Oct 2021 at 20:08.
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Old 31st Oct 2021, 03:37
  #2088 (permalink)  
 
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Yellow sun, thank you for the answer, it is very much appreciated.
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Old 31st Oct 2021, 04:07
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Nimrod XV239 accident in Toronto. I was there that day and remember it well. Absolutely dreadful to witness.

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Old 31st Oct 2021, 04:27
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Timelord, any idea why some posters on PPRuNe have been so trenchant in their demands that the XL390 accident not be discussed?
It's been 43 years now, and I am kindly asking if more details may be told now
The record was to be released in 2008 I think it was, question is where to access it, Kew or DOD?
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Old 31st Oct 2021, 07:56
  #2091 (permalink)  
 
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I read also about different attack profiles (2H etc) and sneaking in fast and low, going vertical and release at whatever height. Then there were the crew specific unofficial escape plans which apparently varied from picking a suitable target to take with the ac to try and reach a comfortable tropical island. Officially I believe the instructions were to find a friendly country and contact air attaches et al in case there was nothing to return to (discomforting thought).
However, were there any preferred/proposed flight profiles with most likely chance to evade the blast after release? In a very short summary: V-force goes in fast and low, a bit of manoeveuring, climb and release and what next?
Or was it more a case of "every crew for themselves, best of luck boys"?
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Old 31st Oct 2021, 08:54
  #2092 (permalink)  
 
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Megan
I think there were two main reasons: all the people that needed to know had been told; and out of respect for the family members of the dead.
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Old 31st Oct 2021, 13:17
  #2093 (permalink)  
 
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Megan, I think that what YS and I have posted is about all there is to know for sure. .Everything else is speculation, and that is a bad thing where fatalities and families are involved.

Beamr, Not sure about Vulcans ever “going vertical” ,and as for “ fast and low” , 415kts was the absolute airframe limit “ on a once only operational basis” . With the WE177 weapon all the releases were level releases at low level and escape was by continuing in a straight line! Would we have survived? Who knows. Did we care? Not really, because there would certainly be nothing left at home by then.

All the targets I ever saw had theoretical recovery bases but they would all certainly have been targeted by then so we never took that bit of the plan very seriously. The only way we would ever have reached a “comfortable tropical island” would be by heading West after take off rather than East!

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Old 31st Oct 2021, 13:50
  #2094 (permalink)  
 
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Thank you again Timelord, so it was a straight line escape.
I probably misunderstood a bit regarding the blue steel that it would've required a pitch up to separate the bugger properly from the ac?

I realize that the tropical island part was stated in a bit tongue in cheek (and a quick glimpse at the world map confirmed that), it just caused some chuckles to read of that cunning plan presented by another ppruner years ago.

On a more light note this story really made me laugh out loud (my bolding on the story)

Originally Posted by threeputt View Post
All this talk of jettisoning canopies and stuff brought to mind Waddo in the mid 70's. Sat in the 50 Sqn crewroom probably "syphing on somebodies donk" when loud explosion type noise was heard from the direction of the threshold of RW 21. Flt Cdr Air's (Sqn Ldr John P******x) No 1 and 2 engines had just suffered catastrophic failure on run up to brakes off. Sh*t and flames every where. This has clearly got everyones attention, not to mention Fg Off Geoff D****n, the screen Nav Rad, who decided that this was definatley not for him and so he blew open the crew door and climbed out with the intention of "f*****g off in fine pitch" up wind of the pretty impressive conflagration which was rapidly getting more intense by the second. Only one small problem however, which was that he had forgotten to disconnect his umbilical cord (imbicile cord in his case) and so there is this hillarious picture of Geoff running into wind, pulling the largest parachute you have ever seen. His legs seemed to be doing 90kts IAS, body 1kt groundspeed ! Funniest thing I have ever seen! Anyone know where the little wart is these days?

And 3 Putts again!

