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Did You Fly The Vulcan?? (Merged)

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Did You Fly The Vulcan?? (Merged)

Old 4th Jan 2004, 04:38
  #141 (permalink)  
 
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Off the V thread but sticking with the nukes.......

I heard a rumor that the bucket of sunshine strapped to a French "Force de Frappe" Mirage 4 on alert at Creil acquired an 11 Sqn sticker. They were almost as pi**ed off at that as they were about the Tricolore being stolen from the flag pole outside their SHQ!
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Old 4th Jan 2004, 06:19
  #142 (permalink)  
 
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RAF Goose Bay

Officially, Goose Bay was a 12 month unaccompanied tour. And like Gan and Salalah was seen as something of a punishment posting. My posting to Goose came about very quickly and just happened to coincide with an interview in which my boss warned me of the consequences of getting too closely involved with WRAF Officers. Even living in a cold damp houseboat on the canal in Lincoln wasn’t enough to keep things secret. (Still she was beautiful). Thus I arrived at Goose Bay on the Christmas re-supply VC10 on 22nd Dec 1969. On board with me where the wives of approx half the married men at Goose – going out to spend Christmas with those who were not able to leave.

We arrived in a total White-out and –35 Celsius. Visibility on the ramp was about 50 metres in snow and 35kt wind as we struggled to walk from the aircraft into No 1 Hanger – where I was to spend almost every waking moment for the next two and a half years.

Most of the wives had dressed up to the nines to meet their husbands – but their (1960’s) ultra short mini skirts, white knee boots and silk blouses were no match for driving snow and –35 degrees. Still it looked good.

The next day, 50% of the detachment climbed aboard the VC10 to return home for Christmas. About 1 hour after they had left – I discovered that all my baggage was on it’s way back to Brize Norton. Five weeks and some 4 or 5 Brize aircraft later – I eventually got my bags.

Although Goose is cold – it is a very dry cold. You can fall in the snow and you don’t get wet. It doesn’t stick to you – you can’t make snowballs with it. It is so dry that static electricity is a major problem and people used to walk around earthing themselves on every pipe or radiator they passed. Miss a few and you are rewarded with a massive static electric shock.

My role was the maintenance and repair of all the ground equipment and vehicles (Houchin power trolleys, paloust starter trolleys etc. I was consequently involved in many of the hanger starts and other procedures described earlier in the thread.
I wonder who were the crew in the Vulcan whose starboard main wheel fell through the hanger floor – just after No 1 and 2 had started. Or the 2x crew chiefs that got distracted whilst refuelling and tipped their Vulcan’s on their tails by filling the rear tanks first? (Expensive)

Everything suffered from the cold. Particularly things made of rubber. The 3 inch thick power cables on the Houchin would shatter into 1 million pieces if dropped after a couple of hours in the open. The oleo seals on all aircraft shrunk, stiffened and in some instances cracked and fell to pieces. The Vulcan’s and Victors were not too bad compared to the Hercules. One Herc pilot was so keen to get home despite non existent oleo seals, that we ended up standing on the rear ramp pouring hydraulic fluid into the reservoir whilst he taxied from the ramp and onto the runway – with 90% of it pouring out of the wrecked oleo seals. When he was at full power and ready to release the brakes, his crew chief threw us out – and off he went. Try as we might – we never found out how he landed back at Lyneham (Gently?) We meanwhile had to clean up all the spilt fluid.

Goose has an annual carnival that was known throughout the Air Force. We would have anything up to 20 Vulcan’s, Victors Herc’s and VC10’s – all supposedly stranded at Goose during Carnival. Carnival was a straight 7 day period during which no one worked. Everyone took part in crazy competitions – and drank. Then drank, then drank some more. All the teams were focussed around one of the Drinking clubs on the airbase or in the local community. Although there was an RAF Officers and Sergeants mess – their combined membership was just 15. Therefore the Bulldog club became the focus for most RAF goings on. Especially for carnival, each club sold plastic walking canes. These were approx 3 ft long x 1.5 inches diameter with a screw top and were used to carry one’s personal supply of booze as you went from event to event. AFAIR the capacity was approximately 1 bottle of spirits. Just take of the top and have swig as and when needed.

