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Argonaut/North Star Memories and Observations

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Argonaut/North Star Memories and Observations

Old 22nd Feb 2007, 13:57
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Argonaut/North Star Memories and Observations

Folks,

There have been plenty of mentions of the Arognaut, Canadair's "Pressurised DC4 With Merlins" in other recent threads.

Growing up around Caste Don. in the 'sixties, they frequently impressed me, making the kind of sound heard only in WWII adventure films.

My uncle maintained them and flew as flight engineer, and amused us all at family gatherings with his observations on them.

Does anyone have any other reflections or insights?

Apparently, the noise of the "high level blowers" cutting in used to disconcert the passengers somewhat.

Plus, the cabin pressurisation was less than adequate, causing some, errm, discomfort amongst passengers.

r
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Old 22nd Feb 2007, 14:39
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duff air links version

one of my earliest memories of a family holiday was to Majorca in say 1965, with an Air Links Argonaut from LGW. (I was already a spotty spotter). Ah, the joy of transport by 4 historic merlins!

By Le mans Southbound, I noticed liquid streaming over the port wing. 5 mins later, one of the engines was shut down, and the captain announced we were returning to LGW. When we arrived there were at least 3 fire engines cruising up & down the taxiways. Disembarked, 45 mins later we were told the tech problem had been sorted. We took off, and this time only got as far as Brighton before we returned for the same charade. 2 hours later we were asked to re-embark. Cue many stout fathers who grouped together and refused to let their families fly on that crate again. 8 hours later a DC-7C (clearly not in great demand) was flown in from Ireland, and off we went.

Happy days

Skua
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Old 22nd Feb 2007, 15:22
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One of my earliest memories as a kid was taxiing out to take off at Khartoum, hearing the pilot rev the engines one by one, and then taxiing back to the terminal for an unexpected extra day in Africa.
Here is a photo of one of them taken by my father at Entebbe.

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Old 22nd Feb 2007, 15:34
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I've driven one !

At Easter 1966, while still at school, I went on a week's 'careers course' at BOAC, being introduced to the various bits of the company. One of the highlights was a visit to the engineering apprentices' Argonaut whicfh was just by the crossing at Hatton Cross. They managed to get a couple of the engines started and we all took turns to sit in the LH seat and advance the throttles until the thing threatened to shake itself to bits.

As a Newcastle spotter, we had a Canadian-registered one as a fixture for a long time, it was on the grass just by the viewing area and you could shelter under it when it rained. I'd seen it before at Coventry in the company of three others, remember seeing some Kenyan ones at Redhill too.

I used to know someone in BMI (now retired) who used to tell me exciting stories of take-offs from the Burnaston grass in the rain. They couldn't carry commercial pax out of Burnaston but it was OK for staff.
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Old 22nd Feb 2007, 16:44
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I recall seeing a Canadian registered Argonaut/North Star at Panshanger in the earliy sixties. Am I going mad?
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Old 22nd Feb 2007, 17:14
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The only one I recall seeing was G-ALHG after it had crashed in Stockport while on the approach to Manchester Ringway. As a young lad I cycled to Stockport to see it. It had largely burned out, but the big tail section with 'BM' on it looked incongruous sitting in the middle of the town. The parents of a child in my mother's primary class (my mum was their teacher) were killed in the accident.

Very sad.

SSD
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Old 22nd Feb 2007, 17:24
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Only one I ever saw was poor old G-ALHJ which languished on the fire dump down near the fuel farm at Heathrow till sometime in the early 1980s? There was a Comet parked near there too...

The Argonauts at Redhill were scrapped there weren't they?
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Old 22nd Feb 2007, 17:56
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Ah the nostalgia! My childhood at Prestwick airport was filled on a daily basis with the C-54GMs of the RCAF, the DC-4M2s of Trans Canada Airlines and (less frequently) by the C-4 Argonauts of BOAC.

I think the Newcastle DC-4M2 was CF-TFM which had been bought from TCA by Overseas and which disappeared mysteriously one day to Holland and Czechoslovakia wearing a fictitious Italian registration I-ACOA.

It was flown by the infamous Hank Warton (later of Biafra fame) and ended its life when he ran out of fuel and crashed in northern Cameroon.
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Old 22nd Feb 2007, 20:44
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Nostalgia indeed!!
For my first overseas tour in Aden, transport was the first BOAC trooping flight by Argonaut via Rome and Cairo. Still have the Rome meal voucher somewhere amongst the 'magpie complex' detritus
Leather, two abreast seats and up-market 'hosties' to cosset you. Perhaps surprisingly, no tech problems. I expect the hearing to recover, eventually !!
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Old 22nd Feb 2007, 23:33
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I recall seeing a Canadian registered Argonaut/North Star at Panshanger in the earliy sixties. Am I going mad?