All in all, as stated, this thread is absolute gold, both in stories and knowledge shared by the ones in the know. It has existed for 18 years (who would've imagined it at the time?), but I hope it survives at least another 18 years for the next gen also to read, learn and laugh.
p.s. thank you for the mods for not deleting this over the XL390 dispute.
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Old 31st Oct 2021, 14:02
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Beamr
What you should know is that many of us enjoyed it enormously.
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Old 31st Oct 2021, 14:44
  #2096 (permalink)  
 
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I truly believe you sir, it comes across through the texts.
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Old 1st Nov 2021, 04:24
  #2097 (permalink)  
 
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all the people that needed to know had been told; and out of respect for the family members of the dead
An interesting approach to accident investigation, all accidents are just repeats of something that has happened previously, so perhaps don't publish the results of any of them, likewise where there are casualties, less publication upsets families. The fuss made unfortunately gives the impression that there was something untoward being hidden. Thank you both for your explanations.
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 22:14
  #2098 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Beamr View Post
I read also about different attack profiles (2H etc) and sneaking in fast and low, going vertical and release at whatever height. Then there were the crew specific unofficial escape plans which apparently varied from picking a suitable target to take with the ac to try and reach a comfortable tropical island. Officially I believe the instructions were to find a friendly country and contact air attaches et al in case there was nothing to return to (discomforting thought).
However, were there any preferred/proposed flight profiles with most likely chance to evade the blast after release? In a very short summary: V-force goes in fast and low, a bit of manoeveuring, climb and release and what next?
Or was it more a case of "every crew for themselves, best of luck boys"?
At the risk of repeating something, before the WE177 and the 2F lay down attack we had to drop the YS2 from a pop up manoeuvre. This procedure applied to Victor 1 and Vulcan 1/2 Freefall and Victor and Vulcan BS in unpowered release

The 2E was a low level approach, a popup at about 15 miles and a pushover to level flight at 11 000 feet. It was led refined than the 2H and in training crews often were level at 11 000 feet too early.

The Research Branch scientists devised the 2H for the Vulcan and BS unpowered release. The 2H involved a low level approach to a pull-up point at 350kts, a smooth rotation over 5 seconds, to a precise pitch angle with weapons release at 10 500 feet in the climb.

The distance of PUP to target varied depending on aircraft, engine and weapon. The Mk 1 had a pull-up at over 21 000 yards and the Mk 2/301 engine FF at 18 000 yards. Each type also had a precise pitch angle. I think the Mk 1a was 12 degrees and the Mk 2/301 was 14.

In training and trials release these were I readjusted with the Mk 2 PUP at 18 450 yards and 15 degrees. Release at 10 500 would give a detonation at 103 seconds from PUP.

Immediately after release on 2E or 2H all aircraft were to make a 140 degree turn at 1.75 g while climbing before wings level.

Planned egress routes to NATO territory would pass near specified RV points on the event of bailout. Typically there might be 2 points for any route. Crews were to get to within 1.5 km of the RV and remain there but could forage out to 5 km. In one particular country there were 10 such RV. That is all we were told.
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 22:25
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The foregoing was the official procedure, especially as Mk 2 ballistic computer lower limit was 17 000 feet. The Mk 1 computer lower limit was 7 000 feet. Some Mk 1 crew used the ballistic computation and achieved much more accurate results in training though some reached the automatic bomb release point when they were too low, 8 900 feet or so.

Subsequent research years later (book due out next year) showed that research branch said that much lower release heights could enable weapons function and sufficient time for successful escape.

Two final points related to the previous post. To achieve the 15 degree pitch angle the attitude instrument was modified. And to achieve accurate timing for the rotation the Navs Plotter were issued with Lemania chronographs. It was not long after that Navs Rad were able to blag them too.
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Old 24th Nov 2022, 10:33
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Wader2; thank you very much for taking the time to explain this!

Originally Posted by Wader2 View Post

Immediately after release on 2E or 2H all aircraft were to make a 140 degree turn at 1.75 g while climbing before wings level.

Planned egress routes to NATO territory would pass near specified RV points on the event of bailout. Typically there might be 2 points for any route. Crews were to get to within 1.5 km of the RV and remain there but could forage out to 5 km. In one particular country there were 10 such RV. That is all we were told.
Originally Posted by Wader2 View Post
The foregoing was the official procedure, especially as Mk 2 ballistic computer lower limit was 17 000 feet. The Mk 1 computer lower limit was 7 000 feet. Some Mk 1 crew used the ballistic computation and achieved much more accurate results in training though some reached the automatic bomb release point when they were too low, 8 900 feet or so.

Subsequent research years later (book due out next year) showed that research branch said that much lower release heights could enable weapons function and sufficient time for successful escape.

Two final points related to the previous post. To achieve the 15 degree pitch angle the attitude instrument was modified. And to achieve accurate timing for the rotation the Navs Plotter were issued with Lemania chronographs. It was not long after that Navs Rad were able to blag them too.
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