Most of the events were highly amusing and some even tested Cockpit Resource Management to the full – e.g. strapping 5 or 10 aircrew onto a single pair of 20ft long “ski’s” – or two pilots onto one pair of snow shoes? Can you imagine starting out to build a life size ice sculpture of a sperm whale if you were sober? (80ft long 35ft tall at the flute and with 6 Eskimo hunters in kayaks). Or dressing up as an Egyptian Slave wearing nothing more than flip flops, loin cloth and fake tan cream – then prancing around an ice rink at –15-20 Celsius for over an hour. But it was fun. At least the bits I remember were fun.

The Bulldog club was officially the RAF Junior Ranks club – but was popular with all ranks – and with the local ladies. We held dances, disco’s and carnival events.
Airmen could take turns to run the bar for a one-month period. During this time you got to keep all the tips and all the profits from any extra events or services you were able to sell. In this respect, our relationship with the Vulcan crews was absolutely critical. The Vulcan panniers were always full of not just official spares – but also barrels of English Beer and delicacies such as Walls sausages, Danish Bacon, Cadbury’s Chocolate and anything else the duty bar manager thought he could turn a profit on. Fresh milk was also high on the list since we had to live off re-constituted milk. (Cows couldn’t survive the climate)

I had some secondary duties - including helping teach arctic survival. (Building snow-holes, Igloos, tree shelters – and trapping / ice fishing). I also had the dubious task of driving out onto the frozen lake to drill holes and measure the thickness of the ice. This was part of my standard duties and every week I sent a signal back to Strike HQ reporting the ice thickness at certain points on the lake. It had been calculated that if the runway was obstructed, a Vulcan could land on the ice. (Rather him than me).

I also had to maintain the electrical generators and radios at three RCAF Resource and Initiative training camps located on lakes in the wilderness approx 60nm east of Goose. In reality, these were fishing and hunting camps were senior officers used to go for a week or so’s hunting and fishing – courtesy of the taxpayer.

The climatic seasons at Goose were very exact and predictable. Summer starts April 31st – autumn starts October 1st spring starts April 1st – and summer again on April 31st. One year, we were as usual ferried out to the camps in two Chinooks of the RCAF on about 15th June – e.g. well into summer. My Chinook landed at Crooks Lake whilst the second went on to a lake some 30nm east of us. Everything seemed normal. We started the generator, got the HF radio aerial set up and established two-way comms with Goose. We cooked a meal – drank some beer and retired to bed happy and content – and in love with the great outdoors. About 0415 we were woken by the unmistakable sound of a Chinook in the hover just outside our hut - this was not part of the plan. The chap closest to the door stumbled to the door in just his Mk9 shreddies. As he opened it, he and the interior of the cabin were swamped in swirling snow blown in by the landing Chinook. The 2nd Chinook had encountered an unexpected snowstorm en route to their destination. The flew around searching for it in ever decreasing weather until the snow, approaching darkness and fuel shortage forced them to put down in a convenient clearing. Overnight the temperature had dropped to –5 or so but they did not have enough fuel to run the APU and keep warm. The crew and pax spent the night huddled together – just switching on the heaters for a few minutes every hour. At daybreak – they took off and found our site and landed (very cold, very shaken, but happy to have survived). It doesn’t end there – but a public forum is perhaps not the place to describe refuelling a Chinook from 45 gal drums of JP4 – still suspended in a cargo net beneath a hovering Chinook.

Overall Goose was just brilliant. I extended my tour 3 times before they eventually frog marched me onto a VC10 back to the UK. We had probably the highest divorce and buy out rate in the RAF. So many guys fell in love with the place, the local ladies or just the Canadian way of life and simply stayed there. Often leaving wives and family in the UK.

For me, I owned a car, a skidoo and played drums in a band with a bunch of USAF guys – and did a lot of great flying.