During my time at Radlett I recollect being told that DC4s were parked up at Panshanger at one time but not sure whether, or not, they were Argonauts. Anyone else have a pointer on this?
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Old 23rd Feb 2007, 00:14
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I had a friend who used to fly them as F/O with Trans Canada. They were known for false engine fire warnings. One day enroute Toronto to Winnipeg he had all four engine fire warnings go off at once. The Captain calmly reached up and cancelled all four warnings, with the explanation that the odds were astronomical that all four engines were on fire, and they continued to their destination.
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Old 23rd Feb 2007, 00:50
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thread digression.

pigboat: that story is similar to the one about O.P. Jones who had a long distinguished career as a pilot, finishing, I believe, as chief pilot in BOAC.

During the war he was ferrying a Liberator from the US to England, and mid atlantic the engineer somehow managed to knock off all 4 engine magnetos at the same time.

Apparently O.P. didn't bat an eyelid, but turned round and said "strangely quiet, isn't it Mr Smith ?".
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Old 23rd Feb 2007, 02:03
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Second digression

Henry, back in the 1980's I listened to an interview on Canadian radio with Captain Eric Moody of BA009, the 747 that lost power in all four due to ingestion of volcanic ash. The lady interviewer was all adither and asked him what his thoughts were, at the controls of an aircraft with no power, at night, etc. His reply - in the best British accent - was, "I was thinking I'm now in charge of the world's largest bloody glider."

Priceless.
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Old 23rd Feb 2007, 07:57
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Yet another digression.

When Eric Moody arrived in Australia after the BA009 incident he was interviewed on Australian television and when asked what it was like after the engines failed his reply was "as dark as a badger's *rse at midnight".
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Old 23rd Feb 2007, 14:17
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Drifting a bit here...

I flew on the same 747 NBO-LHR circa 1989, visited the flight deck, and the crew informed me that this aircraft was know as "Moody's Glider".

:-)

Does anyone know of the Argonaut inadvertant fuel transfer problem?

r
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Old 23rd Feb 2007, 15:11
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Does anyone know of the Argonaut inadvertant fuel transfer problem?

I understand it was that that caused the Stockport crash - it led to the crew not being aware that certain tanks were being drained, and this resulted in fuel starvation to the engines.

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Old 23rd Feb 2007, 17:41
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That fuel feed problem

Fuel feed was selected by levers located on the forward side of the centre console, ahead of the throttles ( two sets ). It's a while ago now, but I seem to remember they were selected into detents, as you might expect. Tests conducted by the R.A.E. appeared to show that the rotary fuel cocks operated in sequence could - in the Stockport case, at least - have been incorrectly aligned to the tune of several degrees. This, in turn, it was found, could have allowed migration of fuel from the mains to the auxiliaries. I assume mains would have been the normal feed selected prior to the approach phase. Anyway, it was the misaligned valves that were cited as the chief cause. I suppose, the accident report can be found somewhere on the internet, and I can imagine that in it will be other stuff covering cross-feeds, quantity indication, maintenance etc. etc.
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Old 23rd Feb 2007, 18:17
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I recall seeing a Canadian registered Argonaut/North Star at Panshanger in the earliy sixties. Am I going mad?

During my time at Radlett I recollect being told that DC4s were parked up at Panshanger at one time but not sure whether, or not, they were Argonauts. Anyone else have a pointer on this?
Yes, they were ex-TCA North Stars at Panshanger. I want to say three of them, but that's purely from (old and creaking) memory.
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Old 23rd Feb 2007, 18:46
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Flew on the ill-fated ALHG aprox 6 months before the Stockport crash.
Managed to get airborn from Ringway at third attempt for Ostend. After only about 10 minutes in the air, one of the starboard Merlins decided to have a fire.
Emergency landing at EMA followed, where HG was towed away to a hanger and all pax were deposited in the staff canteen and fed cold ham, fried eggs and chips.

A four hour wait ensued, until sister ship LHY arrived, which should have operated EMA-JER. This aircraft was allocated for our continued journey and the JER pax informed of an indefinate delay to their flight.

The second leg of the flight was not uneventful, as on landing at Ostend, the tyres on the port undercarraige of HY burst.

Some of my friends witnessed HG on it's approach to Ringway on the day of the crash, across the Denton reservoirs. Apparently it was so low at that stage, you could see the pax through the windows.
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Old 24th Feb 2007, 09:29
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A Derby Airways Argonaut did a Jersey flight from Staverton once. When the former SATCO retired after 35 years plus, this was the most memorable aircraft he could recall, so we commissioned a painting of it for him. I'll find a picture somewhere...
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