If you visited Goose – you will have seen 2 or 3 civilian light aircraft nestling like chick under the wings of your Vulcan? These were owned by the Goose Bay Flying Club, who, as payment, each year awarded a free flying scholarship to one member of the Detachment. I won – and our Sqn Ldr Ops (who moonlighted as CFI) taught me to fly. To my shame I can’t recall his name – and the logbooks were stolen some years ago. He was tall slim guy and a former Red Arrow – I’d love to know his name / what he is doing now. In those days I just called him Sir. Goose was relaxed, but JT’s and Sqn Ldrs were still not on first name terms. I got my Canadian PPL and for the next 2 years enjoyed some of the most enjoyable flying anywhere in the world – flying on wheels, on ski’s, on floats and amphibious floats. There was a never ending stream of people wanting to fly. When my colleagues went off on fishing & hunting trips – I would air-drop essential supplies (too heavy to carry) – particularly the beer.
I’m not sure, but I think I was the first, perhaps the only, AOC’s Pilot with the rank of Junior Technician when I took (IIRC) AVM Spotswood aerial sightseeing around the Goose Bay area whilst on an AOC’s inspection. Certainly the RAF News made a big splash about it.

There is much much more to tell, but not now. (Tales of my (5) trips in the back of a Vulcan, of crossing the North Pole in a Herc with a faulty door seal – and coming back sleeping in the British Ambassador’s official car, the entertainment in the USAF NCO and Officer clubs, of getting caught in black power riots on the USAF base, the wonderful Eskimo’s of Happy Valley and north West river, driving and crashing vehicles in the ice, forced landing on a beach, the parties in the barracks - and of the Goose Bay Search and Rescue team – and bringing back the remains of crashed pilots) Maybe I should write a book – but few would believe it.

In 1998 I flew some friends to a vintage aircraft fly in at Schaffendiest in Holland, on walking into the vast hanger with perhaps 2000 people eating lunch – when suddenly a voice is heard above the crowd “Oi Squiffy” a nickname I hadn’t heard since boarding the plane home from Goose Bay some 26 years previously. At the bar (where else) stood Alan Lovejoy another
long lost Goosite.
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Old 4th Jan 2004, 06:47
  #143 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps you should start a separate thread on Nostalgia about Goose Bay.

The final chapter on Goose is being written.

I went through Goose about a year ago and was told that the Bulldog Club was being closed as they could not justify a fully set up Duty Free bar with only half a dozen junior ranks.

SPHL
Former Vice Chairman of Bulldog Club
Winner of Winter Carnival 1987
Arsehole of the week several times
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Old 4th Jan 2004, 16:15
  #144 (permalink)  

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Tommc
Or the 2x crew chiefs that got distracted whilst refuelling and tipped their Vulcan’s on their tails by filling the rear tanks first? (Expensive)
Remember one of the NEAF Bomber Wing B.2s at Akrotiri doing that in about 1971 as it was being de-fueled for a major servicing. It was written off, given a maintenance serial number and used as a weapons loading trainer parked behind the 56Sqn QRA shed. The trailing edge was badly buckled and the ECM tailcone was bent up about 30 degress. IIRC, the C/T i/c the defuelling was busted to J/T and subsequently left the Service.

It is said that as the Vulcan sat down with a large "crunch" he said "F***! Call OC Eng, I'll be in the bar" and went to the Sgt's Mess to get pissed.
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Old 4th Jan 2004, 16:34
  #145 (permalink)  
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This sort of avidable engineering cock-up wasn't restricted to Vulcans! Not so long ago, the spanners managed to write-off a perfectly serviceable VC10 at the Covert Oxonian Aerodrome when it sat on its ar$e whilst being defuelled prior to going into Base Hangar. And there was someone trapped inside, I understand.

I'm sure that the photos are around the internet somewhere; allegedly 'Thrombo' tried to keep it quiet - but by then the photos were safely in the can!
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Old 4th Jan 2004, 17:12
  #146 (permalink)  
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Although, from the first moment I guessed that there would be a lot of drivers coming to this thread, I could never have realised what a brilliant read it would turn out to be. It is by far one of the very best that has ever been on Mil.

So, I am going to act on John Farley's view that it should be turned into a sticky so that more and more stories can be told. Some of them are truly brilliant.

Now all we need is for someone with the inclination to write a book.

Happy New Year.

PPP
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Old 4th Jan 2004, 17:37
  #147 (permalink)  
 
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BEags

Is this the incident?



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Old 4th Jan 2004, 17:46
  #148 (permalink)  
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B(I)8 - yup, that's the one! Last time I saw the ac remains they were all chopped up into bite-sized chunks in a quiet corner...

One of the more interesting low level profiles we developed as a crew was the anti-Bloodhound attack against West Raynham. You approached at low level on the bomb steer as normal, listening for the 18228 to give a warning. As soon as it did so, the non-flying pilot put the MFS back to 'Central', the flying pilot broke at 60 deg AoB to 90 deg off in order to beam the threat, then reversed to the correct AoB for range (passed by the non-flying pilot) which would cause a zero-doppler turn around the target. The flying pilot then eased or hardened the turn in response to the AEO's 18228 display indications; meanwhile the Nav Radar kept aiming at the target. As soon as the Bloodhound radar broke lock, the flying pilot turned back onto the Nav Plotter's best estimate of target heading at 45 deg AoB, then the non-flying pilot reselected MFS to 'Bomb' when the Nav Radar had corrected and checked his 50 thou target map. The action was repeated at roughly 10 second intervals; "High Threat...MFS central, break left onto 150, reverse right to 10 deg bank, ease to 5 , hold it, hold it...lock broken...come right onto 260...wings level for correction...correction coming in...go to bomb, advise demand...follow the steer....10 miles....High Threat....etc etc"; until finally you got within the min range of the Bloodhound, then followed the bomb steer until visual acquisition of the target was achieved.

This was usually quite successful; however, it needed close co-operation from all 5 crew members and was quite physically demanding as heaving a Vulcan into steep turns at 300 ft every 10 seconds or so was quite an effort!

And this was long before the airline luvvies thought that they'd invented something called 'CRM'......
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Old 4th Jan 2004, 19:41
  #149 (permalink)  
 
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One for your lot Beags. VC10s and Vulcans! Mixed memories of that combination. During the mid sixties their Air Ships realised that staging through the Gulf Area in order to reinforce the Far East Air Force with Vulcans may be a little fraught, or even impossible. The only option was through the US and across the Pacific. Early on, with one or two Vulcans running ahead of Britannia support aircraft the odd ‘suck and it and see’ staged through Gander, Omaha, San Francisco, Honolulu, Wake, Guam, Singapore, Gan, Bahrein, Cyprus and home. Delightful trips; I don’t recall what the flying time was, but it was lonnnng.

In 67/68 we had a full scale reinforcement exercise from Cottesmore. (Would this be Exercise Moonflower?) This time the support aircraft were VC10’s. We left Cottesmore one Sunday morning aboard a ’10 bound for Gander, or was it direct Omaha? Anyway, we’d been airborne for four of five hours when my seating neighbour, a guy who knew absolutely everything, said to me ‘There’s land down there, and by my reckoning there shouldn’t be any land for another hour’. Right I thought, I shall immediately alert the Nav. Yeah, sure. We then swung into the steepest bank ever seen in a transport aircraft.

Turns out my neighbour was right! The Court Martial found that we were 510 miles North of track and there was mention of two RCAF CF-100 being launched which had actually intercepted us. (Did the Canucks still have CF-100s then? An old issue of Air Clues will confirm all of this.) The Nav was kicked out, the captain was put back on Brits, and the co-pilot was given a slapped wrist. I do recall that when we did land (it must have been Gander) we were surrounded by acres of mobile flashing lights. Much embarrassment all round.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 00:45
  #150 (permalink)  
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Vulcans

Tommc, ...but you should write it up, fascinating stuff!

Tony Draper, I'm sure we agree, but my point is that there is a lot of difference between, on the one hand, self-appointed experts writing in the open press about these matters, and on the other hand the real (ex) experts with hands-on-knowledge like us doing so.
 
Old 5th Jan 2004, 00:55
  #151 (permalink)  
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forget - the CF were still flying the Clunk right up until 1981 - albeit in the ECM training role!

Here's a puzzler. Long after RAF Merryfield had stopped being used by fixed wing aircraft, as an inquisitive youngster I peeked through the gaps in a hangar to see a number of Belgian marked CF-100s in partially dismantled state inside. That would have been in the early-to-mid 1960s, perhaps 1965? But what were they doing there, I wonder?
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 01:20
  #152 (permalink)  
 
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Beags, Your puzzler of RAF Merryfield and Belgian marked CF-100s in partially dismantled state in hangars. I don’t know but, if pushed, I’d put my money on Radio Controlled target drones. Did a Merryfield runway fly straight out over the sea?

For the yoof of today, who don’t know what a CF-100 looks like, try;

http://www.grostenquin.org/gtgeneral.html
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 01:32
  #153 (permalink)  
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No - it's quite a way from the sea! Situated down in Zumazett near the village of Ilton.

I guess the Clunks were in storage for some reason; I don't know whether they were shipped back to Canada after service with the Belgian Air Force - but what on earth they were doing in the land of Scrumpy and Western, I've no idea!

Back to Vulcans - we once flew one from Goose to Chatham and had a play with a couple of CF-101s on the way. After their initial nuclear missile shot (cheats!), we did a bit of fighter affil - and ended up happily in the 6 o'clock of a CF-101 tracking him quite nicely. They played the tape back afterwards and you could hear the back-seater exclaiming "Sh*t - he's in our 6. How did ya let somethin' that big pull that trick on us!"

Later there followed a good session in their mess, their boss's house etc and finally we got back to our motel at some ungodly hour. Next day, feeling like death, a couple of us were offered back seat rides in the Voodoo. But only 1 jet was available; we tossed a coin and fortunately the Nav Plotter ('Animal' - he of a later famous G Blades victory!) won the toss. I don't think my Canadian breakfast sitting uncomfortably on rather too much Labatt's would have stayed down for long had I gone flying in the back of the CF-101!
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 07:36
  #154 (permalink)  
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Forget,

Where you sitting next to me or Keith Watson? I was starboard side, just aft of centre and probably had a window seat.

It was the Greenland Ice Cap we saw.

What did not come out was the second cock-up on that trip. We descended into Gander about 45 minutes to an hour early and made the last part of the trip at low level. The nav gave the escuse that the party at the Raven Club had kept him awake all night.

In reality he had decided to practise gyro navigation which GASOs required two navigators on board. He was alone without a safety nav.

We then staged through Offut for our third breakfast that day and finished up in Hawaii for tea. The ac went magically us but they took so long deciding to night stop that it was really just a waste of time.

Next day, next stop was Guam. I will never forget the humidity and a sullen line of non-talking troops filing through the duty free, picking up their 6 duty frees an filing out, all without a sound.

We then arrived at Changi. It was dark and a dark bus ride to Tengah. All I can tell was that we arrived at 0'dark hundred but I have no idea if is was evening or easter.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 18:21
  #155 (permalink)  
 
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Nice one Pontius Nav. ‘Were you sitting next to me or Keith Watson?’

I’m concerned that I can recall my seat in a VC10 some 38 years ago! Port side, forward, centre seat. Yes, the Nav did claim that the Saturday night dance had kept him awake. That’d be Cottesmore’s Horseshoe (?) Club, not the Raven, Waddo.

I seem to recall mention that when we’d gone Oceanic the Nav had set up the Steam Driven Doppler, which would fly a sort of great circle by kicking in a very small change of heading against ground miles covered. He’d put the changes in to increase heading, rather than decrease. The consequence was that we flew a right hand great circle curve rather than left. Not sure about this, and anyone could blow me out of the water.

I remember going Tech in Hawaii like it was yesterday. The reason for the memory? The problem was a fractured cold air bleed pipe on, I think, No 1 engine. I recall standing underneath the engine listening in to the proceedings. A Vulcan Chief Tech was explaining to the WingCo Tech that he could easily fix a mildly sick Conway with – get this – a coke can and a couple of Jubilee Clips. Now, here we were within spitting distance of Waikiki Beach, bikinis we’d only dreamt about, an overnighter beckoning, and good old Chiefy is looking at getting Mentioned in Despatches.

Had he succeeded there’s no doubt someone would have been mentioned in some formal paperwork. But wiser council won through and we stayed overnight while someone did a proper job on the pipe.

Guam. Where America’s Day Begins. I can still picture your ‘sullen line of troops filing through the duty free’, understandably sullen as they were bound for Viet Nam. They’d been congregated at the far end of the Arrival/Departure Hall with ‘us lot’ sat around either side of the exit area. A PA announcement broke through in a beautiful southern drawl – ‘Would Private Jesse James please report to the reception desk’. Now to get to the desk poor old Jesse had to walk the gauntlet between two lines of Limeys. The whistle started very quietly at one end of the gauntlet and ended with 100 pairs of lips pursed in unison as Jesse reached the desk – the theme tune to High Noon. Anyway Jesse, I hope you made it back in one piece.

Other vivid memories of Guam were the B-52’s which had just started bombing Hanoi. A second PA announcement called out, ‘Attention. Attention. Stand By for the Ball Game’. At this point two dozen matt-black Buffs taxied past the hall. The first one reached the end of the runway, throttles forward, clouds of black smoke, and the PA called out ‘Pictures Rolling for the Ball Game’. The cliff tops at the end of the runway are hundreds of feet above sea level. The B-52’s didn’t actually take off. They simply drove off the end and stuck the nose down, to reappear some time later climbing away. Hope y’all made it back in one piece too.

Ah Changi. That’s another story – but very briefly, years later, when Changi was closing down, I was living on Changi Road as a civilian. The start of 14 glorious years in Singapore. By that time we’d made many RAF friends and almost every night my wife and I would drive up to say goodbye to someone or other. I just wish I‘d recorded more of the events at that time.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 22:33
  #156 (permalink)  
 
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Further to my earlier post about collating info, many thanks to those who've responded so far. I'm working out the best approach for this and I'll broadcast some thoughts soon - once I've marked some lovely Formal Exercises, that is...
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Old 6th Jan 2004, 02:36
  #157 (permalink)  
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Forget,

"a coke can and a couple of Jubilee Clips" yup, I remember that.

I also remember an airman, in 'scruff order' ie a lunch suit that he had been in for the past 12 hours or so. He took one look in the airmen's toilets in Hickham and went immediately to the officers. A USAF Major caalled him Sir. Niether of us blinked <G>.

You were wrong about Cottesmore though. Cottesmore used to be the FEAF wing but their aircraft were transfered to Waddo prior to them going to Cyprus.

Joe Quinn was the Waddington Sqn Ldr Wg AEO. I remember he dropped a cigarette in the terminal in Hawaii. He was half down to the ground to pick it up when he remembered the price of a duty free (to replace the duty paid he had just dropped) was not worth the effort.

The Exercise was, I think, Sunflower. Moonflower was the route through the Gulf and Sunflower was the one we were trialling the the westabout. I may be mistaken but I think that was right. The respective Operations were Tarboosh and Stetson. Really security eh!
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Old 6th Jan 2004, 03:05
  #158 (permalink)  
 
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Can’t complain about VC10’s across the Pacific - bloody luxury – when I were a lad…………

Waddington June 69, and an exercise to RAAF Butterworth, Malaysia, with 8 Vulcans and then down to Darwin for exercises with more Aussie Mirages. I’m pretty sure this was a Sunday morning again. Breakfast and then wander out to the airfield to board our expected VC10, and there it was, very effectively disguised as a C-130! String parachute seats, some sort of Elsan bog perched on the ramp, four day old sandwiches in cardboard boxes, the full works. Did their Air Ships really expect us to travel 6,000+ miles in a C-130, the noisiest most uncomfortable piece of kit since Stephenson’s Rocket. Yes – they did! And me married for all of 8 days! (Try getting that past ’em these days!)

We took off and headed South East; clunk, change of mind then South West to Lyneham. Fix whatever problem it was, with us all still on board, and off we go again. 12 hours later we landed at Bahrein – that’s twelve hours!

45 minutes later, I kid you not, we were airborne again for Gan. 30 minutes into the flight a note from the Nav comes around. Due to favourable winds we were now able to forget Gan and go direct Butterworth. Favourable winds! In my dictionary favourable means beneficial. This meant another 12 hours 30 minutes on a C-130.

When we landed at Butterworth we staggered off the aircraft, all in a pretty bad way, no joke. We were deaf, could barely stand straight, and were thoroughly p-ssed off and shell shocked. No one was capable of safely touching a Vulcan for the next four days.

As I was getting out of the C-130’s rear door I saw, ahead of me, a serious hat, with a full set of gold braid on the peak. Pointing at me? - luckily no, but at the sergeant engine fitter ahead of me. ‘Sergeant’, said the Strike Command hat, ‘My office 9 o’clock tomorrow morning. You and I are flying down to Singapore. I’d like you to tell XYZ Transport at Changi how you feel after this idiotic journey and whether or not you’ll be capable of fixing Vulcans in the next week or two’.

XYZ was the boss of FEAF Transport and, significantly, one rank below the hat. After the exercises we returned home on – guess what?

There’s a rather winsome photograph of me at Butterworth two days after the trip – at Andy Leitch’s excellent Vulcan site;

http://www.avrovulcan.org.uk/vulcan_...utterworth.htm


I weighed fifteen stone when we left Waddington. Can’t speak for the other guy but if you look at the two apparent geriatrics, centre, you’ll see something of the problem.
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Old 6th Jan 2004, 06:44
  #159 (permalink)  
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Obviously your gold-braided Strike Command chum had a lot of pull.... People are still travelling in such squalid and inhumane conditions some 35 years later! Perhaps you're being rather unfair on Stephenson's Rocket compared to the misery of Albert travel...... A luxury I no longer have to endure, thankfully.

At least in those days the Beverley, Hastings, Brittania, Comet - and the York before them even - had real passenger seats! As, indeed, did the coach hauled by the Rocket.....or so I understand!

Last edited by BEagle; 6th Jan 2004 at 06:56.
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Old 6th Jan 2004, 14:32
  #160 (permalink)  
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Angel

So, a ride from Lincoln to Penang in a Beverley would be more comfortable than in an Albert, Beags? I don't think so Chief!

We often used to go off for exercises to those Class A airfields that weren't normally operational, just to make sure that everything worked. I had the dubious pleasure of trying to fly from Waddington to Macrihanish in a Bev for one of those. After being airborne for nearly four agonizing hours the skipper sent back a message that due to strong headwinds we hadn't reached Carlisle yet so he was turning back. Groans all round. Twenty minutes later the now transonic Bev arrived back at Waddington, turned upwind for the approach and accomplished a vertical landing [who needs a Harrier in a gale?] and we all staggered out. The trip was successfully accomplished a few days later when the gale stopped.

During that detachment, there were the usual succession of amusing incidents. We unloaded the fire engine that we had taken up there because there wasn't one available locally at the time. Then we found there wasn't enough water to fill it and all the foam mixture stored up there had 'gone off', so we put the useless object on static display near the tower. You can't extinguish a burning Vulcan anyway, so no harm done. Is it still there I wonder?

Perhaps the best bit of fun though was when Geoff Lowes (universally known as "Louse" due to a hilarious mis-pronunciation by the SWO on an AOC's parade) pulled a Glaswegian lass - with a bee-hive that would have made Marge Simpson jealous - in the White Hart at Campbelltown. We were all stood at the bar while Louse entertained his trophy at a table. Suddenly, the Glaswegian Lass leaped to her feet with " Ye can buy me beer arl neet, but yer no gettin MAR tw*t that easy!!!" and stomped out. He tried to rejoin us but of course we all denied knowing him...

At some point a homeless local tagged along and followed us back to Macrihanish for a free night's bed & breakfast. Next day the scrounger, expecting a free meal, decided to join us when we boarded the Beverley and so he ended up at Waddington - with no idea where he was or how to get back home. Being gentlemen we took him out to the main road, pointed out the way to Fulbeck, told him that was North and gave him a left over RAF packed lunch to help him on his way. I sure hope he's made it by now. Or maybe he reached Cranwell and scrounged a cadetship...

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Through difficulties to the cinema

Last edited by Blacksheep; 6th Jan 2004 at 14:42.
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